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7 best places in the Abu Dhabi desert for day trippers, stargazers and campers


Now is the time to head to the desert for a few nights of camping or just a daytrip from the city.

Team Yalla reaches out to the one and only Desert Diva Marina Bruce to guide us through the dunes for the best places to head for day trippers, stargazers and campers in the desert.


Al Hamra



Entry Point 23.412565°  54.390732° from the Abu Dhabi-Hameem Road (E65)

This is an easy sandtrack route, not too far from Abu Dhabi, which will take you deep into the dunes in an area that is paradise for photographers. Dark red dunes are interspersed with near-white ones and gazelle and other wildlife can often be spotted. Great for day trips or overnight camping, if you stop near the sandtrack, you could even barbeque here and exit the desert in the dark.


Khis Gatch



Entry point:   the Hameem-Liwa City Road (E90)

An old, well maintained gatch track that meanders through the stunning dunes of the Liwa Crescent. You’ll find many good camp spots down the length of this track – for security reasons you should stay at least 5km north of the UAE border fence, and about 10km south of the entry point to reduce light pollution.





Entry Point:  Ghayathi-Arada Road (E15)

Another gatch track that provides an easy way to drive into the most amazing dunescape where you will really be ‘away from it all’.  There are many huge bowls just off the track but before you drop down into one, ensure that you have the vehicles and experience to get back out! You can expect peace and quiet and very dark skies here.


Madinat Zayed



Entry Point: 23.617549° 53.618277°

You’ll definitely need to deflate before joining this wide sandtrack that takes you into the most beautiful red dunes, less than 30 minutes from Medina Zayed City. This route is great for a day visit, perhaps for a picnic, and it’s also a great place for an overnighter.


Best spots for stargazing

It’s all written the stars. Head to the dunes and look for the Milky Way.

J Razeen



Location 23.604609° 54.750492°

The long gatch track which runs south of this point has a multitude of places to stop and gaze at the stars. Although the location is well known now, there should be plenty of space for everyone. You can access the track with a 2WD car and it’s a great place for a late afternoon barbeque, some sky watching before returning home to your own beds.


K Al Qua’a Road



If you do not want to take your 2WD down the gatch above, the unnamed blacktop road from Al Qua’a to Razeen has many places you can stop to stargaze. There is a wide shoulder in many places and the road is extremely quiet.


L Arada



Entry Point 22.896767° 53.420256°

Although this spot is a long drive from Abu Dhabi, it offers dark skies and a beautiful place to camp. Follow the sand track in for 2km to 4km for the most amazing views of majestic dunes and high slipfaces. You often see gazelle in this area too!

To find out more about desert camping, visit Marina Bruce’s blog and her tour company

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