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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Taxi tour of the UAE

OK, first of all let me assure you that the trip I'm about to describe is not possible to do in a taxi. For a start, the meter would probably burn out through excessive 'beeping' and secondly, the wheels would get stuck, erm, not far south of Liwa.

This weekend I took a trip from Al Ain to The Empty Quarter south of Liwa Oasis and back to Al Ain again. I guess you could say the trip formed a rectangular shape, skirting along the Omani boarders to the east, the Gulf coast to the north and the Saudi borders to the south and west. We even sliced through the middle of the UAE too. We did a lot of milage, as you can see!

Starting in Al Ain we drove north west to Abu Dhabi, taking the road west along the coast a little until reaching the turn off for Liwa which took us south into Liwa Oasis. Had lunch at Liwa Hotel, waited for the heat to go off the day a bit before driving into the dunes, had a look at Mereb Dune before driving deeper into the desert to set up camp before sunset:

Camp Taxi (please click photos to enlarge)

The sun sinks behind the dune

Just stick your head in the sand and try to
forget about it!

It was pretty windy around sunset and the tent looked as if it was going to go sailing off to Saudi never to be seen again. However, the wind did die down and as the sky grew black we were treated to an amazing blanket of stars and later a spectacular moon rise. I would've loved to have taken some photos of this but my camera knows its limits..

Next morning, damp from the desert dew we had breakfast, packed up and headed home. Rather than going the way we came we decided to take a 'short cut' back to Al Ain through the desert. After all, as the crow flies, Al Ain isn't that far away from Liwa, is it?! So, we drove to Hamim, the most eastern village on the Liwa Oasis and then engaged 4X4 for a three hour drive through the dunes on sand tracks until we reached the road which borders Oman and takes us north to Al Ain!

Our 'road' all the way from Hamim to just
north of Um Al Zumool.

Camels far from the dangers of busy highways!

After a while on the road through the dunes you begin to lose your sense of perspective. At one moment I thought I saw a wrecked car on the side of the road which, as I got closer,
was actually a crumpled rubbish bin.

We need to take a right to Um Al Zumool..I think...

Miles and miles of unconnected electricity poles
that begin in the middle of nowhere. This was the
last stretch of road before we reached the tarmac
that would take us back to Al Ain!

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Blogger Matthew said...

What a great trip! I drove from Dubai to Liwa a few weeks ago and yes, it's amazing, especially given that just 20 years ago there was no electricity in Liwa. Note to dune-seekers w/o 4WD - you can get to Moreeb Dune, just follow the signs to Liwa Resthouse and turn right onto the road to the Dune. Also, there's a road from a point just west of Abu Dhabi all the way to Hamim, the eastern point of Liwa - 248km without a petrol station, but with a bit of planning...and there's an ADNOC in Hamim. Note also to those whose camera batteries run out - bring spares as there are no decent AA batteries sold anywhere in Liwa.

2/12/2007 01:03:00 am  
Blogger Al Ain Taxi said...

Yes, there is an ADNOC in Hamin but theres no Oasis store attached so if you need anything more than petrol or oil you need to go to one of the small groceries with the famous 'blue national flower of the Emirates' bags.

We got some tins of tuna and some arabic bread which made great tuna wraps. There is a biryani restaurant in Hammim called something like 'Al Adas' but I can't vouch for the quality of the food!

2/12/2007 08:13:00 am  
Blogger Acro said...

woah great trip :D, any maps available for such trips or road signs are enough? Thanks

2/14/2007 02:12:00 pm  
Blogger Al Ain Taxi said...

If you get the lastest UAE Off Road book there are some satellite maps which can help you do this trip. I tried to take a look on Google Earth but you can't see the sand track which we took from Hamim.

2/14/2007 02:52:00 pm  
Anonymous kochumanavalan said...

It's really amazing what you guys did. No doubt quite rewarding as well.

2/15/2007 11:58:00 am  
Blogger Al Ain Taxi said...

Yes, it was an amazing trip and it made me look at the UAE in a different way. We're certainly going to it again and this time I'm going to take more photos and some video.

2/16/2007 07:52:00 am  
Blogger just a mom said...

Excellent! I wanna go next time!

2/17/2007 08:19:00 pm  
Blogger Al Ain Taxi said...

I'm hoping I get to do this again someday

3/09/2007 03:48:00 pm  

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