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Liwa Morning Desert Safari

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Liwa Overnight Deser Safari

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Full day Liwa Desert Safari

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Luxury Liwa Overnight Safari

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Liwa Desert Luxury Private Desert Dinner

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Liwa Sunset Champagne

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All you need to know

01. The Empty Quarter Desert


As the world continues to develop, one of the places that still stay true to its origins is the Empty Quarter desert with its infinite dunes and untouched beauty. More than 7 decades ago, before oil was discovered in UAE, the famous explorer Wilfred Thesiger traversed the sands of Liwa. His book, the Arabian Sands in 1959 mentioned the beauty that emanates from the silence and the towering dunes that add to the personality of the empty Quarter. The only thing that has changed within these 70 years is that Liwa is more explorable now than it was back then. Enjoy a 90 minute drive from Abu Dhabi to off-road amidst the famous dunes, walk through the lush Liwa Oasis or stargaze under the Liwa desert's unpolluted sky. A trip to UAE would be incomplete without a visit to one of the world's most exalted terrains.

02. Travelling to Liwa

Self-driving to Liwa

If your plan is to just visit Liwa desert without off-roading across the dunes you can drive there by normal car. However, there are no Liwa-based operates that offer off-roading experiences to the Empty Quarter. If your main goal is to off-road to the Empty Quarter, it is advisable to book an off-roading experience from Dubai or Abu Dhabi.


Travelling from How far to – Tal Mor'eb How many minutes
From Abu Dhabi (AUH Airport) 242 km 2 h 25 min
From Dubai (DXB Airport) 362 km 3 h 30 min
From Hatta (Hatta Fort Hotel) 476 km 4 h 40 min
From Ras Al Khaima (RAK Airport) 458 km 4 h 23 min
From Sharjah (SHJ Airport) 386 km 3 h 43 min
From Ajman (Mall Ajman) 392 km 3 h 51 min
From Fujairah (Fujairah Beach) 469 km 4 h 34 min
From Al Ain 338 km 3 h 11 min

Tour Operators & 4x4 Transfers

There are certain reputed tour operators and guides that offer morning, afternoon, evening and overnight Liwa Safari experiences. These operators also provide pick up from all parts of UAE.

Public Transports

arabiers From Abu Dhabi


Bus services are offered from Abu Dhabi's Central bus stand near Al Wahda Mall to Liwa's Mezairaa Bus station. Operating times from Abu Dhabi are 9.20 am and 9.00 pm which reach Liwa at 12.49 pm and 12.29 am respectively. Buses leave Liwa's Mezairaa station at 5.10 am and 4.15 pm, reaching Abu Dhabi at 8.38 am and 7.43 pm respectively. A one way ticket costs 30 AED.

Timings are subject to change and please make sure you call toll free number of AD Trafic department, 80088888 to double confirm the timings.

arabiers From Dubai

There are no direct buses from Dubai to Liwa. You can board a bus to Abu Dhabi from Dubai and then go to Liwa by bus. There are 3 buses operating from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

  • E100 - Al Ghubaiba Bus Station to Abu Dhabi central bus station (Main station near Al Wahda mall)
  • E101 - IBN Battuta Bus Station to Mussafah Shabiya Bus Station, Abu Dhabi
  • E102 - IBN Battuta Bus Station to Mussafah Shabiya Bus Station, Abu Dhabi

Timings are subject to change and please make sure you call toll free number of AD Trafic department, 80088888 to double confirm the timings.

Even if you take a bus from Abu Dhabi to Liwa Mezairaa station you can visit the major city attractions and other event venues. Mentioned below are the popular Liwa attractions, their distance from Mezairaa station and the cost of transport from the station to the attractions.

arabiers Taxi


Taxis are available at the bus station. But they are costly because most attractions are far from the bus station. Budget Travelers who prefer travelling by local taxi or buses are advised to opt for rental or book a transfer with a local tour operator to save money.

Mentioned below are the taxi fares in Liwa for the timings 6.00 am to 10.00 pm and 10.00 pm to 6.00 am.

6 am to 10 pm
1.82 AED per km
Flag-fall 5 AED
Booking 4 AED
10 pm to 6 am
1.82 AED per km
Flag-fall 5.5 AED
Booking 5 AED

03. Where to stay in Liwa


Liwa Desert +971 2 886 2088

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort By Anantara

Inspired by a desert mirage, the Anantara Qasr Al Sarab is nestled in the midst of the Liwa desert far away from civilization. From its arabesque exterior structure to the interior details, everything will transport you to a typical desert fairytale setting. Apart from offering stunning views of the desert, the resort offers gym, outdoor pool, tennis court and spa facilities. The interior features mellow tones and lush textures to bring out the luxury desert feel. The resort's many suites are equipped with sliding glass doors that overlook the desert panorama. Some of the other luxuries on offer are a rain shower, deep bath and pillow menu. The adventurous should drop by the resort's Desert Excursion Centre organises off-roading, camel trekking, desert walks, archery, mountain biking and more. Those who are vacationing with kids can make use of the kids club to take some time off from parenting and enjoy a romantic evening in the desert, experience a rejuvenating massage in the Anantara Spa or take a dip in the resort's vast outdoor pool.


