It was the UAE’s 45th National Day and everyone in the country had a day off! Instead of the usual one night camping expedition style trip we put together a 48 hour, 2 night camping trip with some smooth offroad driving past some wonderful desert terrain as well as a visit to a fort and overnight in our tents at some quiet locations.
We met promptly at lunchtime in Madinat Zayed on Thursday 1st December and after a quick detour to see a field of mirrors aka the Shams 1 Power Plant we headed off into the sands to pitch our tents. For the start of December, the weather was still quite warm and as the area has had no rain for eight months the going was rather soft, but, in any case we had a nice meandering drive with most “situations” handled by self-recovery.
On our way back to the camp I was overtaken by a couple of local men in their landcruiser and the beckoned us to follow them; I felt sure they were going to let us watch them train their falcons and we were not disappointed!
On return to the camp we settled down for the night round our campfire with a bbq of camel burgers, chicken and roasted veggies.
Next morning saw a foggy start but by the time we had had our breakfast it was clear and once more we took to the sand. The fog had dampened the top layer of sand which made the driving slightly easier and after a visit to my “modern day wishing wells” I decided we had time to take our small group to my favourite desert landmark – the abandoned Oshkosh tanker.
Returning to our campsite around lunchtime we packed up then headed south towards the Liwa crescent. After taking in a fort, incidentally my favourite one in this area, Al Qutuf, we headed east to a gatch track which gives easy access to some spectacular dunescapes.
We had another quiet night under the stars before it was time to break camp and head home. One of our guests wanted a little more offroading and I did not need much persuading to head into the dunes for an extra hour!
All in all a memorable weekend and for all the right reasons. Good weather, some real local culture, wildlife, lovely guests – can’t wait til the next one!
Here’s where we went