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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Only the camels do not need a guide

Someone needs to help generate business at Qasr Al Sarab resort by guiding hotel guests into the desert for mountain biking, archery and camel trekking. Andries Dreyer is one of those men.
Andries Dreyer, an activities guide at Qasr Al Sarab, does his best to give hotel guests a good time.
Andries Dreyer, an activities guide at Qasr Al Sarab, does his best to give hotel guests a good time.

Andries Dreyer helps generate business at the Qasr Al Sarab resort in Abu Dhabi by leading hotel guests into the desert for archery, mountain biking and camel trekking. The activities guide breaks down what a typical day in his life is like.

4.15am

My alarm would go off, because the first activities start just before sunrise. I do not have any traffic problems when I go to work because I live on site and the hotel is just minutes away from my accommodation.

About 5am

I will sign out my car, which I use for the morning activity. Some activities require setup. I meet with the guests and explain the activity. All of our activities are about 1.5 to 2 hours and situated away from the hotel in the heart of the desert, making each activity a unique desert experience in itself.

Early morning

We do archery in the morning in one of the salt plains behind the hotel. I would give the guests helpful tips on how to improve their skills. Something unique and different is the desert mountain biking. The trails take the guests through some beautiful areas of the desert and present a true wilderness experience. But sand does cover the route so you need to push over the sand sometimes. It's not always that easy. It's almost a 15km route.

Early morning

While on the camel trek guests have the opportunity to see the splendorous big red dunes of the Liwa desert. The trek also goes through a sabkha valley (salt plain) that is filled with desert plants and, sometimes if you are lucky, some desert animals.

About noon

Lunch. We break until about 3pm.

3.15pm

We'll start doing activities where it's easier to be in the heat, like a short "meet your camel" class. There are days it goes up to 50C or 55C.

About 7.30pm

The day would end. All the equipment has to be packed away, and all the things you've used go back in the storeroom.

Dinner:

I'm South African, so I like my barbecue and outdoor cooking. We do sometimes go out and have a desert barbecue. Most of the time I'll go to the canteen and meet up with everyone who works here and have dinner. They've got a little bit of everything for everyone: curries, steaks, casseroles or sometimes lasagna and chicken.

Evening

If it was a long day I would just go and put on a movie and sit back and relax. Some other nights I might spend some time in the gym. Life as a guide is not for everyone, mainly because it usually takes you to remote places that do not have big malls and the bustle of the city close by. For me, however, it is what I live for.