Liwa Desert +971 2 886 2088

Resort Tilal Liwa Hotel - Madinat Zayed

A worthy contender in Liwa's list of top accomodations, don't think less of it because of it's 4 star badge. Other than the breathtaking views of the Empty Quarter, the resort's infinity pool and sunbathing terrace are a hit among it's guests. The spacious air-conditioned rooms of Tilal Liwa resort sport an Arabesque decor with certain rooms having furnished balconies that overlook either the desert, the pool or the garden. All rooms are equipped with satellite TV and toiletries. The resort has 2 restaurants that serve local and international fare. The Al Liwan exudes a laid-back atmosphere where diners can enjoy views of the lush garden. For those who enjoy live cooking, Al Badiya's open kitchen will be a hit. Other activities on offer include sand boarding, desert safaris and steam baths.

04. Comparing UAE Deserts

Deserts Unique and special for Facilities and special resorts How far from Abu
Dhabi City (From
grand mosque)
How far from
Dubai city
(Dubai mall)
Liwa Desert
  • Part of the Empty Quarter
  • Part of the Empty Quarter
  • Home for reputed Qasr Al Sarab desert resort
  • No desert camps
2 hours 3 hours
Al Faya Desert
  • Mountain backdrop with Red sand
  • Home to quad biking spots
  • Dune buggy spots and a few base camps
2.5 hours 1 hours
Al Khatim desert
  • Home to numerous mega dunes
  • Abu Dhabi's most popular desert
  • Famous for the Arabian Nights village
  • Various desert camps
40 minutes 2 hours
Al Awir
  • The hosting place for evening dinner
  • Entertainment show for Dubai Desert Safari
  • Houses various desert camps offering a range of qualities
40 minutes 2 hours
  • The spot for Dune driving
  • Quad biking and dune buggy riding offered in Dubai desert safari
  • Numerous dune buggy
  • Quad biking spots
  • No resorts
37 minutes 2 hours
Mlehia desert
  • The spot for overnight stay
  • Dune driving
  • Quad biking
  • Dune buggy riding for Sharjah desert safari guests
  • The Mleiha Archaeological Centre and Mleiha desert camp are located here
1 hours 2.5 hours
Al wathba desert
  • Hosting ground for Camel Racing Festival
  • Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival
  • Al Wathba Fossil Dunes
  • Al Wathba cycling track
  • Al Wathba Wetland Reserve & horse riding
  • The Jumeirah Al Wathba desert resort is situated here
40 minutes 2 hours
Dubai desert conservation reserve
  • The first national park in UAE to encounter the Arabian Oryx.
  • Al Maha luxury desert resort and tour operators (Alpha tours, Arabian Adventures, Lama tours and Platinum heritage) are situated here.
2 hours 40 minutes
Liwa Desert
  • Part of the Empty Quarter
  • Part of the Empty Quarter
  • Home for reputed Qasr Al Sarab desert resort
  • No desert camps
2 hours 3 hours

Facts about the liwa desert accidents

  • Speed can sound fun but it is actually quite deadly, especially in a desert terrain. Most advertisements display individuals making sudden manouevers and drifting their dune buggies, quad bikes or 4x4. These moves are performed by professionals and should not be attempted by novices who aren't familiar with the terrain.
  • Some desert guides in Liwa tend to drive recklessly. If you come across any you are advised to immediately abort the trip for your own safety and inform your tour operator or lodge a complaint with the tourism police at the numbers +97128002626 and +97125127777
  • If you are experiencing the desert safari with kids make sure to buckle up the kids in a Baby seat during Nature Desert Drive sessions and keep them in your line of site at all times.

Basic safety guidelines for Liwa desert

Camping in the Liwa desert might seem like a walk in the park but there are so many safety guidelines that have to be followed to ensure the safety of the campers and the environment. To avoid any fire related accidents make sure your guide brings along a fire extinguisher and first aid kits. Heaters and and lights should be placed at a distance from the tent material and should not be left switched on when the camper is not inside the tent. Camping novices and solo travelers are advised to join camping groups whereas advanced campers can set camp a bit further as long as they are aware of all measures and travel with a group of friends who are also educated in camping related practices.

The tourism police Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Department of Transport advise all visitors to drive their quad bikes or vehicles safely. Anyone who fails to do so will be facing fines. Visitors who are driving are also advised to refrain from using their phones or avoid any driving distractions while driving. Keeping a safe distance between the other vehicles, driving at a safe speed within the mentioned limits,using low-beam lights and maintaining a clean glass/mirror are some of the other safety tips given out by the Abu Dhabi department of Transport.

Individuals taking part in quad biking are required to take the assistance of an expert when choosing their quad bike. They should also make sure to wear a sturdy helmet and drive in designated areas. Performing stunts with the quad bike, driving fast and when tired are all No-Nos.

