6 Self-Drive, Off-Road Desert Adventures In Abu Dhabi That Are A One-0f-A-Kind Experience

by Vaishnavi Venkataraman
by Vaishnavi Venkataraman 608

Move over desert safari! Abu Dhabi has now launched six new desert driving routes that let you explore the dunes like nowhere else. Adventure seekers can drive down off-roading routes crossing Abu Dhabi, Al Dhafrah and Al Ain. The new experience is organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi. The routes are suitable for anyone with a 4×4, whether you are a complete beginner or a more advanced desert driver.

Each route has a different level of difficulty, letting you enjoy sun-kissed dunes, endless desertscapes and spot camels along the way. The route is available on Google maps and there’s also a list of instructions to ensure you stay safe while driving. In addition, drivers need to ensure their car is fully serviced and insured for off-road use.

Drivers are advised not to head out alone. A convoy of at least three or four other four-wheel-drive vehicles is recommended. Drivers who haven’t taken on the desert before can get some practice beforehand by getting in touch with the tourism operators working with DCT Abu Dhabi. And if you don’t fancy tackling desert terrain alone, you can also book to try the off-road routes via these operators.

Abu Dhabi’s New Off-Roading Routes

1. From Al Remah

Distance: 67 kilometres

Difficulty Rating: Easy

What To Expect:

The Al Remah route takes about 6-8 hours to complete. The route kicks off from a camel farm just off the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Road, extending through the camel racing track taking towards Telal Nature Reserve. The route offers lots of opportunities for dune-bashing and fun-driving, as well as camping opportunities.

Credits: The National

2. Al Ain To White Sands

Distance: 157 kilometres

Difficulty rating: Easy

What to expect:

The route takes you through the stunning dunes of Liwa and will take about four to eight hours to complete. You can spot plenty of camels as you drive, as the route takes you through several camel farms. And the best part is the route offers good remote camping spots around the Abu Hiraybah area in case you fancy a night under the stars.

Credits: The National

3. Hameem Loop

Distance: 55 kilometres

Difficulty rating: Intermediate

What to expect:

If you wish to experience a thrilling drive, this one’s the best bet! Taking you through towering dunes, deep bowls and slip faces, the Hameem is an adrenalin-filled route perfect for thrill seekers. Traveller can expect to click pictures of gazelle, camels and goats along the way. The route takes five hours to complete.

Credits: The National

4. Umm Al Oush

Distance: 60 kilometres

Difficulty rating: Intermediate to advanced

What to expect:

The Umm Al Oush route is a slightly tough one and not recommended for beginners. The route is filled with steep climbs, sharp drops and highly technical dunes- so its best you avoid this, if you’re a beginner. The route starts off near near the Al Quo’a, and works well if you’re heading to explore the desert with a local operator. Travellers can pick a spot for overnight camping and enjoy a night under the stars.

Credits: The National

5. Liwa Crossing

Distance: 109 kilometres

Difficulty rating: Advanced

What to expect:

In case you’re up for a long, tough drive, the Liwa route fits the bill perfectly. Passing over the country’s largest sand dunes, the route takes up to two days to complete. The stretches are completely isolated, so ensure you pack all the required things and don’t forget to hone your technical driving skills. The rough terrains are completely worth the risk. Travellers can enjoy stunning scenery near Al Mirayr and salt paths near Bateen Liwa. Besides, there are plenty of places to pitch a tent, so you can have you’re own, sweet picnic. And in case you wish to unwind in luxury, the five-star Qasr Al Sarab Resort by Anantara, is just next door.

Credits: The National

6. Al Khazna

Distance: 45 kilometres

Difficulty rating: Advanced

What to expect:

This one’s much shorter than the rest, and can be completed by experienced drivers in about four hours. The route has a lot of deep drops, large dunes, and steep climbs and is easier to manage with a long wheel-based car. The area has plenty to offer including an oasis, camping area, starfish dunes and more.There’s also a desert safari camp on the route if you want to spend the night.

Credits: The National

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