20240212 GWM tank
GWM TANK SUVs at the Gulf News Fun Drive in February in Tilal Swaihan Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News archives

Abu Dhabi: The 42nd Overnighter Gulf News held on February 10 and 11 saw participants walk away with a lot of gifts and discounts – thanks to the sponsors who came together for the annual desert Drive.

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The checkpoints stationed along the 142km route on Tilal Swaihan desert saw an interesting give away, discount voucher or a takeaway for participants.

All in all there was something for everyone on the day of the Drive thanks to the sponsors who came together.

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Sustainability on the Fun Drive

Castrol – the lubricant and key checkpoint sponsor of the Drive - celebrating its 125th year – for one has been on PATH360 – a holistic plan to create a more sustainable future. Castrol on a mission to reach net zero by 2050 distributed jute bags to participants.

Karcher, a support sponsor brought its sustainable vision to the Fun Drive. The company’s brand claim - “Be the difference” ensured the company kept plastic at bay and utilising sustainable raw materials.

Twinings also on the sustainable journey for long served participants tea in paper bio-degradable cups.

By putting care into the making of all our drinks, we put wellbeing at the heart of every cup of Twinings.

Something for everybody

Al Jazira Golden Eggs gave away nutritious eggs at their checkpoint.

Yasmin Shameer, Marketing Manager, Al Jazira (Golden Eggs) said: “In addition to fueling participants with our nutritious eggs, we brought in an exciting element by organising fun-filled games at the campsite. The aim was to make every participant feel like a winner and left no one disappointed.”

Medical assistance on board

The Iranian Hospital had an Ambulance parked on camp site to deal with any emergency for participants.

Dr Mohammad Fathi, Director-General of Iranian Hospital, said: “Iranian Hospital, under the auspices of the Iranian Red Crescent Society always supports social activities aimed at improving the society’s health and happiness. We were pleased to be part of the GN Fun Drive event.”

New brands launched at the Fun Drive

Manu Krishnan, Sales Manager, Steigens, said: “We are fascinated by the high level of positivity that the Gulf News Fun Drive has brought. It was great showcasing our brands to a diverse group of participants offering them a communal living experience. The weekend was filled with fun, excitement and adventure.”

Krishnan said the company introduced two global brands at the Gulf News Fun Drive – Chase Plus and Aggert.

Hamza Fakhruddin, Managing Director, Sterling Parfums, also said: “The Gulf News Fun Drive was an opportunity for Sterling Parfums to engage with a diverse audience and showcase our luxury perfumes amidst a thrilling adventure, aligning with our brand’s essence of sophistication and excitement. Sterling Parfums engaged participants through branded giveaways, fragrance stations, and interactive experiences, amplifying the fun-filled atmosphere of the 42nd Gulf News Fun Drive.”

“Sterling Parfums proudly supported the Gulf News Fun Drive for the first time, continuously enhancing our brand presence and forging meaningful connections with participants. Participating in events like the Gulf News Fun Drive provides invaluable exposure, allowing Sterling Parfums to reach a wider audience, strengthen brand recognition, and foster customer loyalty through memorable experiences.”

New entertainment

A new entertainment of drummers sponsored by Dobinsons enthralled visitors at the overnight camp where the dinner and activations were hosted. Dobinsons that believes in innovation and unique experiences has been a support sponsor on the

Fun Drive. This year, they sponsored a group

of drummers who come along and sat in a circle to drum the night away.

Happy participants

Sai Keerthana and her husband decided to spend their Valentine’s weekend dune bashing and riding along the desert of Tilal Swaihan at the Gulf News Fun Drive. “It was our first time and we were absolutely thrilled with all that was in offer. The route was spectacular. Tilal Swaihan dunes were so beautiful. We did face challenges with our car getting stuck on the sand dunes. But that is it. We signed up for exactly this – the fun thrill adventure and the immense learning we took from it all.”

Dr Roohi Riaz and her friend Dr. Jolly Anne could not agree more. Riaz said her daughter Rania had the best time of her life riding along the Tilal Swaihan dunes. “The Gulf News Fun Drive is a complete package. First there is a great desert route planned for us to learn and explore. Second, the marshals are everywhere to help us when we got stuck on the sands. Third, there is so much education happening on the Drive. My husband learnt so much about desert driving. Fourth, the food was excellent. From breakfast to lunch to dinner – there is a lot to eat and savour. Fifth the planning of the Drive is just remarkable. It is my first time on the GN Fun Drive and certainly not the last.”

“Tilal Swaihan in Al Ain is the perfect venue for an event of this nature. Strategically located near both Abu Dhabi and Dubai, it is extremely accessible and spectacular for both the start and the overnight camp.”

Key activity

Yokohama Geolandar were responsible for the tyre pressure checks ensuring participants had deflated to the required levels.

Apart from the activations, the Fun Drive camp went a notch higher with an all-pervading fragrance of oud, soothing the tired and chilled participants.

Thank you sponsors

Tilal Swaihan Experience

Tilal Swaihan

Al Ain Municipality

Automotive Sponsors

GWM Tank by Al Naboodah Group

CheckPoint Sponsors

Castrol Magnatec,

Dobinsons Springs & Suspension Trading LLC,

Al Jazira Poultry Farms LLC,

TORC – The Off Road Company, and

Yokohama Geolandar


Support Partners



Baqer Mohebi


Ciel Events




Tornado Watches


Lubricant Sponsor

Castrol Magnatec

Charging Station

iCharge point powered by Ciel Events

Official Tyre

Yokohama Geolandar

Ice-cream Sponsor


Water Sponsor

Al Ain Water

Catering Partner

Capital Hospitality

Official Tea Sponsor


Medical Partner

Iranian Hospital


IATC – The International Automobile and Touring Club of UAE.

Camp Set Up

ADNEC Securities

Al Ahli Transport

Al Ghouth Tents LLC

Byrne Equipment Rental

Concept Pest Control

Finearts Advertising

SNG Employment and Facilities Services

Contribution to the Goody Bags

Al Jazira Poultry


Castrol Magnatec


Gulf International

Hunter Foods

Plastica Industries LLC

Royal Golden Trading ( Mawa Mix Nuts )


With Sincere Thanks

Al Ain Municipality

Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company

Tilal Swaihan

Abu Dhabi Police

Department of Civil Defence

National Ambulance Abu Dhabi