The burning red sands of Lahbab continue to invite both novice and experienced drivers who are looking for a quick day-trip adventure, with Dubai a mere 30 minutes away to make a quick escape to should the prospect of overnight camping scare you. If camping is the call of the night, then stay close to Fossil Rock and keep that boom box handy. Just remember, the Big Red sand dune continues to draw enthusiasts at all hours.
Difficulty rating: 2 out of 5
The desert stretch between Al Ain and Abu Dhabi is an off-roader’s delight, promising a pristine desert vista that’s usually devoid of too many vehicles. Although, it is advisable to have a convoy of two to three vehicles if you happen to be a novice off-roader. Also, pack warm clothes.
Difficulty rating: 3 out of 5
Al Hayer Forest
Another gem on the Dubai-Al Ain stretch that offers a green patch and easy manoeuvring for those who want to stay close to the highway but yet experience the desert adventure. The green patch is a delight to camp at after the rains, but beware of critters that call this place home.
Difficulty rating: 1.5 out of 5
Rub Al Khali
The Empty Quarter continues to lure enthusiasts who value the endless vista that the world’s sandiest desert continues to offer. Myths and folklore aside [that’s a story for another day], the Rub Al Khali (its traditional name) stretches beyond the Abu Dhabi’s lush Liwa oasis, with the Moreeb dune — the tallest in the UAE — a feat to behold. But novice drivers beware, it is easy to lose one’s way in the Rub Al Khali, hence it’s advisable to go as part of a convoy or with an expert guide.
Difficulty rating: 4 out of 5
Al Hajar Mountains
The rugged terrain of Ras Al Khaimah’s mountain range that stretches into Oman is a weekender’s delight — and nightmare, if the weather forecast is not taken into consideration. A number of wadis are crying to be explored, but Wadi Naqab holds a personal place in our hearts for offering a bit of everything, also catering to those travelling with young ones in the backseat. There are also several hiking trails for those looking for that added bit of adventure.
Difficulty rating: 2.5 out of 5