The desert reveals its inner beauty for your viewing pleasure.
The desert keeps its secrets firmly untold, yet listen closely and the winds that sweep across the dunes may, from time to time, reveal just a few. And for those of us lucky to reside in, or indeed visit the wonderful Emirate of Abu Dhabi, there is an opportunity to discover firsthand one such secret that the desert has chosen to yield.
To the rest of the world, Al Wathba Fossil Dunes are a little-known attraction that are conveniently – for us at least – located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi City where the desert has surrendered dunes that have been set in time.
To the backdrop of a setting sun, Al Wathba Fossil Dunes and the desert itself are seemingly ideal props for a scene from a sci-fi film. Indeed, the Abu Dhabi desert (in Liwa), was the location for the planet of Arrakis in the film, Dune.
The desert was also the setting for the planet Jakku in JJ Abrams’ 2015 feature, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Today, the petrified dunes, now known as Al Wathba Fossil Dunes, were formed over time, when, millions of years ago, the area we know today as desert was immersed in water in which eroded sediments settled.
Layer upon layer built up over time, becoming compact and cemented together by salt crystals and different minerals, eventually forming stable structures.
The wind, working hand-in-glove with the supply of sediment, then played its role in shaping these glorious rock formations that we see today so close to Abu Dhabi City.
The dune patterns are simply works of art, with each formation holding its own unique shape. Being so close to Abu Dhabi’s urban fabric means that naturally (no pun indented) Al Wathba Fossil Dunes attracts visitors that have sadly damaged the formations’ fragile existence.
Today the site is protected by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi in order that these gifts of the desert remain for generations to come.
The image in this article was shot by Miro Mannino, the runner up winner of the DSLR segment for the Picture Abu Dhabi Photography Competition 2021 organised by Yalla – Abu Dhabi Life and digitalfarm.