Forget about the malls and the water-parks, this is an experience everyone should try. You can go shopping or swimming anywhere in the world but flying birds of prey in the Arabian desert is an experience you will never forget. Add to that the 5 star service offered by Royal Shaheen and you have something rather special. Whisked away from your hotel at an early hour by a knowledgeable guide (in our case Werner) it takes a while before you realise there is a bird with you in the Jeep. In our case a male Greater Spotted Eagle called Khaimah.
Once in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve we watched three hot-air balloons, back-lit by the rising sun, rising out of the desert. At this time of the day the desert is just starting to warm up but there is still plenty of wildlife to observe such as gazelles, oryx and the ubiquitous 'sandfish' (a type of skink).
Once at the camp we met a second falconer and between the two hosts they demonstrated the different ways in which the birds are trained and exercised.
Next we took it in turn to call the different birds onto our arms with the expert advise of our guide who kept us constantly regaled with facts and figures about the birds. We were introduced to XBox, the noisy Desert Eagle Owl, Sally, the agile Harris Hawk and our driving companion Khaimah.
There is nothing like the feeling of the swish of feathers and the grip on your arm as a large bird of prey lands within inches of your face. I can honestly say this was a boyhood wish come true for me and an experience I will never forget.
Thanks to Peter, Werner, Rahim and Shara for help in making this happen.