Adult Arabian Oryx are almost completely white, with towering horns and a tufty tail, yet they’re born exactly the same colour as sand. Useful, since these magnificent antelope-like creatures are indigenous to deserts in Oman and the UAE.
At least they were, until hunted to extinction between the 1930s and 1970s, by oil company executives and Arabian princes. But there’s a happy end to that story, involving several captive breeding pairs, an eco-aware Sheik, and the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Thanks to their combined efforts, the wild population has been slowly regenerating over the past three decades, and sightings across Dubai’s vast, dune strewn sands are highly likely: if you know where to look, and when.
By far the best way to see Oryx (along with hordes of other wildlife from Arabian Red Foxes to Bonelli Eagles) is to rely on the keen eyes of field guides from the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. Oryx sense rain and migrate in its direction, so November to March is prime time for sightings. Families can do a jeep safari or opt for low-impact, high adventure, camel trekking.