Explore Liwa Now - Free guide to 18 Things to do in Liwa

2019 November updated


Liwa is an exciting destination with amazing & breath taking things to do. Our list of things to do in Liwa, it’s a perfect guide giving more information about free activities, interesting desert experiences, favorite Liwa attractions, activities ideal for kids and some other details that will helpful in planning your Liwa visit.



Free things to do in Liwa

1. Feel alive in the Empty Quarter - Liwa Oasis


Visit one of the largest palm tree oasis in Middle East region. A vast desert spanning a total area of 650,000 square kilometers, the Empty Quarter is a magnificent sea of dunes that has been untouched by mankind. Situated at the northern border of the Empty Quarter is the Liwa Oasis which was occupied by the Bani Yas tribe. The underground freshwater resources in Liwa have enabled it to be a leading cultivator of dates in the UAE & largest palm tree oasis. The contrast of lush date palms with the rolling sand dunes of the Empty quarter will be a memory etched into your mind. Amazing place for BBQ, lunch gathering and friends picnic.

2. Climb UAE’s Tallest Sand Dune - Tel Moreeb


Tel Moreeb

Tel Moreeb is evidently UAE’s tallest sand dune and one of the world’s biggest dune hill to climb which is no surprise why its name translates to English as the ‘scary mountain’. The summit is a bit tough to reach but the view of the uninterrupted desert is breathtaking. If you enjoy adventure

3. Observe black camels (Camel farm)


Camel Farm

When we speak of the desert we immediately think of camels, don’t we? Well, Liwa oasis has its own breed of camels known as the Liwa camels. Drop by for free at any of the Bedouin-run camel farms on your way to Moreeb dune in the Liwa desert. Unlike their Abu Dhabi counterparts, Liwa camels originated from Saudi Arabia and are black in color. You might be one of the lucky ones if you get to view black camels passing in herds across the red sand of Liwa desert. While at the farm, why not try out some fresh camel milk, if you are lucky to get hold of the owner or the worker at the farm

4. Visit a real-life sand castle (Fort Dhafeer)


One of the many forts that were built across the oasis to safeguard from invading tribes, the Dhafeer fort looks like a sand castle in reality. The fort doesn’t offer much in terms of history, apart from giving you a good idea of the mud-brick architecture that was at large in the 19th century. The highlight of this attraction is climbing up the stairs to the terrace which will bring you face-to-face with a heightened view of the never-ending sand dunes that seem to go beyond the horizon.

5. Watch an exciting desert race - Liwa Sports Festival / Moreeb Hill Climb event 2019


The Liwa sports festival goes on for 9 days and is a magnet for expert four-wheel drivers and desert bikers. It also celebrates the UAE heritage for a week and offers participants and visitors with camping facilities in the Moreeb dune. Events of this festival include camel racing, horse racing, drag racing, bike racing and motocross track challenges. The best part of the festival is the bike and car races that have to climb the 300-meter-high Moreeb Dune with a staggering 50-degree incline.

6. Liwa Dates Festival 2020 - Taste Emirati Ratab


An initiative taken to preserve one of the many famous aspects of Emirati heritage, the date palms and the half ripe date fruit obtained from it locally known as Ratab. The date festival of Liwa is famously recognized as a unique event for individuals and companies passionate about the Emirati date trees. In addition to showcasing all things date-related it also is an excellent chance to learn more about the local handicrafts, the Emirati customs and traditions. The 2019 event is over, but you can experience it on 2020.

7. Al Gharbia Water sports Festival


With a prize fund of 4 million AED, the Al Gharbia watersports festival is a hub of thrilling water activities, theatre competitions and water-related heritage activities. Held in a site that expands over 20,000 square meters, some of the activities you can witness the rowing race, sailing races, kite surfing competition, Kayak race, swimming race and parachute sailing. Local activities like the traditional dhow race and the UAE sailing National championship are also held. Additionally, there are also competitions related to team sports like beach football and volleyball.

