Back in 2012, when my husband and I thought we were real offroad experts, we visited Liwa for four days of driving in August. Looking back it was a bit risky, two cars, temps up to 50C and the holy month of Ramadan! Some local friends cautioned “you’ll die” but they were wrong and we made it safely off the sand to drive another day.
2012 summer trip to Liwa Part one
2012 summer trip to Liwa Part two
In 2013, we decided to increase the safety factor and invite a couple of friends along for a private drive; we had a fabulous time driving, dining and relaxing by the pool, and the adventure gave me something to write about in OutdoorUAE magazine in October!
In 2014, I made our annual “hot” Liwa trip an Oasis Offroad club trip, and seven cars made their way down to Liwa from White Sands – the last trip in this area before the Oryx Fence closed off half the area.
2015 saw an even bigger group – 14 cars – assemble at the lovely Liwa Hotel ready to adventure into Liwa at its most hostile. Three early morning drives were arranged for Friday morning – one convoy of four, the other two of five, followed by two early morning trips on Saturday.
I never like travelling along the E11 towards Liwa; the traffic has always been too heavy for my liking and now the 80kms you travel between Abu Dhabi and the turnoff for Madinat Zayed has roadworks all the way. So we took the desert, stopping first at the “Unicorn Pen.”
It took us six hours to reach the Liwa Hotel (by road it would have been just over three); soft sand gatch tracks covered by dunes slowed our progress here and there, but we arrived at the hotel in time for a swim and dinner.
My convoy set out at 5.15am, armed with a packed breakfast – destination Moreeb Dune. Once deflated and fed, we took to the dunes with the beguiling sounds of a desert drifting competition in our ears – yes, really, lots of locals were having a pre-dawn rally (we didn’t stop to watch). Here are some of our photos – the best ones were taken by my passenger Manhar.
We hit the sand at 6.24am and made it to the Arada road,after around 50kms of offroading just four hours later – we were back in the hotel pool by 11.30am!
Next day I led a drive with a slightly later start, this time we left the hotel at 7.15am with the aim of having an easy drive with the focus on photography!
Only 12 months til the next hot hot Liwa trip!