Tilal Swaihan Gulf News Fun Drive 2024
Surrounded by the Tilal Swaihan desert, participants will start and end the off-road adventure at the Gulf News Fun Drive camp, where entertainment, dining and fun activities await them Image Credit: Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The 42nd Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive Tilal Swaihan Experience is almost nearing (February 10 and 11).

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The venue Tilal Swaihan is not new to off-roaders considering it is a go to place for families and keen off-roaders who simply seem to love this desert and all that it offers.

And Muhammed Sarwar, the Deputy Route Director of the Gulf News Fun Drive, could not agree more.

“The desert offers unparalleled experience for off-roaders. It is a place that enhances the desert drives to begin with. It is serene and the air is actually fresh,” said Sarwar.

“Tilal Swaihan offers more than we think. The location is not too far and not too close either. This desert is a destination where you can see the stars. When you are in Tilal Swaihan, you are in the desert!”

Swaihan Mile near Gulf News Fun Drive camp 2024
'Swaihan Mile' is a stretch for straight-line speed, while the dunes looming in the distance command ups and downs, twists and turns Image Credit: Gulf News

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This desert offers a unique experience to desert lovers ranging from tourists, residents and families, by providing a range of exceptional camping and recreational facilities. It also contributes to the conservation of the ecosystem and optimises Abu Dhabi’s natural resources.

GN Fun Drive logo for 42nd edition
Image Credit: Gulf News

“It has a different kind of sand quality which makes it both, easier and challenging to drive. It has the lofty dunes to quench the thirst of those who need a dose of an adrenaline rush and at the same time, it has these alleyways in between that easy drivers seek, all at the same place,” said Sarwar.

He said the Drive itself will bring on some high climbs, there will be tricky spots with the slopes. “The ridges are my personal favourite. It is different, it is beautiful.”

GN Fun Drive 2024
Everything flows seamlessly, from parking to flag off Image Credit: Gulf News

The Drive, the desert, the sand

Sarwar said: “You will also notice that the sand is different in some areas where the drive demands momentum to be retained and there are areas where the sand feels as hard as the road. The desert has a different kind of sand quality which makes it both, easy and challenging to drive. The lofty dunes quench the thirst of those who need a dose of an adrenaline rush. At the same time there alleyways in between that easy drivers seek.”

For Saaduddin Ahmed, a senior marshal on duty at the Gulf News Fun Drive, Tilal Swaihan is a destination that enhances visitor experience, achieves the highest degree of happiness and contributes to the promotion of tourism in Abu Dhabi and the growth of Tilal Swaihan, in particular. “From my experience marshaling desert rides, families love to camp out here for it has great facilities to offer.”

He said: “The driving experience at Tilal Swaihan is almost similar to Liwa. The desert landscape leaves every off-roader with memories of the panoramic view of Tilal Swaihan. The sand colour, the dune formations, the odd encounter with wildlife all leaves one with a lasting memory.”

“As the desert is so close to city limits, families have made their way to set up camps in the desert.”

Main sponsor

GWM (Great Wall Motor), distributed in the UAE by Swaidan Trading Co., a division of Al Naboodah Group since 2003, is the automotive sponsor of the 42nd Gulf News Fun Drive, Tilal Swaihan Experience.

Checkpoint sponsors for the event include the exclusive Automotive Sponsor, GWM Tank - Al Naboodah, and Castrol Magnatec, which serves as the exclusive lubricant sponsor. Additionally, Dobinsons Springs & Suspension Trading LLC, Al Jazira Poultry Farms LLC, TORC – The Off Road Company, and Yokohama Geolandar, the official tire for the event, and Quanta who are also the Ice-cream sponsor, are among the checkpoint sponsors.

Other support sponsors comprise Karcher, Xbox, Byrne, Steigens, Almarai, Armaf, Ciel Events, Plastica, Baqer Mohebi and Tornado Watches.

Capital Hospitality is responsible for catering the Fun Drive, while the Iranian Hospital is the medical partner. Recovery operations are being handled by IATC – the International Automobile and Touring Club of UAE. Al Ain Water is the official water sponsor, and Twinings is our Official Tea Sponsor.