8. Desert walk


A walk is always a way of connecting with nature and always brings about a soothing and invigorating feel. A walk through the Liwa desert will give you a chance to observe the mighty sand dunes beneath your feet and the desert wind on your face. However, make sure to maintain a safe distance from your car and always keep it at eye-level. Since you can easily get lost in the desert it is best to stop by near a camel farm and take a walk.

Tackle the Empty Quarter

Talks of Arabia conjures up images of rolling deserts and camels, both of which are abundant in the Rub Al Khali and is untouched by humans. Spanning an area of 650,000 square kilometers and intimidatingly known as the Empty Quarter, the Rub Al Khali is bordered by Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Tackle the sea of sand with experienced Liwa desert experts and realize that the gigantic dunes are not that intimidating after all. Take a look at the tours that you can explore the Empty quarter with.

9. Champagne on top of a dune – Liwa Dune Sunset Champagne


Get out of the Liwa city into untouched expanses of golden desert and witness the splendid magnificence of the Rub Al Kahli. Explore the rise and fall of the dunes with a dune bashing experience. Next, observe a desert sunset sitting on the summit of the highest dune and toast to the beauty of the desert with a glass of champagne.

10. Camp overnight in the Empty quarter dunes


Camping in the world’s largest sand desert is bound to be an out of the world experience you can tick off your to do list. The Liwa Overnight Camping tour will make your visit to the Empty Quarter more memorable with invigorating dune bashing sessions, views of the intimidating Tel Moreeb dunes and an overnight stay to experience the coolness of this virgin land.

11. Self-Drive in the highest dunes of Rub Al Khali


Being driven to the desert is exciting but driving to the desert will give you a completely new feel. Get to know the highs and lows of the towering sand dunes as you maneuver your way through the sea of sand with the Liwa experienced off road guide


Are you planning a visit to Liwa? Get n touch with Arabiers’ Liwa destination experts to get a variety of itinerary ideas, a guide to plan your Liwa visit and insider tips of Liwa’s many attractions.

Planning a trip to Liwa? Speak to Arabiers' Liwa destination experts to get more liwa insights and guide to plan your Liwa trip & ask for more itinerary ideas.



Staying in Qasr Al Sarab & things to do around Qasr Al Sarab


Step foot into one of the desert world’s best hotels, the Qasr Al Sarab desert resort by Anantara. Situated right in the middle of the empty quarter with no connection to the outside world, the resort is only 200 kilometers away from Abu Dhabi. The resort is nothing less than a mirage taken right out of a fairytale and set itself ideally where no man has ever visited. This is your chance to connect with the desert and revel in the mysticism of this prominent setting.

If you have booked a stay in Qasr Al Sarab Resort, then your itinerary will definitely be a busy one.

12. Liwa Dune Safari


A desert drive is an exciting way to explore the desert. Get comfortable in a Qasr Al Sarab 4x4 vehicle most suitable for this kind of exciting adventure. Let your guide maneuver you across the picturesque desert’s dunes. Get to know more about the desert habitat, the animals that inhabit it and the plants that call it their home. If you want to challenge yourself, then the dune bashing activity will take your adrenaline to new levels.

13. Liwa camel trekking


Explore the desert on the back of one of its oldest residents, the camel. Camels have been a mode of transport for the desert Bedouins and now you can enjoy the thrill of it. Choose from a variety of treks to suit your liking.

14. Bike across the liwa dunes


Did you know that there is a special vehicle to ride the dunes? The fat bike is a bicycle that stands true to its name. The fat tires make riding across the Empty Quarter dunes a manageable feat. This adrenaline pumping experience can be enjoyed by beginner and expert fat bikers.

15. Watch hunting companions in action


Falcons and Salukis have been companions of the ancient UAE Bedouins for thousands of years. Both species have inspired many Arabic poems and have become national symbols. The falcon’s agility and sharp sight along with the saluki’s speed and stamina have made them the perfect hunting partners. This show will teach you about the hunting techniques using these animals, a saluki race and more.

