All the best adventures lie off the beaten track…

Welcome to the Off-Road Driving Project, a series of six off-road driving routes mapped across meandering terrain in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The trails have been designed for those with a taste for adventure to head off on safe self-drive expeditions, and track down intrepid desert camping experiences.

It’s another innovative project conceived by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT), and again shows that there’s more to the emirate than futuristic buildings, epic shopping trips, theme parks and pristine beaches.

The routes have been graded at different accessibility and driving ability levels, from beginner to expert. Each option offers its own exciting sight-seeing opportunities, with wildlife encounters such as gazelle and camel, entrancing dune configurations and hidden oases.

Choose your adventure

Al Remah

A great outing for all driving skill levels, this passage takes between six to eight hours and passes an authentic Camel Racing Track. You’ll also pass by Telal Nature Reserve where eagle-eyed pioneers could spot wild deer. It’s also a stunning locale to set up camp for the nights.

Al Ain to White Sands

This Liwa escapade takes you through towering dunes, big gazelle country and lasts between four to eight hours. It’s a trek often made by local Bedouin and if you tackle it in the early morning or evening, you might even see camels in race training. Although seeing them in athleisure wear is unlikely. Abu Hiraybah is great place to tent-up.

The Hameem Loop

This one is probably best left to drivers with a bit of experience behind the wheel, as the tail end can be a bit tricky. It’s at most 80km but should take around four to five hours to complete. Sight-seeing highlights include slipfaces and deep bowls, gazelle, an abandoned Nissan Patrol, and solar power bank, as well as camel and goat farms.

Umm Al Oush

Another tough journey best left to skilled off-roaders. Those that make the trek Al Quo’a will be well rewarded with stunning vistas and exceptional photo opportunities. Here you’ll find tsunami-sized dunes of up 250 metres in height, starfish dunes and a camel farm.

Liwa Crossing

One of the toughest routes on offer, it takes a day and a half to two days to finish (so you may need to take extra petrol). Pass by the stunning Qasr Al Sarab resort, Al Mirayr forests, a deer gathering area near Bateen Liwa, and salt pools in that same area.

Al Khazna

Short but steep. This advanced course takes around four hours to complete and features challenging driving experiences, a graveyard of abandoned vehicles, desert trees, an oasis and desert safari camp.

You might also like

5 adventures you can now enjoy on Hudayriyat Island
Jebel Hafit Desert Park has reopened in Abu Dhabi for a new season

You can pull up detailed information on routes, points of interest and camping opportunities on the website.

Safety procedures, emergency information and pre-trip checklists will also be made available.

Guided adventures

The DCT also confirmed that there are licensed operators offering tours and training for inexperienced drivers with a wanderlust for the undiscovered.

HE Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Abu Dhabi is a wonderful destination for adventurers and those looking to connect with nature, thanks to its diverse and rugged landscape.”

Off-Road Driving in Abu Dhabi will provide adventurers with the opportunity to explore Abu Dhabi’s beautiful landscape and embark on exciting and varying adventures throughout the year. The initiative also opens new doors for operators, who can now offer a wider variety of desert experiences to visitors.”

Images: DCT Abu Dhabi