Trip Report United Arab Emirates

I visited the UAE between January 8th and 15th 2022. My aims were to make a story for terra, a German travel magazine, to look for one of my most wanted mammal species, the Arabian Tahr, and to loose some kilos of winter flab. Here is my report.


  • Charles Hood

    Mike Richardson (UK) and I were here in December, and since then for sure the hay rick is new, which makes me think the arrival of Aoudad is also new. And in turn, the supplied forage makes the tahr easier to see too it would seem. I really don’t think Mike and I missed Aoudad, at least not around the hotel / end of road. If they were present in this mountain range, they were nowhere near the road. As for the wild cat, we saw many domestic cats with “wild” color patterns, but none to our eyes looked structurally like an actual wild cat sensu stricto. Hotel has good food and nice rooms: a good destination for bringing children and other civilians.

    • Ralf Bürglin

      Thanks for your comment, Charles. I really don’t know, how “new” the Aoudads at Jebel Hafeet are. I tried to find a publication concerning them, but couldn’t find any. People at the hotel told me about encounters “years back”, but none of them was able to distinguish between Aoudad and Tahr. – The cats: To be really sure, you would have to test DNA. – Hotel: You complained in your report about the slow elevator. I believe it’s actually not the velocity that drives you nuts, but the accompanying humdrum music, played 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that wants you to get off the elevator as fast as possible. 🙂

  • Mike Richardson

    Great report Ralf, and a real treat to see the Tahr photos. Further to the comment made by Charles above, I’m curious to know the reason that Aoudad have been introduced to the reserve, especially as they must have an negative impact on the Tahr. Do you have any ideas?

    • Ralf Bürglin

      Thanks Mike! I talked to the manager of the hotel. He is really pleased with the situation and would like to promote ecotourism at the hotel (whatever that means). I asked him for who is responsible for the introduction, but bizarrely he could’t tell me. All animals I could see close, had ear tags, so I believe it is an official programme. I could imagine that the Al Ain Zoo has something to do with it. Yes, a negative impact for the Tahrs is quite possible. And just the other day I received a photo from an Arabian mountaineer, who documented Aoudad in the Hajar Mountains of UAE as well. Reasons: As I wrote in my report, they do all kinds of things to promote “nature tourism”, wildlife watching is maybe one part. As long as they introduce native species, it is fine. The Aoudad is not native. I heard rumours about introducing Arabian Leopard. It could benefit from the Aoudads. Cheers, Ralf

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