DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS WITH 2WD VEHICLES; SINGLE 4X4 IS FINE. THERE IS NO DUNE BASHING ON THIS ROUTE – YOU ARE ON ROAD/GATCH TRACK ALL THE TIME BUT 4×4 OR AWD/4WD IS ESSENTIAL.
If you have a 4×4 there are more ways to reach Liwa than driving along the E11, with it’s current roadworks for most of its length west of Abu Dhabi it can be a nightmare at times! Previously I have given you Al Ain to Al Qua’a to Himeem and also Al Ain to White Sands; the route in this blog will take you from 10kms north of White Sands Restaurant through to Madinat Zayed. All but 17kms is blacktop BUT that gatch section is in pretty poor condition so you most definitely need a 4×4 – and I would suggest one with good clearance as there are many potholes to test the suspension!
From White Sands head north to point WSMZ002 where you should turn left onto a gatch track looking like it is leading up to a farm/plantation. Follow this gatch track carefully for 17kms until you reach WSMZ003 and turn right onto the blacktop. At WSMZ004 turn left at the roundabout and continue on this 2 way blacktop road, going straight at the roundabout WSMZ005. Roundabout WSMZ006 will see you at the edge of Madinat Zayed’s Industrial Area, turn right here and at the next roundabout WSMZ007 turn left. Follow this road, going straight at all roundabouts and you will come out at WSMZ008 which is the ADNOC Oasis in the midle of the city. You can find a list/download of useful waypoints here.
The blacktop road is mainly used by trucks and is rarely busy. You should however be vigilant for camels, sometimes sitting down on the road as well as small sand dunes where the road is elevated. As the gatch is prone to being very dusty, it is not unusual for water tankers to damp it down here and there; if this is the case when you cross it then your car will likely need a wash!
Note – google maps, as you will see from the screenshot below, take you via a road just opposite the ADNOC at the start of the route. This is a road to an oilfield which is guarded by men with guns – they don’t let visitors inside the perimeter fence! There is a sand track which skirts round the north side of the oilfield which you can see on google earth but I prefer the gatch.
Downloadable track in GPX format here.
Downloadable track in KML format here.