7 Ways Bedouins can teach us to stay cool in summer and 1 from us

June 11th, 2013

You don’t need to stand outside for very long under Dubai’s smoldering midday sun before you realize that Bedouins were tough people. However, the more we started asking local Bedu’s about how they survived the harsh Arabian summers, the more we realized that this toughness came with a healthy dose of intellect and a thorough understanding of their environment. Luckily, we have a learnt a lot from our Bedouin friends about keeping cool in summer.

1) Travel Time

Ancient Technique: The first and most obvious technique was to avoid the heat of the day all together. Bedouins would seek shade on top of a dune to catch any passing winds and remain cool during the day. Travel was then conducted at night, using the stars and significant landmarks for navigation.

Platinum Heritage Adaption 1: We followed this principle by avoiding the heat of the day. We are able to do this by delaying the pick-up from hotels during the hotter months. Arriving just before sunset, our wildlife drives are conducted during the “Golden Hour”. This is the hour prior to sunset when the heat of the day dissipates, animals start to move around and photography becomes rich and full of contrast. Once the sun sets in the desert, the temperature drops dramatically and is on average, 13 degrees Celsius cooler than day time temperatures.

Platinum Heritage Adaption 2: Our guests have discovered how comfortable the desert can be while participating in our Night Safari & Stargazing safaris. Wandering through the desert at night is the perfect way to explore the great outdoors during the summer months.

Platinum Heritage Adaption 3: Reviewing the Platinum Heritage website, you may have wondered why the Wildlife Safari and Breakfast with the Bedouin and Wildlife and Falconry Tours are not operational during the summer months. Simply put, it is uncomfortable to be sitting still in the open during daylight hours, even early in the morning.

2) Camp Location

Ancient Technique: The Bedouin would build their camps on the TOP of dunes for many reasons; to catch any cool winds, to avoid low area’s susceptible to flash floods, to keep watch on approaching tribes, and to avoid snakes and scorpions which prefer low lying brush.

Platinum Heritage Adaption: Platinum Heritage has constructed the industry’s first camp sitting on top of a dune. Other safari companies build in a “pocket” in order to protect against heavy winds. However, this comes with the disadvantage of being very hot in summer and very cold in winter. Not to mention that they become the unwilling home to lots of creepy crawlies like spiders, scorpions and snakes which prefer low lying areas. We can avoid this and take advantage of the cool afternoon breeze, using nature’s natural air-conditioning.

3) Head Cover

Ancient Technique: The Bedouin would cover their heads to protect from sunburn and use to cover their faces in case of sand storms.
Platinum Heritage Adaption: We provide Ghutras to our guests so they can take advantage of what the Bedouin have known for generations. This comes in handy when driving in the open top 1950’s Land Rovers

4) Clothing

Ancient Technique: Scientists were surprised to learn that Bedouins would wear black during the day. After conducting numerous experiments including; wearing loose white clothing, loose dark clothing, an army uniform and shorts with no shirt; the scientists concluded that both black and white loose clothing was the most effective way to stay cool under the sun. While the white colors’ reflected the sun, the black were best at absorbing body heat.

Platinum Heritage Adaption: Many of our guests are surprised that our summer uniform is black. For comfort, we recommend loose black or white clothing to our guests.

5) Henna

Ancient Technique: Bedouins would use henna under their eyes to protect against the glare of the sun.
Platinum Heritage Adaption: Now used for cosmetic purposes, when was the last time you had the chance to participate in a 4,000 year old tradition?

6) Water

Ancient Technique: Water was the lifeblood of the desert. Even within living memory, many Bedouins tell us that water wells were like modern petrol stations of today. Used to refill and navigate across the desert. Terracotta posts elevated off the ground took advantage of wind flow to keep the posts cold.

Platinum Heritage Adaption: Water is always in abundance on a Platinum Heritage safari. Using the same traditional terracotta pots, we store our water in these pots at both our sunset spot and our camp.

7) Hot Drinks/Soup

Ancient Technique: Bedouins knew that drinking a hot drink or soup would help to keep them cool down. Scientists from the University of Ottawa’s Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory only recently were able to prove this theory. In environments where there is low humidity, hot drinks trigger a sweat response which naturally cools the body. Cold drinks have the opposite effect, cancelling out the cooling benefits of the drink.

Platinum Heritage Adaption: Understanding the theory behind the Bedouins techniques, we serve a hot Arabic coffee on arrival to our camp. Our first dinner course is a hot, traditional Shorbat Adas soup. For the remainder of the night, our guests can enjoy the light breeze coming through the camp (as per point 2) with a light sweat using their bodies’ natural cooling system.

8) Cold Towels

Ancient Technique: None available
Platinum Heritage Adaption: This is where technology is helping life in the desert. Platinum Heritage uses ice cold bio-degradable towels to keep our guests cool.

Please review our wide selection of safaris designed to work with the environment to make our summer safaris comfortable and enjoyable.

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