off road desert driving
off road desert driving
off road desert driving

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Abu Dhabi’s impressive desert dunes offer off-road driving enthusiasts a once-in-a-lifetime driving experience, but never go out into the desert alone. Ensure your car is fully serviced and insured for off-road use, and head off with at least three other four-wheel-drive vehicles. Pack enough water and food, a first-aid kit, and a spare tyre. If you've never driven off-road, you should first learn the ropes with one of the several tour companies in Abu Dhabi. Keep in mind that changing weather can drastically affect desert dunes. As such, the paths’ ratings listed below might change without notice*. If a dune crossing looks more difficult than you expect, get out of your car and check if it’s alright. If not, explore other crossing options a few metres to the left or right. 

A trip to the desert isn't complete without a night or two under the stars – and be prepared to experience some of the clearest night skies you’ve ever seen! Arrange a camping adventure with a tour company, or rent a four-wheel drive and buy the equipment yourself. Camping supplies are surprisingly affordable in Abu Dhabi, and there is no need to buy the most expensive equipment. In fact, you could probably buy a tent and two sleeping bags from a hypermarket for less than a guided tour. But never go out in the desert alone!

If you've caught the desert driving bug then we've prepared a few routes that you might want to try yourself!

*Please check our official disclaimer.

An oasis in the heart of the city

Al Remah Route

Easy level

67 KMs

Route details

Stop 1

Stop 1

Al Remah Route is great for beginner and advanced off-road drivers and takes about six to eight hours. The drive from the starting point to the Camel Farm Road is standard, but after the racing track it’s important to take a left out of the normal track, about 300m to 500m from the racing track. You decide what track you want to use from there. Take a look at our recommendations in the map pins below.

Route coordinates
Stop 2

Stop 2

One of the highlights of the Al Remah Route is an authentic Camel Racing Track (here).

Close by, you will find the Telal Nature Reserve with the possibility of spotting some deer and a nice camping area (here). There is also another great camping area near Sweihan (here).

Other highlights include beautiful desert trees near Tawi Naqara (here) and an amazing selection of high dunes, beautiful Gaff trees and good camping (here).

Route coordinates
Stop 1

Al Remah Route

Al Remah Route is great for beginner and advanced off-road drivers and takes about six to eight hours. The drive from the starting point to the Camel Farm Road is standard, but after the racing track it’s important to take a left out of the normal track, about 300m to 500m from the racing track. You decide what track you want to use from there. Take a look at our recommendations in the map pins below.

Route coordinates
Al Remah Route
Al Remah Route
An oasis in the heart of the city

Al Ain To White Sands Route

Easy level

67 KMs

Route details

Stop 1

Stop 1

This Liwa route is great for beginner and advanced off-road drivers and takes about four to eight hours. There are plenty of great remote camping spots in the centre section. Keep an eye out for gazelle in this middle area, too.

  • Thirty per cent of the route is gatch track (improved sand road lightly overlaid with limestone)
  • Regularly driven by Bedu (local farmers), there are often tracks to follow
  • Can be done in reverse, however in some areas it will be more difficult
  • Be mindful of water pits, as the groundwater table is very close to the surface
  • Look out for camels, including camels training for racing, usually later in the day and early morning

Route coordinates
Stop 2

Stop 2

There's a lot to explore in the Al Wiqan area! Look out for the Camel Race Track (here) and some lush tree farms in the neighbouring areas (here).

Boost your adrenaline on high dunes, some of which top 150m (here), and explore the local forest (here).

Moving on towards Abu Hiraybah, there is a great camping spot with some desert trees (here) and a nature reserve (here).

Route coordinates
Stop 1

Al Ain To White Sands Route

This Liwa route is great for beginner and advanced off-road drivers and takes about four to eight hours. There are plenty of great remote camping spots in the centre section. Keep an eye out for gazelle in this middle area, too.

  • Thirty per cent of the route is gatch track (improved sand road lightly overlaid with limestone)
  • Regularly driven by Bedu (local farmers), there are often tracks to follow
  • Can be done in reverse, however in some areas it will be more difficult
  • Be mindful of water pits, as the groundwater table is very close to the surface
  • Look out for camels, including camels training for racing, usually later in the day and early morning

Route coordinates
Al Ain To White Sands Route
Al Ain To White Sands Route
An oasis in the heart of the city

Hameem Loop Route

Easy level

67 KMs

Route details

Stop 1

Stop 1

Due to technical terrain, this route may extend to 70km or even 80km when driven. Taking about four to five hours to complete, you’ll find some particularly tricky terrain in the second half.

  • Expect slipfaces and deep bowls
  • Can’t be done in reverse
  • Sights include plenty of gazelle, an abandoned Nissan Patrol and solar power bank, and camel and goat farms

Route coordinates
Stop 2

Stop 2

There is a good chance you will encounter gazelles, especially around the bumpy sandtrack (here).

Keep an eye out for the abandoned Nissan Patrol pickup (here) and an abandoned solar power bank (here).

For animal lovers there are some camel and goat farms (here) and a wildlife area (here).

Route coordinates
Stop 1

Hameem Loop Route

Due to technical terrain, this route may extend to 70km or even 80km when driven. Taking about four to five hours to complete, you’ll find some particularly tricky terrain in the second half.

