Fancy a little virtual desert excursion? You're in luck. Google recently took its Street View cameras waaay off the beaten path to capture the breathtaking landscapes of the Liwa Desert in Abu Dhabi. And rather than rely on engine power to traverse the dunes, it turned to a much more ancient (and desert-appropriate) mode of transport: a camel. 

"To bring this stunning desert to Street View, we fashioned the Trekker [a special camera-equipped backpack] to rest on a camel, which gathered imagery as it walked. Using camels for the collection allowed us to collect authentic imagery and minimise our disruption of this fragile environment," says Google's Najeeb Jarrar. 

The camel in question, which goes by the name of Raffia, is the very first animal used on Google's mapping missions. You can feast your eyes on the images captured by ten-year-old Raffia (with the help of his guide) here. 

"We hope this collection gives you a glimpse of what it may be like to travel the desert as caravan merchants have for the past 3,000 years," Jarrar says.