Rub al Khali is a vast desert region located in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula. It makes up the greatest chunk of the Arabian Desert.

It is located in a structural basin in south-eastern Saudi Arabia, with smaller areas in Yemen, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. Its total land area is around 250,000 square miles (650,000 square kilometres).

The term Rub Al Khali is an Arabic word that is referred to as Empty Quarter. Many people visit Rub Al Khali as it offers a desert adventure experience like no other. You can book a tour to Rub Al Khali UAE from Abu Dhabi with Arabiers operators. Professional tour guides famously do our Liwa desert safaris.

Hence, if you plan a tour of the Rub Al Khali Desert Location, you will find everything you are looking for here.

01. How to Get There


The Rub Al Khali crossing road between Oman and Saudi Arabia was completed in September 2021.

From the north, two roads lead to the Rub Al Khali site. The main road splits off from the E11 near Tarif.

From there, it takes about an hour to get there on a well-kept four-lane paved road that goes through Madinat Bayed.

Along the way through the Rub Al Khali are several older gas stations. On the road from Madinat Zayed, there is one modern station.

Keep an eye out for the white "fort" that used to mark ADNOC stations, as they are no longer properly marked.

arabiers By Bus

You can take a bus at the Abu Dhabi bus station and use it to get to Rub Al Khali. It's best to get there early and find out what's happening at the station.

Get Around

To get around Liwa, you'll need your car or truck. If you want to explore the dunes, you will need the help of a professional 4x4 guide.

02. Rub Al Khali Climate

Rub Al Khali weather is hyperarid because yearly precipitation is typically lower than 35 millimetres (1.4 inches). The average daily relative humidity drops from around 52 percent in January to about 15 percent from June to July.During July and August, the highest daily temperatures reach an average of 47 °C (117 °F) and can go as high as 51 °C (124 °F).

Frost has been observed, even though the daily minimum average temperature throughout January and February is 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit). The temperature can fluctuate quite a bit throughout the day.


03. Expeditions History

  • In the early 1930s, British explorers Bertram Thomas and St. John Philby went on the first known trips by non-resident explorers. The United Kingdom was home to both of these men.
  • Between 1946 and 1950, Wilfred Thesiger made several trips to the area. He mapped large parts of the Rub al Khali Dubai during these trips, including Oman's highlands. In his book Arabian Sands, which came out in 1959, he wrote about these trips.
  • In June 1950, a group from the U.S. Air Force drove from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, to central Yemen and back in trucks to collect species for the Smithsonian Institution and test ways to live in the desert.
  • In 1999, Jamie Clarke made history by being the first Westerner in the previous half-century to cross the Rub al Khali in Arabia. The journey through the desert took his group of six people and 13 camels for forty days, during which three Bedouins led them.
  • A group of researchers led by the Saudi Geological Survey set out to investigate the Rub al Khali on February 25, 2006 and made their first discovery. Eighty-nine environmentalists, geologists, and scientists from Saudi Arabia, and other countries participated in the mission.
  • The desert has yielded a wide variety of petrified organisms, in addition to meteorites and other space rocks. The expedition uncovered 31 new plant species and plant types, in addition to 24 species of birds native to the region. This discovery has scientists curious about how these organisms have managed to thrive despite the severe conditions of the Rub al Khali.
  • In March 2012, Hajar Ali made what is thought to be the first crossing of the Rub al Khali by a woman. Alex Harris, Marco Broccardo, and David Joyce led a group of South Africans across the border near Oman on the Rub Al Khali road on February 4, 2013. They were the first people to do this without help and on foot. This goal was reached at the end of a forty-day trip that started in Salalah and ended in Dubai.
    The group only stopped at three water stations along the way, and they pulled a specially made cart with all of the supplies they would need for the whole trip.
  • Alistair Humphreys is a British explorer. His first documentary film, Into the Rub Al Khali, came out in 2013. The video told the story of his trip with Leon McCarron through the Rub Al Khali desert.
  • In 2013, the South Korean explorer Young-Ho Nam led Agustin Arroyo Bezanilla and Si-Woo Lee on a trek from Salalah, Oman, to Liwa Oasis in the United Arab Emirates Emirate of Abu Dhabi across the Rub Al Khali on foot. This trip happened between February 18 and March 28.
  • After getting permission from the governments of Oman and the UAE, the crossing was done. The Dewan Ruler's Representative for the Western Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi said it was the first time anyone had crossed the Rub al Khali basin on foot. This crossing started at the border of Oman and ended in the United Arab Emirates.
  • After getting official permission from the government of Oman, the first all-female walking expedition, called "Her Faces of Change," began on December 22, 2018. A British woman named Janey McGill was in charge of the trip.
    In modern times, the first two Omani women joined McGill to walk the Oman Rub Al Khali. Baida Al Zadjali and Atheer Al Sabri were the names of these two women.
  • Tariq Al Zadjali (from Oman), Mark Vause-Jones (from Britain), and filmmaker Matthew Milan (from the United States) drove two cars full of supplies to help the team. Mark Vause-Jones was another team member.
  • The trip started in Al Hashman, which is in the Dohafar Governate of Oman. From there, the group went to the Al Wusta Region, where they went to Burkana, Maqshin, and Al Sahma. Then, they went to Abu Al Tabool, Um Al Sameem, and finally, Ibri fort, which is in the region of Oman called Al Dhahira. The team went a total of 758 kilometres over 28 days. On January 18, 2019, their journey came to an end.
  • In 2018, Deidre O'Leary and Kyle Knight walked across the Rub' al Khali from south to north, starting at the border between Saudi Arabia and Oman and ending at the border between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
    It is thought that this was the first time someone walked across the Rub Al Khali's tallest dunes from the south to the north of Saudi Arabia. The two traveled 300 kilometres in 9 days, 12 hours, and 59 minutes.
  • Max Calderan, an Italian extreme desert explorer, walked across the Rub' al Khali for the first time from west to east in 2020. He did this by going in a clockwise direction from west to east. In 18 days, he went 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) from west to east across the largest part of Rub' al Khali.

