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Smokey but not the bandit

Sand Sherpa takes a sustainable approach to campfires

Nothing mesmerises quite like a campfire. Millenia of looking into the flames is probably burned into our DNA and it is both relaxing and inspiring.

We once made fires out of necessity to provide warmth and to cook. Now, when camping, making and enjoying a fire is often one of the most rewarding parts of the experience.

However, we must also remember that things have changed in the modern era. Firewood sold in supermarkets, petrol stations and hardware stores is often cut down for purpose, imported by sea or air, and the carbon and economic impact is immeasurable.

At Sand Sherpa, we try to play our part and all the wood we make available to our adventurers is sourced with great effort from the UAE's natural environment.

Many years ago, it was decided to forest certain areas of the emirates with Prosopis mesquite trees. They are resilient to the heat, require little water and their roots run deep. This is also the wood of choice to smoke meat and cook Texas BBQ.

The species was chosen as it is part of the same family as the Ghaf tree (Prosopis cineraria) but spreads even faster, has longer roots and is, therefore, able to access deeper underground aquifers.

The tree is, of course, not native to the UAE (brought from South America) and in more recent times, we have found that it is highly invasive and proliferates far and wide while tapping into deeper resources that starve the Ghaf tree (national tree of the UAE). Municipalities and developers around the UAE have been working hard to eradicate its presence.

We have identified some sites where these trees are being removed and have sent in teams to harvest them and store the wood at our warehouse. Supplies, though, are not infinite and we ask our campers to enjoy small, manageable fires that allow them to appreciate the flames without having a bonfire.

Sand Sherpa allocates 10 kilograms of wood to every group of adventurers, which is more than enough to cook and fuel a small fire for the evening. We do make additional wood available for a modest fee, if groups require it. This is to encourage consideration for the environment and to promote recognition that firewood is a finite resource while enjoying time in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve that is encouraging sustainability.

If you are with us on camp, try cooking with this amazing mesquite wood. Bring a great steak or order one from us to truly appreciate the flavour, which is truly incredible!

See you soon.

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