01 Dec Endless Sunshine Makes UAE a Sports Paradise
What are the first items that come to mind when thinking about a trip to the Middle East? Are sports at the top of the list? One would hardly think so.
Most people talking off the top of their heads would probably not even get to the category of sports when considering a trip to, let’s just say Dubai, which is the subject of this little blog here. One would first think of an ancient culture rich in history and artistic credibility. You might think of natural beauty if you considered the arid landscape to be stunning at all, which it certainly is. You might consider the modern city of as a destination unto itself, hardly venturing beyond the sleek skyscrapers, luxury shopping centers and five-star restaurants.
However, you would be surprised to find that the government of the United Arab Emirates and the city of Dubai, in particular, has fully embraced the tourist trade and that means a full appreciation of what western visitors love to do on their vacations, which is to swim, play golf and go bowling when it rains. Ha – fooled you. It rains less than a third of an inch per month in the UAE, according to Climatemps.com, making sunshine all but a sure thing. Don’t pack an umbrella or a raincoat. Save room for an extra swimsuit, instead.
Dubai is famous for soccer (called football around the world), tennis, world-class golf and water sports, not exactly in that order. It is also known for its cricket, cycling, falconry, endurance racing (on horses), camel racing and ice hockey (believe it or not), but let’s stick the basics for the purposes of this blog.
Bring your golf clubs. Really?
Yes golf, the sport once played on the moon with a makeshift golf club, is found in the most unlikely places these days, from the most southern region of South Africa (see https://golfscape.com/south-africa/cape-town-golf-courses) to the most northern of places above the arctic circle (in Uummannaq, Greenland, where ice golf is played).
Needless to say, the courses around the wealthy city of Dubai are not scratch courses in which you have to look out for polar bears. These courses are splendid for 18 marvelous holes. The top-rated course, according to some, is the Yas Links on Yas Island, which looks like a slice of golf heaven transported to a desert landscape. Think delicious views of blue water and green fairways hugging the shore.
With a more urban landscape, you might try the Emirates Golf Course, the first grass-links in the region, which has a grand view of the skyscrapers of Abu Dubai from most of the course, forming the backdrop for the lush green course that is tucked into the scruffy, desert environment. This is a popular “close to nature” golf course, that is also close to the city – the best of both worlds.
Bring your swimsuit!
These are modern times. You don’t have to go to the ocean to swim; you can go to the desert, instead.
This is because Abu Dubai is resplendent with man-made lakes, many of them fortified with luxurious accommodations and modern amenities.
This is a place that thinks rich and their water parks and beaches reflect that. It is not just the place to swim, but the place to go water skiing, para-sailing, try your hand at a fly board or rent a jet ski.
Certainly, there are accommodations for everyone. Given the culture of the Middle East, there is even a woman’s only beach for those who believe women exposing their skin in public in the company of men is in poor taste.
Still, this is a place where fun and frolic are practically limitless. How many swimming setups offer an “Atlantis Shark Safari Experience” which is a family-fun event that tests your nerve just a little bit. There are full day cruises to be had if you don’t care to tempt the carnivores and snorkeling among smaller, more colorful fishes. Remember, this is all a man-made adventure, so you aren’t really swimming in the ocean, more like an enormous fish tank with gloriously clear water warmed by that endless sunshine.