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Explore Liwa Now - Free guide to 19 Things to do in Liwa.

2023 January updated

things to do in liwa

Liwa is an exciting destination with amazing & breathtaking 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, favourite Liwa attractions, activities ideal for kids and some other details that will be helpful in planning your Liwa visit.

Free things to do in Liwa

01 Feel alive in the Empty Quarter - Liwa Oasis

Visit one of the largest palm tree oasis in the Middle East region. A vast desert spanning a total area of 650,000 square kilometres, the Empty Quarter is a magnificent sea of dunes that have 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 gatherings and friends picnic.

Checkout our Liwa desert safari guide 2024 to explore & experience empty the quarter desert

02 Climb UAE's Tallest Sand Dune - Tel Moreeb

Tel Moreeb
Tel Moreeb

Tel Moreeb is UAE's tallest sand dune and one of the world’s biggest dune hills 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 the adventure.

03 Observe black camels (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 colour. You might be one of the lucky ones if you get to view black camels passing in herds across the red sand of the 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

04 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.

05 Watch an exciting desert race - Liwa Sports Festival / Moreeb Hill Climb event 2024 - 2025

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 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.

06 Liwa Dates Festival 2024 - 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 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 2022 event is over, but you can experience it in 2024.

07 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 are 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.

08 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 are untouched by humans. Spanning an area of 650,000 square kilometres 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.

09 Champagne on top of a dune – Liwa Dune Sunset Champagne

Get out of 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 on 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.

things to do in liwa

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 kilometres 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 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 the highest dunes

Challenge yourself to conquer the sand dunes of the Empty Quarter with a sandboard. 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 a luxury private dinner experience set by a professional chef and served by a private butler. Qasr Al Sarab desert Resort F&B team take special interest in making a special dinner experience. You are free to choose the menu you want with the three options, Levantine menu (Arabian foods), Mediterranean menu or healthy menu.

19 Outdoor Desert Swimming Pool

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara features an amazing outdoor desert swimming pool, and even if you are not staying in the resort (If you are on a budget), you can access the pool and great desert dunes views. Pool access is charged for outside guests AED 260 (70 USD) net from 6 yrs old and above. Payment can be made at the hotel reception (main building). And remember you must be required to register your name in our hotel reception before proceeding to the Pool, so carry your ID. You will be provided access to the pool and towel at the above rate & pool opening hours are 9:00 am - 9:00 pm. Make sure you make the reservation by calling the hotel or tour operator before you start your journey.

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 car to a 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 want to know how much it would cost to have private transport to and from Qasar Al Sarab resort. Below we put a price list that might help you to decide whether you are going to take a taxi 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 the central point of each city.

Liwa Events Calendar - Updates Coming Soon

    November 2021
    Liwa Urban Cycling Sportive

    Liwa Urban Cycling Sportive

    NOV 01
    EVENT LOCATION CONTACT INFO Liwa Hotel Tel: +97124088999/+97124088998
    December 2021
    Liwa Sport Festival 2024 - 2025

    Liwa Sport Festival 2024 - 2025

    DEC 27 JAN 04
    EVENT LOCATION CONTACT INFO Tel Moreeb, Liwa Tel: +97150666899
2022 Liwa Events Guide
    December 2022
    Liwa International Festival / Moreeb Dune 2022 - 2022

    Liwa International Festival / Moreeb Dune 2022 - 2022

    DEC 28 JAN 03
    EVENT LOCATION CONTACT INFO Liwa Oasis, Al Gharbia Tel: +971 5 066 6899
    February 2022
    Liwa Challenge Master Trek - Endurance race runners events

    Liwa Challenge Master Trek - Endurance race runners events

    2022 February (To be announced)

    EVENT LOCATION CONTACT INFO Liwa Oasis, Al Dhafra Tel: +971 5 066 6899
    April 2022
    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 2022
    Liwa Dates Festival 2022

    Liwa Dates Festival 2022

    , 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

things to do 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. The Pros of this hotel are its well-maintained rooms and the unbeatable views of the Empty Quarter.

things to do in liwa

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.

things to do in liwa

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 residents visit Liwa camping and making BBQ Dinner or stop for lunch at liwa oasis

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

There are not many liwa tours that are 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 donkeys & 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. The guided tour includes 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 takes place at an ideal location for visitors, simply navigate through your Google map, and the facility has washroom, enough safe parking, restaurants and security during the events. Abu Dhabi is the world's 4th safest city, and liwa too. During the event, all facilities were monitored and maintained by the government. Check out the 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 the Liwa area, and we have no record

As long as you havean on-arrival visa or you have obtained a 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

things to do in liwa

From Abu Dhabi

From Abu Dhabi central bus station (Main station near Al Wahda Mall) to Liwa, Mezairaa Bus Station bus service has 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 at 5.10 am leaving and reaching back to Abu Dhabi at 8.38 am & 4.15 pm leaving from Liwa & reaching Abu Dhabi at 7.43 pm (30 AED per way ticket)

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

From Dubai

From Dubai, there is no direct bus to Liwa. There are 3 buses from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Once you reach Abu Dhabi, you have got to 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 centre toll-free number 800900 to confirm the timings double.

So you can take a bus from Abu Dhabi to Liwa, get down at Liwa, Mezairaa Bus Station bus, check out the city attractions and visit major events spots. Here is the distance from the 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, taxi's there at the bus station, but if you are a budget traveller, you might be thinking of going by bus & local taxi to save, but taxi might cost higher since the current bus station is away from the Liwa City attractions. We can recommend you rent a car or look out for a transfer with the local tour operator.

Here are the charges of Liwa taxi Service. Charges are 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