16. Desert Moonlit exploration


If you happen to visit the desert during the full moon, then you have come face-to-face with an amazing opportunity to explore the desert scenery. Choose your pick from a moonlight desert walk, a horse riding or a desert drive.

17. Sand boarding on highest dunes


Liwa Oasis

Challenge yourself to conquer the sand dunes of the Empty Quarter with a sand board. Explore the sand dunes in the vicinity of the resort; climb up the dunes and come sliding back down. Are you ready for an exciting adventure?

18. Qasr Al Sarab desert resort Private Desert Dinner

Qasr Al Sarab desert resort Private Desert Dinner

Honeymoon to Abu Dhabi ? Romantic weekend ? Book an authentic Private Desert Dinner at Qasr Al Sarab desert resort. Enjoy luxury private dinner experience set by professional chef and served by private butler. Qasr Al Sarab desert resort F&B team take special interest making an special dinner experience. You are free to choose the menu you wanted with the three options, Levantine menu (Arabian foods), Mediterranean menu or healthy menu

Private Transport to and from Qasar Al Sarab resort

Visiting Qasar Al Sarab could be a gift for your loved ones or a surprise hotel stay for your special day. Travelling by your own car to resort might be an ideal thing for those who live in UAE. For those who are on holiday or making a surprise weekend gateway, you might be wanting to know how much it would be costing to have private transport to and from Qasar Al Sarab resort. Below we put a price list that might help you to decide weather you going to take a texi or a private transfer

Private Transport to and from Qasar Al Sarab resort Price list - AED

One way Transfer Saloon Car or Previa Land Cruiser 4x4
From Abu Dhabi to Qasar Al Sarab 500 700
From Al Ain Qasar Al Sarab 600 800
From Dubai Qasar Al Sarab 800 900
From Ras Al Khima Qasar Al Sarab 900 1000
From Sharjah Qasar Al Sarab 700 900

Private Transport to and from Qasar Al Sarab resort Price list - USD

One way Transfer Saloon Car or Previa Land Cruiser 4x4
From Abu Dhabi to Qasar Al Sarab 136 190
From Al Ain Qasar Al Sarab 163 217
From Dubai Qasar Al Sarab 217 245
From Ras Al Khima Qasar Al Sarab 245 272
From Sharjah Qasar Al Sarab 190 245
* Approximate rates calculated from central point of each cities

Liwa Events Calendar - Updates Coming Soon

    November 2019
    Liwa Urban Cycling Sportive

    Liwa Urban Cycling Sportive

    NOV 01
    EVENT LOCATION CONTACT INFO Liwa Hotel Tel: +97124088999/+97124088998
    December 2019
    Liwa Sport Festival 2019

    Liwa Sport Festival 2019

    DEC 27 JAN 04
    EVENT LOCATION CONTACT INFO Tel Moreeb, Liwa Tel: +97150666899
2019 Liwa Events Guide
    December 2019
    Liwa International Festival / Moreeb Dune 2019

    Liwa International Festival / Moreeb Dune 2019

    DEC 28 JAN 03
    EVENT LOCATION CONTACT INFO Liwa Oasis, Al Gharbia Tel: +971 5 066 6899
    February 2020
    Liwa Challenge Master Trek - Endurance race runners events

    Liwa Challenge Master Trek - Endurance race runners events

    2020 February (To be announced)

    DEC 27 JAN 04
    EVENT LOCATION CONTACT INFO Liwa Oasis, Al Dhafra Tel: +971 5 066 6899
    April 2020
    Al Gharbia Watersports Festival

    Al Gharbia Watersports Festival

    APR 21 APR 30

    (Yet to be confirmed)

    EVENT LOCATION CONTACT INFO Mirfa beach Tel: +971 5 066 6899
    July 2020
    Liwa Dates Festival 2020

    Liwa Dates Festival 2020

    JULY 17 JULY 27

    (Yet to be confirmed)

    EVENT LOCATION CONTACT INFO Liwa Dates Festival, Al Dhafra Tel: +971 5 066 6899

Other Hotels in Liwa

The Liwa Hotel

The Liwa hotel was the first hotel to pop up in the region. It is also the oldest and is in an excellent location in the heart of the oasis. Pros of this hotel are its well-maintained rooms and the unbeatable views of the Empty Quarter.



