Abu Dhabi’s Al Marzoom reserve, a favourite destination for falconry lovers
Abu Dhabi - Al Marzoom Hunting Reserve, the first of its kind in the world, provides a unique opportunity for the lovers of falconry to practise traditional hunting while enjoying an exceptional heritage experience. The protected area provides a safe environment for falconers and all those interested in falconry-related activities.
Situated in Al Gharbia (The Western Region) in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Al Marzoom recently opened its doors to receive the first batch of visitors and falconers in the second hunting season, which runs from November to mid-February.
Obaid Khalfan Al Mazrouei, director of heritage competitions at the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee of Abu Dhabi, said more than 2,500 falconers and visitors were expected to visit the reserve. He also said about 500 hunting trips would be organised by the Department of Al Marzoom Hunting Reserve.
In its first season, Al Marzoom attracted a large number of falconers as well as Arab and foreign tourists in addition to representatives of international, Arab and local media.
“In the light of the great success that has been achieved throughout the previous season, we go on with the organisation of this unique initiative,” Al Mazrouei said.
The reserve is located 100-120km from the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, (about one hour by car) and is completely delimited by a fence. The hunting area is surrounded by a vast natural reserve, where several high-level sites can be found and used to observe the larger landscape.
During the current season, Al Marzoom Hunting Reserve is planning to launch a number of specialised programmes to train falconers and raise awareness of the significance of safeguarding heritage. Students from a number of Emirati schools will be taught the principles of sustainable hunting, al sinaa (the daily etiquette in the UAE), the preparation of Arab coffee, camel riding and all that is related to the preservation of authentic traditions.
At Al Marzoom, visitors are accepted as part of hunting teams, with each team limited to no more than five members along with a professional hunter.
“We hope for our visitors to go through a unique heritage experience as this second season will be characterised by the organisation of diverse traditional activities and exciting surprises. There will be an opportunity to practise falconry and learn its skills without having to travel abroad,” said Ahmed bin Hiaa al-Mansouri, director of the hunting reserve.
“Al Marzoom focuses on falconry in the first place and is not providing any other form of wildlife tourism for the time being,” he added.
Al Mansouri noted that accommodation would be limited to traditional camps so as to respect the main objective of the project, which focuses on protecting the environment. He also stressed that only the practice of traditional hunting would be allowed, without the use of any weapons of any kind.
Al Marzoom, which is characterised by an exclusive focus on falconry and desert physiognomy, is internationally recognised as being a unique destination. The reserve sprawls over 923 sq. km and aims to provide a unique opportunity of traditional hunting.
The natural reserve works within the framework of environmental sustainability to protect and preserve endangered species from the risk of extinction. It also inspires to defend the animal wealth and the vegetative life of actual or possible economic values. While providing an opportunity for scientists and researchers to conduct field studies, Al Marzoom protected area aims to raise awareness about the protection of environment among visitors with its various activities.
The natural reserve is a living museum for the protection of authenticity and cultural identity. It offers an opportunity to learn about the local heritage through highlighting various customs and traditions that are related to hunting, cuisine, leisure and other activities.
As a project, Al Marzoom is designed as a unique hub for the attraction of tourists and visitors who are eager to enjoy genuine comfort in a contemporary way.
At Al Marzoom, falconers can hunt rabbits, as well as the houbara bustard, which is provided by a number of recognised breeding centres. It should be noted that the practice of falconry is organised, in accordance with a strict legal framework.