Nature

Siwa OasisFirst thing you need to know about desert is that desert does not mean lifeless. There are such a lot of life forms out there that some of us can barely believe it. But there are.

Driving along the roads and tracks of the arid areas of Sinai, you notice the ubiquitous presence of a wild tree. It is the acacia tree: originally a savanna tree, it can be found along all camel routes, as it is a delicacy for camels.

Camels eat from the branches underneath, giving the tree its characteristic umbrella shape. The tree has adapted itself to Sinai by having a very slow rate of growth. A common sight in the Sinai valleys is a folded Bedouin tent hung from an acacia tree, ready for use on the owners’ return. In Bedouin culture, any item hung from a tree belongs to someone and should not be touched.

The popular image of the desert is that of a desolate, barren wilderness, an endless sea of sand devoid of water and life. Whilst this image may hold true for a very few areas of the world’s deserts, it is, for the most part, false. It is an undeniably hostile environment, but it is a varied one and one that supports a surprising diversity of life. The desert animals have all evolved to survive in conditions where water is a rare and precious commodity and where daytime temperatures can be furnace-like but at night can slip below freezing.

In South east Asia, there are amazing borneo tours of the rainforest.