FULLY BOOKED: UAE 50th National Day Liwa Desert Discovery: 2nd-4th December 2021

The UAE will celebrate its 50th National Day on December 2nd, and where better to spend it than the traditional home of the country’s rulers?

The Desert Diva has traditionally hosted a two night – two location – camping trip with dune driving, fort visits, some impromptu falconry and fine conversation round a roaring campfire; this year we have planned something similar.  Before or after the trip, you could consider a detour to Moreeb Dune area, where there will be a massive celebration of the Emirates’ 50th year.

In a nutshell

  • Offroad and camping trip commencing on thursday 2nd December in the Northern Liwa Area of Abu Dhabi Emirate
  • Two nights’ desert camping
  • Easy sand dune driving
  • Fully catered


Thursday 2nd December

We will meet in Madinat Zayed, Al Dhafra (Western) Region at 1pm.  It will take you just under 3 hours to drive here from Dubai, a similar time from Al Ain and about 1.5 hours from Abu Dhabi Mafraq junction.  Note: apart from the meeting time, all timings are approximate.

  • 1300hrs: meet
  • 1315hrs: picnic lunch, under a palm tree (included in trip price)
  • 1400hrs: deflate, safety briefing
  • 1430hrs: easy dune drive
  • 1600hrs: set up camp and enjoy sunset
  • 1830hrs: BBQ and campfire

If we are lucky we may see falconers practising their traditional art!  One year, we even had one lovely Emirati drop by our camp with his falcon, as well as another local who stopped by with some camel milk (made lovely pancakes on day two!)

Friday 3rd December

  • 0800hrs: cooked breakfast
  • 0900hrs: short dune drive to tanker,
  • 1200hrs: return to camp, pack up tents, have a light snack lunch
  • 1400hrs: relocate to Arada  Area via road
  • 1630hrs: set up camp
  • 1830hrs: BBQ and campfire

Saturday 4th December

  • 0800hrs: cooked breakfast
  • 0900hrs: pack up camp
  • 0930hrs: dune drive in huge dunes near the KSA border
  • 1200hrs: return to road

Suitable vehicles:

Not all four wheel drives are created equal!  Your car must be a 4×4, not an AWD or 4WD, and should have Low Gear option.

Please ensure your car is in tip-top condition!

  • Must have recovery points front and rear
  • Must be in tip-top condition (this includes the spare tyre too)
  • Those with locking wheel nuts should carry a key to release them

Please see here for a list of suggested vehicles and other car information, but please get in touch if your car is not on the list.


Please arrive at the start point with a full tank.  There is no requirement to carry extra petrol.


Your safety is always our number one priority!

There will be no high side-sloping, side-cresting or other advanced manoeuvres on this trip.  The aim is to explore the desert safely and make the trip memorable for all the right reasons!

However, it is a fact that most expedition injuries happen not during the driving, but around the campfire.  Please take the utmost care near campfire and BBQ area, and if you sit on the ground, be aware of your surroundings.

Please wear trainers or boots in the dark and around the campfire – it may be the “empty” quarter but there are some creatures there which will bite or sting you if you stand on them by accident!  If anyone should be unlucky enough to be stung by a scorpion, then we will drive them out to the nearest hospital – it will take about half an hour to reach there.


We will camp in two different locations.  We will set up a temporary camp with a shade, tables, campfire/bbq.  We also have a battery powered shower if you wish to use it.  “Bathrooms”are “al fresco” however we will stop off at the ADNOC in Liwa so that those who wish it can use a proper loo there!  If possible, since you will have to erect and dismantle your tent twice, we recommend you take a tent which is easy to put up!

Camping Kit:

Packing list for camping can be found here.

  •  Tent/Camping Equipment Rental
    • We have one tent package available for hire – Colemans Instant tent, mattresses, camping chairs and a torch – for only 125 aed per adult, 40aed per child.  You only to provide a sleeping bag (or blankets/sheet) and a pillow! Please contact us if you would like to come on the trip but do not have your own camping gear.

What to wear:

Suggestions here.

Please Note:

  • This trip is suitable for families, couples and individuals.
  • Children above 1 years old are welcome but there is a lot of driving so we suggest you take suitable activities to alleviate boredom in the car. Young children MUST be seated in car seats
  • Maximum persons per car – 4
  • All persons should wear seatbelts whenever the car is moving.
  • Apart from initial meeting time, all timings are approximate


  • Car plus driver – 1250 AED
  • Passengers – 850 AED
  • Children aged 4-11 – 395 AED
  • Children 3 and under – complimentary
  • Camping equipment hire (limited availability) 125aed per adult, 50aed per child


We have a limit of 8 guest cars this year; every year since 2017 we have been oversubscribed for this trip and had to turn people away, so please book as soon as possible.

You will find the booking form here – it is hosted on our other company’s website, so don’t worry.  A deposit of 25%, (fully refundable if any of your party has to isolate after a positive PCR test) payable by bank transfer, will reserve your place.  The balance is due by bank transfer no later than 29th November, or by cash at the start of the trip.

Any questions?  Whatsapp Marina on 0509478563 or email her on marina@xpeditionarabia.com

Essential reading:

Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger

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