Andries Dreyer, an activities guide at Qasr Al Sarab, does his best to give hotel guests a good time.
Andries Dreyer, an activities guide at Qasr Al Sarab, does his best to give hotel guests a good time.

Only the camels do not need a guide



Andries Dreyer helps generate business at the Qasr Al Sarab resort in Abu Dhabi by leading hotel guests into the desert for archery, mountain biking and camel trekking. The activities guide breaks down what a typical day in his life is like.

4.15am

My alarm would go off, because the first activities start just before sunrise. I do not have any traffic problems when I go to work because I live on site and the hotel is just minutes away from my accommodation.

About 5am

I will sign out my car, which I use for the morning activity. Some activities require setup. I meet with the guests and explain the activity. All of our activities are about 1.5 to 2 hours and situated away from the hotel in the heart of the desert, making each activity a unique desert experience in itself.

Early morning

We do archery in the morning in one of the salt plains behind the hotel. I would give the guests helpful tips on how to improve their skills. Something unique and different is the desert mountain biking. The trails take the guests through some beautiful areas of the desert and present a true wilderness experience. But sand does cover the route so you need to push over the sand sometimes. It's not always that easy. It's almost a 15km route.

Early morning

While on the camel trek guests have the opportunity to see the splendorous big red dunes of the Liwa desert. The trek also goes through a sabkha valley (salt plain) that is filled with desert plants and, sometimes if you are lucky, some desert animals.

About noon

Lunch. We break until about 3pm.

3.15pm

We'll start doing activities where it's easier to be in the heat, like a short "meet your camel" class. There are days it goes up to 50C or 55C.

About 7.30pm

The day would end. All the equipment has to be packed away, and all the things you've used go back in the storeroom.

Dinner:

I'm South African, so I like my barbecue and outdoor cooking. We do sometimes go out and have a desert barbecue. Most of the time I'll go to the canteen and meet up with everyone who works here and have dinner. They've got a little bit of everything for everyone: curries, steaks, casseroles or sometimes lasagna and chicken.

Evening

If it was a long day I would just go and put on a movie and sit back and relax. Some other nights I might spend some time in the gym. Life as a guide is not for everyone, mainly because it usually takes you to remote places that do not have big malls and the bustle of the city close by. For me, however, it is what I live for.

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg

Bayern Munich 1
Kimmich (27')

Real Madrid 2
Marcelo (43'), Asensio (56')

The US Congress, explained

- US Congress is divided into two chambers: the House of Representatives and Senate

- 435 members make up the House, and 100 in the Senate

- A party needs control of 218 seats to have a majority in the House

- In the Senate, a party needs to hold 51 seats for control

- In the event of a 50-50 split, the vice president's party retains power in the Senate

What it means to be a conservationist

Who is Enric Sala?

Enric Sala is an expert on marine conservation and is currently the National Geographic Society's Explorer-in-Residence. His love of the sea started with his childhood in Spain, inspired by the example of the legendary diver Jacques Cousteau. He has been a university professor of Oceanography in the US, as well as working at the Spanish National Council for Scientific Research and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Biodiversity and the Bio-Economy. He has dedicated his life to protecting life in the oceans. Enric describes himself as a flexitarian who only eats meat occasionally.

What is biodiversity?

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, all life on earth – including in its forests and oceans – forms a “rich tapestry of interconnecting and interdependent forces”. Biodiversity on earth today is the product of four billion years of evolution and consists of many millions of distinct biological species. The term ‘biodiversity’ is relatively new, popularised since the 1980s and coinciding with an understanding of the growing threats to the natural world including habitat loss, pollution and climate change. The loss of biodiversity itself is dangerous because it contributes to clean, consistent water flows, food security, protection from floods and storms and a stable climate. The natural world can be an ally in combating global climate change but to do so it must be protected. Nations are working to achieve this, including setting targets to be reached by 2020 for the protection of the natural state of 17 per cent of the land and 10 per cent of the oceans. However, these are well short of what is needed, according to experts, with half the land needed to be in a natural state to help avert disaster.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

Should late investors consider cryptocurrencies?

Wealth managers recommend late investors to have a balanced portfolio that typically includes traditional assets such as cash, government and corporate bonds, equities, commodities and commercial property.

They do not usually recommend investing in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies due to the risk and volatility associated with them.

“It has produced eye-watering returns for some, whereas others have lost substantially as this has all depended purely on timing and when the buy-in was. If someone still has about 20 to 25 years until retirement, there isn’t any need to take such risks,” Rupert Connor of Abacus Financial Consultant says.

He adds that if a person is interested in owning a business or growing a property portfolio to increase their retirement income, this can be encouraged provided they keep in mind the overall risk profile of these assets.

FA Cup quarter-final draw

The matches will be played across the weekend of 21 and 22 March

Sheffield United v Arsenal

Newcastle v Manchester City

Norwich v Derby/Manchester United

Leicester City v Chelsea

Where can I submit a sample?

Volunteers can now submit DNA samples at a number of centres across Abu Dhabi. The programme is open to all ages.

Collection centres in Abu Dhabi include:

  • Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC)
  • Biogenix Labs in Masdar City
  • Al Towayya in Al Ain
  • NMC Royal Hospital in Khalifa City
  • Bareen International Hospital
  • NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Ain
  • NMC Royal Medical Centre - Abu Dhabi
  • NMC Royal Women’s Hospital.
The specs

Engine: 3.0 twin-turbo inline six-cylinder
Transmission: eight-speed
Power: 503hp
Torque: 600Nm
Price: from Dh400,000 (estimate)
On sale: now

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Getting there

Given its remote location, getting to Borneo can feel daunting even for the most seasoned traveller. But you can fly directly from Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan and Sepilok is only half an hour away by taxi. Sandakan has plenty of accommodation options, while Sepilok has a few nature lodges close to the main attractions.