04. Camping in Rub Al Khali

Liwa Overnight Deser Safari

Liwa Overnight Desert Safari

Starting from 2200 AED

BOOK NOW Liwa Overnight Desert

This camping in the Rub Al Khali for one night will be different from any other desert camping trip you've been on. It will happen in the city of Liwa. Your experienced Arabiers safari guide will pick you up from anywhere in the United Arab Emirates and drive you in a 4x4 vehicle to the world's largest sand desert.

A trip to the Rub al Khali is one of the things that both tourists and people who live in Liwa look forward to the most. It has some of the most exciting dunes and promises campers an experience that can't be beaten.

Enjoy the thrill of driving your four-wheel drive vehicle over the tall dunes and up the Tel Moreeb, which is the world's biggest dune. As your four-wheel drive vehicle goes up and down the steep, 50-degree slope, you will almost certainly feel a rush of excitement.

You can learn about the culture of the people who live in the Rub al Khalib by going to a camel farm. Here, you'll be able to see camels that are native to the Liwa desert.

These camels have dark fur, which is different from the white camels in other parts of the UAE. This means that you should be in a few pictures with the camels from Liwa.

You should go to the campsite and make yourself comfortable to watch the sun go down. Take pleasure in the peace that a beautiful desert sunset brings. Spend the time before dinner to stay warm and cozy up close to the fire. Take part in a live BBQ as you enjoy the cool air of the desert and the sights of the desert at night.

When you go stargazing in the Rub al Khali desert, the view of the night sky is so clear that it will take your breath away. Then get comfortable in your sleeping bag and prepare for a good night's sleep.

Wake up to the sight of the sun rising above the desert horizon. The sun's warm light will bring the desert back to life. Arabic coffee, called kahwa, and a simple breakfast can give you a lot of energy.

On your way back to your cities, you will stop at a vegetable farm and the Mezairaa Fort. Both of these stops will depend on how much time you have.

05. Day visits

The experience of traveling to The Rub al Khali is very much like going on a trip to another planet. "Otherworldly" is one of the adjectives used most frequently while attempting to describe this dessert.

Once you go past the buildings, powerlines, and roadways, all left in front of you is a landscape that hasn't been touched by human hands and seems like something out of a science fiction movie.

The films "Star Wars" and "The Matrix" feature desert landscapes as background settings. Authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, Frank Herbert, and Clive Barker have all found inspiration in the desert landscape when developing their unique fantasy worlds.

A visit to Rub al Khali is the next best thing to becoming an astronaut if you want to feel as though you have left the earth as you know it behind without really having to do so.

Full day Liwa Desert Safari

Full day Liwa Desert Safari

Starting from 2200 AED

BOOK NOW Liwa Full day Desert

At Arabiers, we organize day tours to the Rub al Khali. On our full-day Liwa tour, we usually start at the Emirates National Auto Museum, which is on the way to Rub al Khali.

You can see some of the Sheikh's off-road vehicles, historic American cars, a fleet of Mercedes cars in every color of the rainbow, and the world's largest truck here. Diehard Fans of the show Top Gear might recognize the place because it was used in an episode.

When guests arrive at Rub Al Khali, they will be taken on a thrilling Dune bashing adventure in Toyota 4WD Land Cruisers. It is recommended that people don't eat or drink anything at least an hour before the experience. This will make it less likely that they will get sick during the event.

After that, we'll continue on our trip to the famous Liwa Oasis. Dune bashing is an exciting activity that can be done on dunes that are 984 feet high.