06. Luxury Liwa Desert Safaris

Currently, all Arabiers' Luxury Liwa desert safaris take place at the renowned Qasr Al Sarab desert resort in Liwa. The resort is a perfect blend between luxury and cultural beauty that seamlessly integrates with the desert environment. The location is ideal for families, couples and solo travelers. This Safari begins with a pickup from any corner of UAE. The first activity will be dune driving in the dunes of the empty Quarter. You will also stop by the Liwa Oasis and a Liwa camel farm where you can see the Liwa camel species. The second part of the tour begins when your guide drives you to the Qasr Al Sarab desert resort where you can choose to stay the night or enjoy a delicious dinner.

Click here to see Virtual tour of Qasr Al Sarab
These are the Luxury Liwa desert safaris that are offered currently.

Qasr Al Sarab desert resort Private Desert Dinner & Liwa Safari by 4x4


The UAE is dominated by a desert climate and a journey to the Liwa desert needs to be well planned with the climate in mind. You need to meticulously research which months and days are ideal for a pleasant Liwa desert experience and plan your trip accordingly. Summer in UAE which starts from May and goes till September is characterized by increased humidity levels and hot winds that result in unbearable heat in the Liwa desert.

  • 'When to visit Liwa?' is a question asked by many with a simple answer. Climate-wise, winter months from September to April (take a look at the temperature chart below) are good for not just desert safaris but all kinds of outdoor activities. However, hotel rates and flight tickets are very costly during these months. If you are a budget traveler then the best time to visit will be the summer months as hotel fares and flight rates are at its cheapest but the climate will be unbearably hot. You can bag a few good deals at the end of April or end of September as temperature is manageable and so are the hotel fares and flight rates.
  • If you don't like much crowds in the sightseeing spots and wish for a low crowd level in the desert too then plan your safari on a weekday. Desert safaris in the weekends (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) cater not only to tourists but also local Emiratis and expats residing in the UAE.

08. Events in Liwa

Liwa's most famous and anticipated event is the Liwa Tel Moreeb Festival that is attended by the owners of the region's most powerful four wheelers and bikes. The festival consists of many activities like drag racing, bike races,Motorcross track challenge, horse racing, camel racing, freestyle drifting,classic cars competition and more. The showstopper of the event is the climb to the summit of the world's largest sand dune, the Tel Moreeb dune. It's name translates to 'the terrifying mountain' which is a fitting name for its 300 meter height and 50° angle.

  • If your visit to UAE falls between December 26 and January 11 then you can experience this adventurous event along with your desert safari. You will visit the Rub Al Khali desert during the morning hours. After lunch, you can enjoy the event until dinner time.
  • Avoid attending the event on the opening days as the crowd level is high. If you want to enjoy watching the activities with a manageable crowd level attend the events between 5th and 8th of January.
  • If you are able to plan your visit to Tel modern festival on New Year's eve then you can also see some fireworks along with the event activities.

Other famous events in Liwa

Liwa Dates Festival

The Liwa date festival aims to preserve an integral part of the Emirati heritage, Palm trees and Ratan(half ripe dates). The festival is a good place to spectate popular competitions and activities that showcase Emirati heritage. At present, the Liwa dates festival is famous and is attended by not just individuals but also companies that are passionate about this aspect of Emirati heritage.

Annually, from July 17 to July 27

Al Gharbia Watersports Festival

Hosted in a vast expanse of 20,000 square metres, the Al Gharbia watersports festival has many unique activities lined up. Some of the activities are the traditional Dhow race, beach football, parachute sailing, rowing rice, kayak boat race and more. It is also when the UAE sailing National championship (Regatta race) and kite surfing competition take place. It also hosts many outstanding Emirati heritage activities that have a close tie to the marine habitat.

Annually, from April 21 to April 30

09. List of Movies Shot in Liwa

Liwa, a part of the Rub Al Khali or the Empty Quarter, boasts a picturesque gold backdrop that has been used in numerous chartbuster films. The Liwa Desert can be any setting you want it to be, a backdrop for a convoy of stunning cars, a landscape from an intergalactic planet or a picturesque spot to try a jump or two. The timeless beauty of Liwa has been captured and valued by these films making it all the more exciting to visit this Desert setting.

Movies Shot in Liwa

Star Wars Ep. VII: The Force Awakens (2015)

Movies Shot in Liwa

Fast and Furious 7 (2015)

Movies Shot in Liwa

Mission impossible 7 (2019)

Movies Shot in Liwa

Dune (2020)

Liwa Desert Safari

Fast and Furious 7 (2015)

Anyone who doesn't know about this adventurous and zooming movie series has to definitely be living under a rock. Many scenes of the box office loving Fast and Furious 7 movie were shot in UAE's favourite attractions like the Jumeirah Etihad tower, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi corniche and more. Staring Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in lead roles,one specific scene though was taken in the golden backdrop of the Liwa Desert. A fleet of exotic luxury cars driven by Brian(Paul Walker), Dominique(vin diesel) and their gang, winding through the bronze sand dunes of the Liwa Desert.