Explore the magnificent Liwa oasis and take in the desert scenery

Liwa Sand Dunes Experience: A Thrilling Arabian Adventure

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Written By Arabiers Digital & Reviewed by Robeena Brown

November 20, 2023 | 13 min read

Located in the Rub' Al Khali desert of the United Arab Emirates, the Liwa Oasis is a site of unmatched beauty and adventure. The desert is located in the southern end of the UAE. It features the stunning Liwa sand dunes, Liwa desert safaris, and natural wonders that attract thrill-seekers and desert enthusiasts from all over the world. This in-depth guide will show you the experiences to expect when you visit the Liwa desert, including the exciting experiences.

Top 10 Reasons To Explore the Thrilling Liwa Desert

1. Enigmatic Liwa Oasis

Commonly known as the Oasis City, Liwa is a lush greenery at the heart of the desert. You will be amazed by the obvious contrast between the lush palm groves at the oasis and the surrounding golden sands. The Liwa oasis is not only a site of breathtaking scenery but also a crucial component of Emirati culture and heritage. The history of this oasis is intricately linked to the harsh reality of the desert and the fortitude of its inhabitants, who have lived here for centuries.

2. Liwa’s Iconic Landmarks

Explore Liwa's iconic landmarks before embarking on the adrenaline-pumping sand dune activities. Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is an elegant desert oasis that provides a cozy base for your exploration in Liwa. The resort is beautifully designed to reflect the traditional Emirati fort, and its amenities offer an ideal fusion of modern comfort and desert charm.

Another must-see landmark is the historic Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Center, often known as the ‘Rainbow Sheikhs’ car museum. The museum features an intriguing collection of colorful, customized cars that reflect the owner's passion for vehicles. The one-of-a-kind museum is a striking representation of luxury and individualism in the middle of the desert.

3. The Liwa Sand Dunes: Nature’s Spectacle

Liwa sand dunes are the highlight of the Liwa desert adventure. The dunes rise dramatically from the desert floor to heights of over 100 meters and stretch for kilometers in all directions. You will be captivated by the sinuous curves and shifting shades of gold created by the dunes. The dunes, particularly at sunrise and sunset, get illuminated with a playoff light and shadows that portray a magnificent picture of nature’s artistry.

4. Dune Bashing: The Heart-Pounding Thrill

The Liwa sand dunes are associated with the thrilling dune bashing. Board 4x4 vehicles and let the experienced drivers take you on an exhilarating adventure across the dunes. The Ups and downs, sharp bends, and the sheer thrill of navigating the towering dunes will leave you with an adrenaline rush and make your heart race.

The best part of dune bashing is the opportunity to take in the grandeur of the dunes from different perspectives. Photography lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will be delighted to witness the shifting colors and patterns of the dunes as you ascend and descend them.

5. Camel Trekking: A Tranquil Desert Interlude

For a more relaxing desert experience, consider camel trekking to explore the dunes. Camels, often known as the 'ships of the desert,' provide a unique viewpoint to take in the desert's beauty. Get absorbed in the desert's silence and tranquility as you slowly navigate the dunes on a camelback. This creates a striking contrast to the high-octane thrill of dune bashing.

Ride a camel and explore the Liwa sand dunes for a relaxing experience

6. Starry Nights in the Desert

The Liwa desert night sky is one of the most magical aspects of the experience. Away from the dazzling city lights, the desert offers an unparalleled celestial spectacle, especially during the clear nights when there is a fascinating display of stars, constellations, and sometimes meteor showers. Some tour operators offer stargazing experiences with telescopes and experienced guides who help crack the mysteries of the desert night sky.

7. Desert Camping: An Authentic Experience

Go camping at the Liwa Oasis to get fully absorbed into the desert experience. There are numerous campsites in the Liwa region offering an opportunity for visitors to camp under the extensive Arabian night sky. You are provided with traditional Bedouin-style tents for cozy accommodations, as well as campfires, barbecues, and cultural performances. Desert camping is a unique opportunity to connect with the desert and get immersed in its culture.

8. Sandboarding: Ride the Dunes

Adventure enthusiasts can embark on sandboarding, which is a popular thrill activity on the Liwa sand dunes. Sandboarding is similar to snowboarding, only that it’s done on sand. Bring your own sandboarding equipment or rent from the tour operators and glide down the dunes to experience the adrenaline rush as you carve down the sandy slopes. You get to experience both the thrill of the activity and the warmth of the desert sand.

9. Desert Flora and Fauna: A Natural World

Despite its barren appearance, the desert is filled with life that has adapted to survive in its hostile conditions. Look out for animals such as sand gazelles, Arabian gazelles, and a variety of bird species. Against all odds, the resilient desert flora, such as the iconic date palms of Liwa, flourish in the desert, offering a sharp contrast to the endless sand.

10. Conservation and Respect for the Desert

It is essential to keep in mind that the Liwa Sand Dunes are a vulnerable ecosystem before you set out on your expedition. It is, therefore, necessary to engage in responsible tourism that pays attention to the environment, such as avoiding littering and adhering to the local traditions and customs. In order to preserve the desert's beauty for future generations, it is imperative that you leave it in the same condition it was when you found it.


The Liwa Sand Dunes experience is a thrilling Arabian adventure offering a unique fusion of nature, culture, and exhilarating activities. Whether looking for serene camel trekking, exhilarating due bashing, or the magical night sky, Liwa has something for every type of traveler. The hidden jewel of the UAE's desert landscape is proof of the majesty and beauty of nature and the resilience of the Bedouin people who live there. The journey promises lifelong memories and a greater understanding of the grandeur and challenges of the desert.


The Liwa Desert is situated in the southern end of the UAE near the town of Liwa. To get to the Liwa desert, you can use the road from major cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It takes around 3 to 4 hours to get to Liwa from both cities by road.

The best time to go for a Liwa desert experience is during winter, from November to March when the weather is more pleasant for outdoor activities. Summers can get very hot, making it quite uncomfortable for desert activities.

Apart from dune bashing, you can engage in sandboarding, desert camping, stargazing, camel trekking, and exploring the local fauna and flora. There is a wide range of activities for all types of travelers in the Liwa desert.

Yes! It is essential to respect the local traditions and customs when visiting the Liwa desert. Dress modestly, especially when interacting with the local Bedouin communities, and always ask for permission before taking photos of people or their property.

Although you can plan for an independent tour of the Liwa desert, many visitors opt for guided tours for a safe and well-organized experience. The experienced guides are familiar with the desert terrain and can give you insights into the area's history and culture. A Tour operator takes care of accommodations and activities, ensuring a more exciting and hassle-free experience.