Deserts & Wadis

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Deserts & Wadis Liwa Oasis National Auto Museum

Wadi Beih

Fossil Rock

Wadi Tayebah

Liwa Oasis

Abu Dhabi National Auto Museum

Wadi Beih

   

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Wadi Beih, (spelt several different ways), is a fascinating gorge through the mountains almost coast to coast. This is a days drive from the UAE west coast at Ras Al Khaimah through the mountains of the Musandam, emerging on the east coast at Dibba, a divided town, half in Oman, half in UAE. The road rises over the mountains with spectacular views with many old abandoned settlements and terraced farming.

Fossil Rock

   

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An all sand drive from Al Awir, inland from Dubai through beautiful red sand dunes, ending at Fossil Rock. A great beginners desert trip. However, the sand is not to be under estimated.

Tyre pressures are reduced to around 16PSI at the beginning of the drive, as this helps traction. We all carried compressors on board to re-inflate at the end of the drive.

There are many ways to get stuck, but in our family, Adam takes the biscuit. All 4 wheels turning, car balanced on the dune going nowhere.

Wadi Tayebah

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During the summer when it is just too hot to head for the desert and definitely too hot to dig cars out from hot sand, we made a few trips, together with Fran and Richard to a number of rocky wadis towards the east coast.

December 2007

Camping trip to Liwa

 

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Liwa Oasis - Photos

 

Inland from Abu Dhabi, stretching east to the Omani mountains and south across Saudi Arabia and to the mountains of Yemen, lies the Empty Quarter. The Rub Al Khali. The largest sand desert in the world. The area that lies close to Abu Dhabi is called Liwa, after the Liwa Oasis that lies at the start of the desert.

Six of us went camping just after Christmas 2007. Fran and Richard in their new Jeep Grand Cherokee, Michael and Sabine in their Nissan Patrol, towing a trailer full of Quad bikes and the two of us.

One and a half hours drive south from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, then a further two hours out into the desert, passing the outskirts of Liwa Oasis, then out into the sand. We stopped to deflate tyres, but this did not prevent the trailer getting stuck. We left the trailer on the track and moved the vehicles and quads to a good camping spot.

The dunes are spectacular. Some, we are told, reach 300 metres. Even those around us were an incredible size, if not quite 300 metres. The sand is red and in the evening light the soft flow of the dunes resemble molten caramel.

We could not risk taking the vehicles up the dunes, but had great fun with Michael's quads which seem to be able to tackle anything.

Amidst the dunes we enormous hollows. Drop a vehicle into one of those and it is never coming out. With the quads, we could drive around the walls of the hollows and out again relying on speed and centrifugal force to keep us there.

On the fringe of the desert lies the Liwa Oasis. Driving through the oasis, we were amazed to see sand dunes on one side and fields of hay on the other.

On our last morning, we awoke to thick fog with the peaks of the dunes appearing above the mist.

 

 

December 2007

Abu Dhabi National Auto Museum

 

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Abu Dhabi National Auto Museum - Photos

On the way to Liwa, way out of Abu Dhabi, there is a pyramid on the side of the road. This is the home of the Abu Dhabi National Auto Museum, founded by Sheikh Hamdan known as the Rainbow Sheikh.

The first thing that greets the eye above the road outside the museum is a scale copy of a Land Rover 110 Station Wagon. Not scaled down, but scaled up many times. If you look closely at the photo of this in our photo gallery, you will see dining tables inside the drivers window and a kitchen in the back window. It's a restaurant.

The Sheikh also built a mobile Globe, exactly one millionth the size of earth.

Inside the museum is the world's largest truck, a scaled up version on a 1950's Dodge truck. Inside this is a house.

The museum contains around 300 vehicles of every conceivable type, old and new. There is a line of Mercedes 280SE cars in all the colours of the rainbow. Rumour has it that the production line at Mercedes in Stuttgart was interrupted so these vehicles could be produced.

It was an amazing experience to find such a museum with such unusual exhibits in a pyramid in the desert..

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