Raring to go. Jamal Khan, Haris Anwar and Shamim Ahmad with their FJ Cruiser TRD edition car and members of the Swiss Tourism team. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Three Dubai-based friends - Jamal Khan, Abdul Rafey and Farhan Kafil - are going the extra mile with their penchant for off-roads by organising a road trip to Switzerland and Rotterdam.

Kafil told XPRESS that the initiative – Let’s Drive - has set out with one car this week to cover 10,000 km across 10 countries in two continents to arrive in Zurich on September 9.

He said Khan and two others, Haris Anwar and Shamim Ahmad, had shipped their Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD edition car from Sharjah to Bandar Abbas and taken the same ferry to reach Iran on August 29, from where they hit the road to begin their drive through Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic and Germany to reach Switzerland.

Grand Tour

“They will be joined by 15 members who would fly from Dubai to Zurich to do the Grand Tour of Switzerland, which is 1,600 km of pure road trip bliss in the countryside and crossing through various cities of Switzerland. They will complete the loop in Zurich on September 17, following which the lead car (FJ Cruiser) will drive through France and Belgium to Rotterdam, where the trip ends,” said Kafil.

He said, “A Dubai number-plate car travelling through these countries, with the map of the tour route printed on it, and the flags of all the countries, is bound to turn heads. This will give the team an opportunity to talk to the curious onlookers about their trip and Dubai, and give them souvenirs of Dubai landmarks, thus promoting Dubai as a destination. Also, in support of the UAE’s Year of Reading 2016, Let’s Drive will be donating a book a day in each country they visit en-route.”

Kafil said the idea of Let’s Drive was conceived in the winter of 2014 when he and Khan Rafey sat in a café sharing their travel stories over a mug of freshly brewed coffee. “We had known each other briefly during our university days in India. Our love of travel, road trips and exploration of nature brought us together in Dubai 10 years later and we became friends. We did several road trips - by car and motorcycle - in the UAE, India, Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe.”

He said, “Doing those trips by ourselves over the years had become mundane, so we thought why not fuel the passion to the next level, and let other people explore the world with them.”

The result was Let’s Drive – Outdoors and Expeditions, which has a membership of over 1,100 members in 20 months. “The organisers do the route planning, trip coordination and manage the logistics, while people join them with their own cars, or a passenger in one of the participant’s cars, and drive through exciting terrain – on road, off road, mountains, valleys, deserts, forests, national parks, mud, snow… The drives are combined with hiking, trekking, swimming, sightseeing, camping, barbecue, open air movie nights and full-night desert drives.”