Anyone who thinks a desert is “just a load of sand,” and therefore not worth visiting, would do well to take a little time out of their usual routine to check out the Liwa Desert in the United Arab Emirates.
No, you don’t have to fork out for a plane ticket and a large bottle of factor 50 for the experience. Simply head over to Google’s Street View site and go from there.
Rather than send over one of its image-capturing cars to struggle hopelessly in the 40-meter-high dunes, the team had the bright idea of strapping its Trekker camera to a camel, which then sauntered about the sandy landscape collecting panoramic pictures of what Google describes as “one of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world.”
And no, it’s not all sand (though admittedly it mostly is). For example, the imagery also shows the Liwa Oasis, the largest oasis on the Arabian peninsula, apparently.
“Many people across the UAE can trace their origins to the first tribes that settled there and established the region as a trade center,” Street View’s Najeeb Jarrar writes in a blog post introducing the new content. “The oasis is also home to date farms, whose trees and fruit are important cultural symbols – the trunks of the palms were used to weave the walls of Bedouin tents, baskets and more, while the fruit was a treasured treat for the locals.”
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Jarrar said they opted for the camel cam as it allowed the team to avoid disrupting the fragile environment.
He added, “We hope this collection gives you a glimpse of what it may be like to travel the desert as caravan merchants have for the past 3000 years.”
If you’re looking for a tranquil journey across a barren yet beautiful landscape, Street View’s Liwa Desert content awaits.