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Experiencing Dubai's Desert
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Photo: Tanzania

This month's reader photos have it all—inspiring locales, great composition, and travel tips to take you there.
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Photo Gallery:
Patagonia's Cerro Torre
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See photos of Patagonia's otherworldly Cerro Torre from the climb that bagged one of alpine climbing's greatest prizes.
Cerro Torre photos

Running Gear
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Sleek shoes and running clothes that will get your heart racing.
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Paddling Croatia Photos and Video

Digital Cameras Review

Audio: Ed Viesturs

Video: Climbing Icebergs 

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Robert Young Pelton's Travel Tips

Dubai's Desert Deluxe
Adventure-approved trips just right for right now.  Text by Costas Christ
Photo: Dubai

The Base Camp

When the producers of the recent George Clooney and Matt Damon film Syriana arrived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, last year, they expected to spend just four days filming in the city. But when they discovered the dramatic desert landscape surrounding the metropolis—and a posh headquarters smack in the middle of it—they wound up staying for four weeks.

Inside the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, a 55,600-acre (22,500-hectare) refuge that protects a rare species of antelope known as the Arabian oryx, rests Al Maha, a resort and spa that comprises luxurious Bedouin-inspired villas. Each villa is decorated with tribal artifacts, appointed with handmade furniture, and equipped with its own private pool. From this kind of top-flight staging ground, it's possible to experience the harshness of a true desert environment without having to bed down on a sandy mat or choke down a bowl of mutton stew. Al Maha's guides lead 4x4 expeditions, camel treks, oryx photo safaris, and falconry lessons out in the desert; guests then return to the resort oasis, where evenings are spent unwinding poolside, enjoying views of the distant Hajar mountains, and dining alfresco as the inimitably dark desert night quietly enfolds the nearby dunes.

Dubai has boomed with European and Australian travelers for years—security is not a major concern. The extremely dry environment is another matter: Pack ample moisturizer and eyedrops.

Days: 7

Outfitter: Al Maha Resort and Spa

Cost: $4,550

Photography courtesy of Al Maha Resort and Spa

Photo: March Cover

Pick up the March 2006 issue for more secrets of the Southwest, nine Caribbean adventures, the best gear for runners, and our World Class outfitter trips.

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