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Geocaching in the UAE: modern day treasure hunting.

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Geocaching can be a familiar term to many, but for those who have never heard of it, I thought it was worth writing a post about it, as it is really an incredibly fun thing to do.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, the official website has a useful and straightforward geocaching 101 video and FAQ.

The bottom line is: ‘geocaches’ (or simply ‘caches’) are small containers of various sizes (usually on the small side) which contain ‘treasures’ (of course, in a broad sense of the term).
Some are hard to find because disguised as wooden logs or simply really tiny; others are bigger, but sometimes hidden so well that you will really struggle (yes, it did happen to us).
See below for an example of various geocaching containers we have personally found, back in the UK.

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Tupperware!

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Vintage cache…

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A micro-cache.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A fake log!

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A film container…

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This was another big one!

 

 

 

 

 

 

These containers are distributed all over the world. Literally. There are over 2 million people hiding and seeking ‘geocaches’ on the planet in this precise moment!

Each container is logged (by the person who hides it) on the official geocaching website with satellite coordinates, so that anyone around the world can find it again (and re-hide it after).

Usually the containers are hidden in spots of natural beauty or of some sort of cultural interest, so that people can enjoy the outdoors as well as playing the game.

One of the main rules of geocaching is that you should not remove/move the containers from their location: usually you open them, sign your name in the provided logbook (which can be just a roll of paper) and that’s it, you put them back: the fun part is the search, not really the container itself.

Bigger containers might have several objects in them, so the main rule in this case is that if you take one item out, you must replace it with something else. After this, you just log everything online and move to the next search!

It might sound complicated, but it is basically treasure hunting done with the help of modern technology. It is really great fun!!

We have a little bit of geocaching experience, but we are keen on starting again in the UAE, as we never geocached over here before.
There are so many geocaches just around Abu Dhabi! (See map’s screenshot below!)

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As useful starting point, apart from the official website, I also found this UAE Facebook group.

To get started, in my opinion, it is easier to download the app than starting from the website: the app is much more straightforward, as it tracks your position istantly and simply tells you which caches you have around, so that you can start straight away.

Another advice – from personal experience: if you decide to start geocaching it is a good idea to invest in a cable to charge your mobile phone in the car, if you don’t have one already: using the geocache app is great but it is horrible when your battery dies just meters from the goal!

Joining the fun is totally free (unless you want premium perks) and we can’t wait to start again!

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Click HERE to read more about NATURE in Abu Dhabi.
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Emirates Park Zoo – a fun day out.

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The entrance of the Emirates Park Zoo

Emirates Park ZooOFFICIAL WEBSITE
Tel: +971 2 5633100
Ticket Prices (July 2013):
Adult: AED 25
Under 5 yo: AED 10
Under 2 yo: FREE
Wheelchair accessible and concessions available.
Opening times: Sun – Wed: 9:30am – 8:00pm
Thur – Sat and Public Holidays: 9:30am – 9:00pm

Even though it has been a while since we were kids, we had really a good time here!
Set in the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, this zoological park really surprised us on how good it was.

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The map of the park (click to enlarge)

First of all, the entry tickets are really cheap – which means that we can go back as many times as we want. Second, it is actually way bigger than it seems at first sight, so big that it’s quite easy to get lost walking around: we actually missed the whole sea-lion area because we did not realise it was there, but it is one reason more to return, I suppose!

Despite visiting on a blazing hot afternoon, walking around was actually not too bad thanks to sprinklers of micronized water over the visitors’ heads, installed pretty much on every path inside the zoo.
There are also a few covered bars, providing shade and (very cheap!) refreshements. When it got really too much to bear (we have not yet totally adapted to this latitude, after all!) we took shelter inside the reptile house and the aquarium, which are both fully air-conditioned.

This zoo is organised so that we were able to decide our own itinerary. At the entrance, after the tiny but perfectly formed gift shop (loved the assortment of animal masks, perfect for a jungle-themed fancy dress party!) we said hi to a series of chatty tropical birds. The primate colony came next, shortly followed by the snake alley and the ocean park. By the time we reached the tortoises and the ducks pond, we were ready for a cold drink and some rest on the shaded benches! There are really a lot of different animals in this park: from the majestic inhabitants of the predator section to the cute petting enclosure, there is something for everyone’s taste.
Apparently there is even the possibility to sleep at the park, as a resort, made of many private bungalows, overlooks the giraffes enclosure.

Munching away

Munching away

Amongst our favourites were indeed the charming giraffes, which were really friendly and kindly obliged by accepting food offers. We were able to buy bundles of leaves directly inside the park: every bundle – which is quite big – costs just 5 AED.
The giraffes were a big hit with both childrens and adults. They look so majestic and yet they seemed very delicate in taking the leaves from the hands of the youngest kids!

The Giraffe Cafe

The Giraffe Cafe

Next to their enclosure there is also one of the covered cafes, so we were able to sit down and have something fresh to drink whilst having them towering over us only a few steps away! It was the closest I had ever been to giraffes ever.

We also loved the tigers. They have both Bengali tigers (the more golden-hued ones) and Siberian tigers (which look almost white).
In the enclosure of the Siberian tigers there is a tunnel with a series of windows where, in a strike of luck, we managed to get really up, close and personal with them, as our photos demonstrate!

Hi, how are you?

Hi, how are you?

We had a lot of fun watching the tigers, lions and cheetas playing in the sun and taking baths in their pond.
We also liked the camels – one was white! – the hyenas, the family of kangaroos, the very playful monkeys, the small gang of meerkats and the many tropical birds and fishes.

Below are more photos of our visit: just click on them to enlarge.

This park had a relaxed atmosphere, lots of interesting animals to look at and very nice facilities, all what we needed for a fun day out. Next time we will be back for the sea-lions, but maybe we will take advantage of the late opening hours and visit a bit later in the day, when the sun is not so hot!!

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Majestic giraffe.

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Yawning tiger.

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Laughing hyena.

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Beautiful Siberian tiger

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Big kitten!

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Cute monkey.

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Yummy!

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Showing off.

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Friendly fish.

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Relaxed camels.

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A white camel!

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Just chillin’.

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Cute kangaroos.

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Showering!

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Curious cheetah.

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Hello!

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