At the top of the world's tallest dune, you can try sandboarding and take photos with your camera. During your Liwa Safari trip, an expert guide will be with you the whole time, so you don't have to worry about anything.

06. Hotels in Rub Al Khali

You will stay at the hotel near Rub Al Khali during your tour. Here we have listed the best hotels in each city near Rub Al Khali.

UAE side Rub Al Khali hotels


Liwa Desert +971 2 886 2088

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara

The exquisite Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is located in the ever-changing landscape of the Rub Al Khalid Desert. It is home to one of the most luxury hotels in the world. Both day and night, it is a sight to behold.

This hotel is located in the middle of the desert, and it looks like a castle in the desert with a stunning view. The hotel has a spa, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool.

The rooms at Qasr Al Sarab are made of rich materials and have warm colors. Every room has a terrace that looks out over the desert. Sliding glass doors let people in and out. In addition to a deep soaking tub and a rain shower, they have a pillow menu.

Through the hotel's Desert Excursion Centre, you can arrange to go on desert walks, rides on camels, and "dune bashing" down big dunes. For the convenience of its younger guests, the Anantara Qasr Al Sarab has a kids' club and a tennis court. Mountain biking, mountaineering, and horseback riding are other things to do.

Guests can cool off in the outdoor pool, surrounded by sun loungers and palm trees, after a day of exploring in the desert.

Guests can also try out the traditional hammam or go to the hotel's Anantara Spa for a relaxing massage. At the Anantara, the Al Waha restaurant serves delicious Arabic food, while the Suhail restaurant serves French food.
Some lighter dishes are served at the Ghadeer restaurant on an island and can be reached by bridges. This desert resort is about 2.5 hours by car from desert safari in abu dhabi. Guests can use the free Wi-Fi and park for free.


Liwa Desert +971 2 886 2088

Resort Tilal Liwa Hotel - Madinat Zayed

This four-star resort has a beautiful view of the Rub al Khali Desert. The rooms at Tilal Liwa are big and comfortable. They are decorated in an Arabian style and have high-quality furniture. At Tilal, every room has air conditioning and a view of the grounds, the pool, or the desert.

Some of the apartments have fully furnished private balconies. Each room has a satellite TV and a bathroom with toiletries that are provided for free.

The hotel has two restaurants serving local dishes and dishes from around the world. At Al Liwan, guests can relax in a calm area with a garden view.
At Al Badiya, they can watch chefs make food in an open kitchen.
Layali has a cozy setting and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for their guests. You can also choose to have brunch on Friday.

During their stay, guests can do things like go to the thermal bath or go on a desert safari. In addition, there is the chance to go sandboarding.

Oman Side Rub Al Khali Hotels

The Oman Rub Al Khali has no tourist-oriented hotels or facilities because of its harsh environment.

Tourists can, however, camp for one or two nights on the magnificent dunes of Dhofar, under the starry Dhofar sky. Tent camping is available from tour operators.

Most businesses hire nearby Bedouins to prepare traditional Omani cuisine for visitors' meals. Other businesses cook their food.

Saudi Arabia side Rub Al Khali Hotels

There are no tourist-oriented hotels or facilities in Saudi Arabia's Rub Al Khali because of the hostile environment.

There aren't many tour companies in Riyadh, but travelers can camp out for a night or two on the beautiful dunes beneath the starry night sky.

06. Tours of Rub Al Khali from Oman

The other place you can depart from apart from Abu Dhabi to visit Rub Al Khali is Oman Salalah. It is ideal because Rub Al Khali tours are operated from Salalah.

You will first take a flight to Salalah (Salalah International Airport, IATA: SLL). Then, drive north on increasingly rough and poorly maintained roads until you reach the Rub Al Khali desert location.

Camels and 4x4s are two ways to get around in the Rub Al Khali. With four-wheel drive, you can go further and see more, and driving through the dunes is very exciting.

On the other hand, riding a camel is like going back in time and experiencing what early explorers did.

Visit Salalah and the Jebel Samhan Nature Reserve

You can also visit Salalah and the Jebel Samhan Nature Reserve during your visit to the Rub al Khali.

It is a convenient location for exploring the coastline and beaches of the Indian Ocean in Oman.

Explore the tropical orchards surrounding the town and the frankincense trees that blanket the mountains to the island's interior.

Walk the trails that wind through the Jebel Samhan Nature Reserve if you're interested in getting some exercise on your feet.

You may go on hikes here that take you through verdant wadis, along high plateaus with views of the entire reserve and past quaint little settlements. The nature reserve is home to a diverse array of native animal species. There is a possibility that you will see a hyena, porcupine, gazelle, and Nubian ibex. In addition, it is one of the few remaining homes of the wild Arabian leopard.

1. Rub Al Khali And Lost City Of Ubar

You can drive to the Nejd area of Dhofar through the Qara Mountains. The most beautiful and famous place in Dhofar, known for its untouched and magical dunes.

