The UAE is a fabulous landscape for off-road drivers. With challenging desert expanses and twisting mountain roads, off-roading in the UAE is a hugely popular pastime with drivers looking for some excitement at the weekend.
So if you want to put your Lexus GX or LX through its paces and test its off-road capabilities, where are the best places to go? Engage crawl control, buckle up, and let some air out of your tyres - here are five top off-road locations in the UAE.
An hour’s drive from Dubai is one of the most popular and accessible off-road locations in the UAE. Sweeping expanses of sand beckon, and winding trails take you up into the Hajar Mountains. There are plenty of opportunities to unwind afterwards too, with a stroll around the Heritage Village and a stay at the luxury Hatta Fort Hotel. It’s a great spot for new off-road drivers or those who want to build their confidence in tackling moderate off-road terrain.
For sheer, towering dunes that will test your skill and your courage, Liwa Oasis is hard to beat. You’ll find this incredible landscape on the northern edge of the Rub al Khali desert in Al Gharbia. Stop on the top of a dune and watch the camel racing below, or if you’re feeling confident in your skills, take part in one of the many off-road competitions held here. Evening events include ‘glamping’ with dancing, fabulous food, and entertainment. A must-do experience for anyone who loves off-roading.
A spot for more experienced dune bashers and off-roaders, Jebel Maleihah is a truly dramatic landscape with multiple routes to explore. As it’s only around 90 minutes’ drive from Dubai, it’s easily accessible for a weekend of off-roading and camping. Make sure you and your vehicle are fully prepared for the trip, though, as while the drive along the Sharjah-Kalba highway may be easy, once you turn off the tarmac the terrain gets tough very quickly.
Also known as Tal Mireb, Moreeb Dune is the tallest dune in the whole of the UAE. This mountain of sand is over 300 metres tall and sits in the heart of the Rub al Khali desert 25km south of Liwa Oasis. You’re faced with a 50° slip face so crawler mode is essential to tackle the downside of this huge dune. A 1600m trail puts you and your 4x4 to the test. This is not a challenge for the faint-hearted!
This delightful landscape has everything you could want from an off-roading paradise. From sandy deserts and dried wadis to shady paths and rocky mountain trails, it brings together everything that’s enjoyable about off-roading in the UAE. It’s a charming spot on the road from Jiri Plain and is located between Ras al Khaimah and Manama.
While the track is short, it will put you through your paces. However, it’s suitable for new off-roaders and those with limited experience, and introduces you to more challenging terrain that’s still manageable, especially if you’re tackling it in a powerful Lexus GX that’s designed to conquer any and all types of roads.