Wadi Wurayah in Fujairah has been classified as a Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations body…

Contrary to popular belief, the UAE isn’t all just sand and desert. It actually is home to some pretty spectacular natural scenery – and now one such nature spot, Wadi Wurayah, has garnered international acclaim from UNESCO.

Known for being the UAE’s first national park, the Fujairah-located nature strip is one of 24 sites to be classified as a Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations body.

Being granted this particular status means that the area is now officially recognised for maintaining a balance between humans and nature, as well as encouraging sustainable development.

Unlike the surrounding deserts of the UAE, Wadi Wurayah is home many species of plants, animals and reptiles, and harbours pools, streams and waterfalls that help support the rich variety of wildlife.

It is also one of the few places left in the UAE where traditional farming practices continue.

What’s most interesting about the area, however, is that human activity is restricted there in order to maintain the wadi’s fragile ecosystem. This was key to UNESCO granting it the Biosphere Reserve status, which requires each biosphere to have a core zone that is strictly prohibited, as well as a buffer zone that supports ecological research and education

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Images: UNESCO