Abu Dhabi: For the 33rd year running, the Gulf News Fun Drive kicks off on Friday with the latest edition promising outdoor thrill-seekers an adventure they will not forget.
Supported by Al Futtaim Motors — Toyota, the 38th Gulf News Overnighter Drive will see participants driving deep into the Liwa desert until they make camp at the foot of the picturesque Moreeb Dune, where they will stay for the night, getting a chance to truly experience the magic of the desert in the cold winter night.
The first Fun Drive took place way back in 1986 when it was launched as a way of letting residents in the UAE experience the deserts. Since then, the Fun Drive has become one of the most popular organised events in the desert with thousands of residents from all walks of life registering to take part each year.
This year’s drive will start from Al Fathiya on the Hameem Road, where participants will first meet up and check in from 7am. Participants can fuel themselves with a big, delightful breakfast once they check in, before they head out on a day of adventure and thrills.
The drive itself is scheduled to start for 9am, barring weather delays caused by fog. Participants will then be embarking on a seven-hour adventure through the fascinating desert landscape covering 260km which will be divided into eight sections. To ensure everything goes off smoothly and safely, 92 seasoned and professional marshals will be on hand guiding the way and helping anyone stuck or lost in the desert.
Should the desert terrain and its sand dunes prove to be too challenging for some drivers, they will have the option to pull out at any of the checkpoints and head straight to the camp by road.
The convoy of 700-800 vehicles are expected to start arriving at the main camp in the Liwa Desert from 4pm, with the camp providing all basic amenities for the participants including water, showers, and portaloos.
At the main campsite, participants and visitors will have a chance to unwind after a long, hard day of driving, with live non-stop entertainment provided from 5pm all the way late into the desert night. The entertainment line-up includes magic and circus shows, a DJ, and live band as well as belly dance performances and camel rides.
The campsite also features a massive dinner buffet spread catering to all tastes, with the organisers going to great lengths to ensure a comfortable overnight stay.
After a good night’s sleep, participants will be treated to breakfast the next morning from 7am-9am before they make their journey back. The second day will see no off reading.
The Gulf News Overnighter Fun Drive is supported by Al Futtaim Motors — Toyota who are the main sponsor. Checkpoint sponsors include Al Jazira Poultry Farm LLC, FASTFIT, G-Shock, Orient Tours, Orient Travel, Toyota and Western Digital. Support sponsors include Byrne, Emirates Water, Flow Composite Manufacturing FZC, Fly Audio & Almani by Ahaat, JANSPORT, TORC The Offroad Company, US Polo Association. Catering is by JA Resorts & Hotels and Mafraq Hotel. Food Packs are by Mister Baker.
Fun Drive numbers are sponsored by Amity University Dubai, Communication Sponsor is SanDisk and the official Tyre Sponsor is BF Goodrich. Recovery is by IATC. The Fun Drive is being held with the support of Al Gharbia Sports Club.
Gulf News Fun Drive
Where: Western Region, starting point at Al Fathiya on Hameem Road
Distance: 260km to campsite in Liwa desert
Driving time: 7-8 hours
700-800 vehicles taking part