The Desert Diva, in conjunction with our partners, offers private trips that cater to the needs of our clients. I pride myself on organizing safe, well-managed self-drive tours tuned to your requirements.
Aim of Your Trip
Perhaps you want to learn to drive offroad in the desert, or, if you have some experience, work on improving your driving skills. Have you got children in the group? Would you like to disconnect them from the internet and have some good outdoor fun? Are there keen photographers in your group who would love to capture sensational desert sunsets and sunrises? Perhaps you would like to learn more about the history and culture of the Abu Dhabi people and their landscapes. Or maybe, just spend an evening with friends around a campfire, relaxing as you watch the stars in an inky black sky.
Let us know what you’d like and we will fashion a tailored itinerary, especially for you.
As with all our private trips, we work with you to devise a route that meets your aims and is geared towards the least capable 4×4 (not all 4×4’s are equal) and the least experienced driver. Please note that every trip is different, the route has subtle changes, occasionally we spot gazelle, and sometimes clouds cast beautiful shadows on the sand. Maybe you want to drive til sunset or perhaps you prefer to set up camp early and let any kids in your group do some sand sledding – the choice is yours!
All our overnight trips include an evening campfire with 3 bags of firewood; you are free to take more if you plan to chat and watch the stars late into the night, or even if you might want a fire in the morning too!
- Dinner: we have a BBQ grill and utensils; you can bring your own food to cook, or we can cater. If you opt for our catering, then our standard menu is camel burgers, rib-eye steak, chicken kebabs, vegetables, hummus, and bread, but this can be tailored to your group’s preferences.
- Lunch: depending on the timing of your trip, you might want a snack lunch in the desert. If you would like us to cater, then we can offer a selection (typically up to 8 items plus bread) from hummus, mutable, olives, green salad, quinoa salad, tomatoes, cucumber, vine leaves, boiled eggs, cold cuts, labnah with beetroot, labnah with magdhous, plus bread and nachos. As always, you can opt to bring your own.
- Breakfast: our guests often let us do the breakfasts. In our famous “breakfast box” we can offer 7 different types of tea, instant coffee, 3 in one coffee, breakfast bars and instant oats. We can also cook for you too, with our most popular items being freshly made pancakes with date syrup or honey, or eggy bread with honey or labnah.
There is no hard and fast rule to how many cars/people can be on your group trip. If all drivers are desert rookies, then we recommend a maximum of three cars, but this number can be increased if you have experienced drivers joining who are happy to be second lead/sweep in the convoy. If you hope to travel a good distance, then we recommend 8-10 cars maximum.
Length of Trip
We offer half-day and full-day weekday itineraries, but if you would like an overnight then we recommend meeting around lunchtime and leaving the desert around the same time the next day (or the day after!). We find that half-day tours or an overnight tour with two half-day drives are good for rookie drivers, or families with younger kids; this usually avoids drivers becoming too tired, or kids becoming tetchy.
You will find some ideas for routes below; these can be combined to make multi-day tours if required. We are very flexible when it comes to trip design; if there is somewhere else you would like to go/see then we will endeavor to create a trip for you that goes there!
Desert Area One: Way Out West!
The desert west of the Ghayathi-Arada Road (E15) is vast and almost empty! In the northernmost part, the dune structures are unusual in that they run north to south; these were apparently laid down at the time of the last ice-age, some 18k years ago!
The driving here can be very easy, easy, or intermediate; our driving style is “overland”, which means taking the smoothest route and avoiding advanced maneuvers such as side sloping or cross cresting.
This is the most remote area in the UAE and the place where you will find the darkest skies and, since the entry/exit point is 3.5 hours from Dubai, and 2.5 hours from Abu Dhabi, you won’t be seeing many other offroading enthusiasts here!
For multi-day trips, these itineraries can be combined with a visit to the shores of the Sila peninsula, or alternatively, the Rub Al Khali at Arada.
Desert Area Two: Madinat Zayed
The oasis town of Madinat Zayed makes a great starting point for a private tour; less than 2 hours from Abu Dhabi and just under 3 hours from Dubai. This area offers easy and intermediate driving over beautiful dunes. We can cruise past a plantation, stop by a camel farm, take pics of camels wandering the desert, cross the Tropic of Cancer and so much more!
For rookies, we can create a lovely loop route, starting off easily over quite low dunes, and gradually working up to larger, slightly more tricky dunes – we might even make it out to THE tanker.
If all the convoy has some experience, then we can go further than the tanker to emerge onto the Arada-Ghayathi Road. We will tackle steep slipfaces and some challenging climbs, all the while cruising through amazing dunes.
Desert Area 3: Hameem
We love remote deserts, far from the offroad “hotspots” and we can safely say that Hameem meets this criterion, as well as being only an hour from the outskirts of Abu Dhabi (and just under two from Dubai).
The dunes here are different from the other areas you will normally find us in. Here there is gorgeous beige and red sand and often you will see wildlife here.
It offers great camping too. We won’t be a million miles from the “milky way spot”, although we are bound to be in a quieter and more remote place!
We can offer very easy, easy, or intermediate trips here.
Desert Area 4: Liwa Crescent
Last, but by no means least, we come to the magnificent Rub Al Khali – The Empty Quarter. Covering over a quarter of a million square kilometres over Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, the Abu Dhabi portion is the easiest to access being just 2 hours from Abu Dhabi and 3 hours from Dubai. We have “crossed the crescent” many times, where the driving is intermediate/ intermediate plus, and we ask that all drivers have lifted cars, and have at least 10 offroad trips under their belt. Although the route is only 100kms long, we usually take 1.5 days to cover it.
Don’t worry if you have a car that doesn’t have the clearance of a lifted one or are a desert rookie, we have a lovely short route, with very easy driving, which will get you up to 10kms into the desert from the Arada area!
Now it’s time to choose your adventure
To enquire about a private tour, then please WhatsApp Marina at +971 509478563.
To help us provide the best tour possible, we’ll need a little bit of info from you:
- What is the aim of your trip?
- Do you have a preferred route/area?
- What time would you like to start and finish your tour?
- Approximately how many cars, and maybe their make/model if you have that to hand?
- How many people approximately, and if there are kids, what is their age group?
- What are the offroad driving levels of the least and most experienced drivers?
- Would you like us to cater, if so, would you prefer fully catered, or just BBQ or breakfast (or lunch if timing dictates)
Once we have the above information we can work out a price for your group. For weekday afternoon/day trips in the desert, our prices start at 275aed per hour, plus a small allowance for petrol, with a minimum charge of 4 hours.
Overnighters can be as low as 3000 aed plus our petrol for your group, depending on the factors above.
We operate between October and April each year; if you have a date in mind, please get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can check availability and get you booked in.
To check our scheduled tours, click here;
We usually have midweek availability, apart from when we are running tours in Oman and Saudi Arabia. Weekends we have available for private tours are listed in our calendar.