From desert to dreamland, Dubai has become one of the most vibrant cities in the world. With iconic skyscrapers, man-made islands, and luxurious hotels, the city transformed itself into a hub for innovation and modernity.
But of course, you should never forget your roots, and Dubai certainly hasn’t. Beyond the city’s glitz and glamor lies a rich culture and heritage that dates back centuries. From traditional souks and markets to heritage sites and neighborhoods, Dubai offers a glimpse into its past and showcases Emirati traditions passed down through generations. One of these traditions that still thrives in Dubai is the ancient art of falconry, which has been a part of Emirati culture for centuries.
What is Falconry?
Falcons are no doubt one of the most impressive creatures. With their extreme speed, agility, and vision, they’re known as the superior birds of prey. Falcons are the fastest birds, diving at over 300 km/hr. All these capabilities and features make them an ideal bird to aid during hunting. Falcons have been used for centuries by humans to assist in capturing prey, even helping the late Queen Elizabeth II in her hunting trips.
Falconry has played a massive part in Emirati culture for years. The falcon is the country’s national bird – you can spot them in national Emirati emblems and various Dirham bills. Falcons are highly regarded and respected in the Emirates, being His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s favorite sport. Falconry is not just a sport but also a symbol of nobility and heritage in the Emirates. The art of training and hunting with falcons has been passed down through generations, showcasing the deep connection between Emiratis and these majestic birds.
Today, the sport of falconry is as alive as ever. Not only is it still practiced by the country’s royalty – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum and his son His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum – but it has also become a big part of the country’s tourism. With tourists coming from all around the world to explore the Emirates, safaris and desert adventures are on top of the list; and of course, you can’t have a desert adventure without falconry.
Falconry Experiences in Dubai
In Dubai, you can find countless experiences to see the majestic birds up close and learn about the ancient art of falconry. From falconry displays to interactive workshops, Dubai offers a range of opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves in the world of falconry.
Here are some of the spots where you can try out this unique sport for yourself!
Bab Al Shams Resort and Spa
Bab Al Shams – which translates to Door of the Sun – is a unique resort in Dubai, offering elegant contemporary rooms and suites in modernist architecture inspired by the desert landscape and the country’s heritage. The resort offers a vibrant celebration of life, with international cuisines, entertainment experiences, and a serene spa. Guests can enjoy desert adventures, including hot-air balloon rides, camelback treks, and nature tours to Al Marmoom, all from sunrise to sunset.
One popular activity the resort offers is falconry. With the help of experts, you can explore the traditional sport and see the falcons in action. As you learn about the history and significance of falconry, you will also have the opportunity to hold and interact with these magnificent creatures, creating memories that will last a lifetime.