  • Expect slipfaces and deep bowls
  • Can’t be done in reverse
  • Sights include plenty of gazelle, an abandoned Nissan Patrol and solar power bank, and camel and goat farms

Route coordinates
Hameem Loop Route
Hameem Loop Route
An oasis in the heart of the city

Umm Al Oush Route

Easy level

67 KMs

Route details

Stop 1

Stop 1

This route is not recommended for beginners and takes about four to five hours to complete, with steep climbs, sharp drops, deep bowls and highly technical dunes. Don’t forget your camera; the sights are stunning.

  • Advanced moves required, like side-sloping and side-cresting
  • Easier to tackle with a long wheel-based car that has a 2” lift
  • Can’t be done in reverse
  • Sights include enormous dunes, starfish dunes, and incredible scenery

Route coordinates
Stop 2

Stop 2

This challenging route can be access from the services area near Al Quo’a (here). Keep an eye out at the beginning of the route for the camel race track (here) and camel farm (here).

Test your driving skills on some breathtakingly high dunes, reach heights of nearly 250 metres (here and here).

There is a great area for camping (here) and make sure you don’t miss the exit gate out of the desert (here)!

Route coordinates
Stop 1

Umm Al Oush Route

This route is not recommended for beginners and takes about four to five hours to complete, with steep climbs, sharp drops, deep bowls and highly technical dunes. Don’t forget your camera; the sights are stunning.

  • Advanced moves required, like side-sloping and side-cresting
  • Easier to tackle with a long wheel-based car that has a 2” lift
  • Can’t be done in reverse
  • Sights include enormous dunes, starfish dunes, and incredible scenery

Route coordinates
Umm Al Oush Route
Umm Al Oush Route
An oasis in the heart of the city

Liwa Crossing Route

Easy level

67 KMs

Route details

Stop 1

Stop 1

This is an advanced route with huge dunes, some of the largest in the UAE. There are some very tricky crossings and this remote route may take 1.5-2 days to complete. Make sure you take everything you need with you - early exit from this route is not possible.

  • Advanced moves required, like side-sloping and side-cresting
  • Cars with small tanks should take extra petrol
  • Can be done in reverse but different lines need to be plotted to scale slipfaces
  • Sights include dunes, dunes and more dunes

Route coordinates
Stop 2

Stop 2

This is one of the most demanding routes in our list but has some breathtaking sights to take in along the way! None more so than the uniquely luxurious Qasr Al Sarab resort (here).

Once underway, check out the forests near Al Mirayr (here) and the deer gathering area near Bateen Liwa (here).

It’s worth taking the time to visit the salt pool areas in the same area (here) and there’s a perfect spot to pitch your tents (here).

Route coordinates
Stop 1

Liwa Crossing Route

This is an advanced route with huge dunes, some of the largest in the UAE. There are some very tricky crossings and this remote route may take 1.5-2 days to complete. Make sure you take everything you need with you - early exit from this route is not possible.

  • Advanced moves required, like side-sloping and side-cresting
  • Cars with small tanks should take extra petrol
  • Can be done in reverse but different lines need to be plotted to scale slipfaces
  • Sights include dunes, dunes and more dunes

Route coordinates
Liwa Crossing Route
Liwa Crossing Route
An oasis in the heart of the city

Al Khazna Route

67 KMs

Easy level

Route details

Stop 1

Stop 1

This advanced route takes three to four hours to complete, with steep climbs, sharp drops, deep bowls and highly technical dunes.

  • Advanced manoeuvres required, like side-sloping and side-cresting
  • Easier to tackle with a long wheel-based car that has a 2” lift
  • Sights include massive dunes, starfish dunes, stunning landscapes, an oasis, a camping area and desert trees, a camel farm, and a desert safari company camp
  • You may follow routes from the start point (24°16'02.4"N 55°00'32.5"E) to the end point (24°22'51.2"N 55°23'18.0"E) and vice versa. Follow the pins between these locations for the stop point.

Route coordinates
Stop 2

Stop 2

This challenging advanced route can be completed in half a day but if you want to take your time then there is a great spot for camping near Al Fayah (here) and a Desert Safari Camp (here).

Other highlights of this route that shouldn’t be missed include a copse of desert trees (here) and a weird but wonderful selection of old abandoned cars (here).

Route coordinates
Stop 1

Al Khazna Route

This advanced route takes three to four hours to complete, with steep climbs, sharp drops, deep bowls and highly technical dunes.

  • Advanced manoeuvres required, like side-sloping and side-cresting
  • Easier to tackle with a long wheel-based car that has a 2” lift
  • Sights include massive dunes, starfish dunes, stunning landscapes, an oasis, a camping area and desert trees, a camel farm, and a desert safari company camp
  • You may follow routes from the start point (24°16'02.4"N 55°00'32.5"E) to the end point (24°22'51.2"N 55°23'18.0"E) and vice versa. Follow the pins between these locations for the stop point.

Route coordinates
Al Khazna Route
Al Khazna Route

Call the professionals

If you haven't been driving in the desert before or simply want some reassurance and practice before venturing out by yourself, then contact one of our trusted partners below who will be more than happy to help:


Capital Gate Tourism
Contact: Joy Sanchez
Mobile: 02 556 5543 or 00 971 56 366 5777
Email: [email protected]
Website: capitalgateta.ae


Emirates Tours & Safari LLC
Hotline/WhatsApp: 00 971 50 532 6837
Email: [email protected]


Turning Point Tourism LLC
Contact: Riddhi Lakhani
Mobile: 00 971 50 761 6513
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.turningpointdxb.com


Sand Sherpa
Contact: 00 971 58 560 6926
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.sandsherpa.com