We went on a journey to the Liwa desert with Desert Dune Tours.
The gentle humming of a stationary Desert Dune Tours gold land cruiser is the only sound disturbing the silence as a cool breeze adjusts the adulations and landscapes of the golden sand dunes dominating the horizon of the Liwa desert in the Empty Quarter of Abu Dhabi.
We are sitting atop of the largest sand dune on the planet, Moreeb Dune, admiring what has to be one of the most stunning and peaceful settings in the UAE.
Team Yalla are exploring the desert city of Liwa under the guidance of Rashid Al Qubaisi, CEO of Desert Dune Tours, who offer authentic Abu Dhabi experiences.
Having been collected from our base in the capital, we make our way south, passing vast swathes of white and yellow sand that are pleasantly peppered with the green fronds of thousands of palm trees. The first port of call is in the shadow of the palace of the late His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nayhan.
From our perch, panoramic views of various palm tree farms yield to the utter silence of this immense desertscape. Liwa Oasis beckons.
Transformed into a sanctuary of peace, a variety of local flora decorates the surrounds with the tranquillity only interrupted by the gentle trickling of water from the swimming pool sized body of water; we are tempted to stay all day – bliss.
The tour continues as we explore historic settlements and forts that exude the impression that they are newly built such is their upkeep including Mezaira’a and Dhafeer. As Rashid highlights, you could easily pass by these monuments as there are no road signs – the benefits of having a local tour guide.
Lunchtime is approaching and as we pull up to the gate of a home on the cusp of traditional village Madhar Al Hammadi, Rashid says, “We welcome people to Abu Dhabi the way we welcome people into our home.”
Unbeknown to us he is inviting us into his beautiful family majlis for a traditional, delicious meal where we attempt, messily, to eat with our hands.
Suitably watered and fed, we hit the road again checking out some wonderful buildings including Rashid ’s own family palace before embarking on the memorising trip through the mighty Rub’ al Khali – the Empty Quarter.
Moving through the winding roads, save for a few camels, the area truly lives up to its name.
Our adventure leads us to Moreeb Dune where we hit the accelerator and power towards the summit, bumping, bashing and sliding our way in the sand.
Not for the faint hearted, it is an adrenaline pumping ride, particularly the descent for those who love a thrill.
We reach terra firma safely and Rashid asks “Want to go again?”