The Western Hotel in Madinat Zayed

A brand new 4-star addition to Liwa’s portfolio of hotels, the Western Hotel Madinat Zayed has good amenities and is budget-friendly. But it is a bit far from the Empty Quarter.



The Tilal Liwa Hotel

A better competitor to Liwa Hotel with better rooms and a good pool, the views this hotel offers of the desert are amazing. Although it is in a bit urbanized location it is a good choice and gives you the best of both worlds; amenities and views of the desert.



Frequently asked questions by first time visitors


Yes and most of the UAE residence visiting Liwa camping and making BBQ Dinner or stopping for lunch at liwa oasis

1. No, Liwa is part of Abu Dhabi Emirate which is one of the city of United Arab Emirates (one of the 7 emirates that make UAE) & there is Municipal region called Al Gharbia & it function under Abu Dhabi government, so you do not need a visa or boarder pass to go to liwa

There are no much liwa tours that operated by bus or sharing basis. Mostly it is private tours

If you are visiting liwa by yourself it would be hard to spot the animals in the desert. At the camel farm you may spot donkey & goats. But if you are staying in Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara there is a tour set called “Animal experience” it would be great if you are visiting liwa with young children’s, the guided tour included camel farm, Arabian horse stables, animal park farm with a donkey, rabbits and sheep, and falcon house shared with Saluki hunting dog.

moreeb dune festival take place at an ideal location for visitors and simply navigate through your Google map and facility has wash room, enough safe parking, restaurants and security during the events. Abu Dhabi is world 4th safest city and liwa too, during the event all facilities monitored and maintained by government. Check out below map and see the facilities around the moreeb festival
Liwa sports Club

Source : Al Gharbia sports club

It is indeed very rare to spot Arabian Oryx in liwa area and we have no record

As long as you are having an on arrival visa or you have obtained prepaid visa to enter UAE you are free to visit liwa. Book with any tour operator in UAE that have expertise drivers & guides

Places to visit in Liwa by bus

Bus Services to Liwa


From Abu Dhabi

From Abu Dhabi central bus station (Main station near Al Wahda mall) to Liwa, Mezairaa Bus Station bus service been offered. 2 timings from Abu Dhabi & 2 timings from Liwa. From Abu Dhabi, 9.20 am leaving and reaching 12.49 pm & 9 pm leaving and reaching 12.29 am. And from Liwa Mezairaa Bus Station 5.10 am leaving and reaching back Abu Dhabi at 8.38 am & 4.15 pm leaving from Liwa & reaching Abu Dhabi 7.43 pm (30 AED per way ticket)

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

From Dubai

From Dubai there is no direct bus to Liwa, there are 3 buses from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Once you reach Abu Dhab you gotta take another bus from Abu Dhabi to Liwa

  • 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 Dubai RTA call center toll free number 800900 to double confirm the timings

So you can take a bus from Abu Dhabi to Liwa, get down at Liwa, Mezairaa Bus Station bus, checkout the city attractions and visit major events spot. Here are the distance from bus station (Liwa, Mezairaa Bus Station ) to Liwa attractions & events locations with rates


  • To Moreeb dune festival facility - 26 km & Approx 30 minutes ride (Will be costing approx 55-60 AED)
  • To Liwa Oasis - 82 km & Approx 60 minutes ride (160-170 AED)
  • To Liwa fort - 82 km & Approx 60 minutes ride (160-170 AED)

Usually texi's are there at the bus station but if you are budget traveler you might be thinking to go by bus & local texi to save, but texi might cost higher since the current bus station is away from the Liwa city attractions. We can recommend you to rent a car or look out for a transfer with the local tour operator.


Here is the charges of Liwa texi Service. Charges based on 2 timings. 6 am to 10 pm & 10 pm to 6 am.


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