We give it our highest recommendation among Salalah Tours and Oman Day Tours. It will give you a memorable experience you can talk about with your family when you get home.

We stop for a short break in Thumrait, which is known for being a town of Bedouin people. We move through the scary Rub Al Khali also called the Rub Al Khali. Several very tall dunes in this area, some of which are over 250 meters high.

We leave this place and drive to Ubar, a long-lost city. A myth says that the sands of the desert ate up Ubar. It disappeared into thin air, which led to the story that Atlantis was in the sands.

The discovery of this once-buried metropolis, which was made possible by satellite images, shows how important the work that Sir Ranulph Fiennes and a group of explorers did in 1982 was.

We stop at some frankincense trees on the way back to Salalah. This is one of the Oman Desert trips that get the most praise.

2. Sunset Desert Safari at Rub Al Khali Desert & Lost City of Ubar from Salalah

This trip to watch the sunset is undoubtedly one of the best trips in the world. Even if you spend a whole day in the south of Oman, you might not see the entire "Rub Al Khali" desert, the largest desert in the world and spread across several Middle Eastern countries.
In the village of Shisr, you can see the historical site of Ubar. Ubar is also called The Lost City, Atlantis of the Sand, the City of Pillars, and the Atlantis of the Sand.
This city was important for the trade of frankincense, which was once worth as much as gold and silver. On the natural reserve at Wadi Dawkah, you can also see frankincense tree plantations that cover five square kilometers.
This place is on the UNESCO World Heritage List because it is a centre for the frankincense trade. The trip will go through the Al Qara Mountains, which offer stunning views of the city of Salalah, in 4x4 vehicles. Before we take you where you need to go, we'll serve you dinner.

3. Bedouin Camp Night Stay in Rub Al Khali Desert (Rub Al Khali) from Salalah 4x4

This mystical journey to the north of Salalah City starts in the afternoon when your hotel or the airport in Salalah City picks you up. From there, you'll be able to get to the city's north.

DAY 1 OF 2: Using a four-wheel drive vehicle, travelers can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Al Qara Mountains on their way to the long-lost city of Ubar, also called the "Atlantis of the Sand."

This place has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. After walking around the historical site, we head to the Rub al Khali, also spelled Rab al Khali, to explore the largest sand desert in the world by driving through it and hiking on its amazing dunes.

You'll spend the night at the Bedouin camp, eat dinner, and watch the sunset in the desert. Look at the patterns of stars in the night sky.

DAY 2 OF 2: After spending the night in the Bedouin camp, you will wake up in the middle of the desert, which is the largest sand desert in the world.

After breakfast, you will leave the desert and head to Wadi Dawkah, a natural park with some of the most famous frankincense trees in the world. It is on the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. First thing in the morning, you'll be taken to your hotel or the airport.

4. Group Desert Safari in Rub Al Khali Dunes (Rub Al Khali) Salalah, Oman

This amazing trip takes you from the present to the past and from city life to the Arabic way of life in the desert. You can only have this adventure if you live in a fairy tale. You will leave the city and go to the desert, where you will learn about the Arab Bedouins' culture and way of life.

The desert is almost like a different world. The trip through the desert is very different from the one taken by road. Because of this, we've given you desert drivers a lot of experience. The world's tallest dunes are in the Rub al Khali Desert. Seeing them will give you memories that will last a lifetime.

The best parts of the trip are sandboarding, driving ATVs across dunes, and meeting camels. You will also have the chance to go on an excursion to The Lost City of Ubar, which will take you back in time.

A trip to the Frankincense Trees Park in Wadi Dawkah is also part of the package. This trip is only available twice a year, in the fall from October to December and in spring from January to April. From May to September, which is our off-season month, this tour doesn't happen.

5. Rub Al Khali desert adventure (Wadi Dawka + Ubar ruins UNESCO)

At Arabiers offer you the most fun and exciting private tour of the Rub al Khali desert that you can get right now.

You will explore desert areas with dunes of different sizes and shapes. Feel the rush of excitement as our skilled drivers take you for a spin in one of our terrain vehicles on the dunes. They'll make the most of what the vehicle can do.

After that, you'll be able to climb the dunes on your own by putting your feet in the moving sand. As the sun slowly goes below the horizon, you can enjoy the beautiful views of the sea of sand from the tops of the dunes.

If you get there early enough, the sun setting over the dunes will give you the best chance to take pictures of the desert.

On your way to the desert, you will stop at Wadi Dawka, a valley in the desert. In this valley, there are a lot of very valuable frankincense trees that produce frankincense drops.

From there, you'll keep going down the Frankincense route until you reach the ruins of the lost city of Ubar. The ruins show that the city had a golden age when it was a center of incense trade.