Participants during the Overnighter Fun Drive last year. This year, the 34th edition of the event takes place on January 9-10. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/ Gulf News archive

Dubai: The annual rush to register for the two-day Gulf News Fun Drive has just become a lot easier, organisers said.

Off-road enthusiasts can now register for the 34th popular annual outdoor event happening on January 9 and 10 by filling out all their details online through www.gnfundrive.com. The registration opens at midnight (December 25).

The event will kick off at the UAE Motorplex in Umm Al Quwain (UAQ), where participants will depart after breakfast on an eight hour drive through the desert in a ‘loop’ and return to UAQ to a spectacular desert camp site, where they will stay overnight.

“In this year’s fun drive we would like to, once again, stress on conservation and ecological awareness,” Naheed Patel, Gulf News Promotions Manager, said. “We are working closely with the Environment and Protection Area Authority and we are using biodegradable tape for the routes. The bags that we are giving to participants are also biodegradable.”

Conservation of the environment and respecting the desert has been the focus of these fun drives in order to protect the habitat of certain animals occupying the area.


The entry fee for adults is Dh375 and Dh200 for children under 12 years old. As for children under the age of four, entrance is for free.

Tickets include a breakfast meal, snack box, dinner on the first day and breakfast at the camp on the second day.

Additional payments and cancellations will only be accepted until 2pm Tuesday, December 30.

Confirmed participants will have to check in at the UAE Motorplex in Umm Al Quwain on January 9 at 6am to collect their notes, food, vouchers, and goodies before the flag-off time at 7:30am.

Speaking about this year’s Fun Drive Patel said that one of the main additions to this year’s fun drive is the luxury of registering online at the click of a mouse.

She also said that there will be experienced marshals at hand along the route to assist and guide drivers.

Only four-wheel drives with a maximum of four passengers, plus a driver are allowed to take part in the event.


All amenities including water, toilets and showers will be available at the camp and there will also be tents set up at the camp, which can be occupied on a first-come-first-serve basis.

There will be plenty of room available for camping for those who wish to bring their own equipment as well.

The Gulf News Fun Drive was designed to give people an opportunity to experience the desert. The first one was held in 1986 and a total of 75 four-wheel drives participated.

In 1989, Gulf News added another dimension to the Fun Drive: it was made into a two-day event with an overnight stay in the desert.

The fun drive is not a rally or a race, it is an event designed for the family to dwell in the beautiful scenery and explore the desert in a secured and safe manner.

Maria Botros is a trainee at Gulf News.