Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi (CNN) — Drive an hour or so southeast out of the city of Abu Dhabi toward the emirate’s empty deserts and you’ll hit a landscape full of unexpected man-made creations.
The region of Al Wathba is home to a beautiful oasis-like wetland reserve created, so the story goes, by an overspill from a water treatment facility. Now it’s a lush terrain that attracts flocks of migratory flamingos.
Farther along roads lined with carefully planted trees, there’s the surreal site of an artificial mountain rising up on the horizon, its flanks buttressed by gigantic concrete walls.
And stray off the main roads onto the back lanes, you’ll encounter wide and dusty camel highways, where cooler evening temperatures see vast fleets…