Private Tours in the UAE
Are you eager to acquire offroad desert driving skills or refine your existing experience? Do you have youngsters in your group, and are you interested in unplugging them from the digital world for some delightful outdoor adventures? Are there photography enthusiasts among you, seeking to capture the mesmerizing desert sunsets and sunrises? Perhaps you’re intrigued by the history and culture of the Abu Dhabi people and their landscapes. Alternatively, maybe you simply yearn for an evening with friends, gathered around a campfire, unwinding while gazing at the stars in the pitch-black sky.
Share your preferences with us, and we’ll craft a personalized itinerary tailored exclusively to your desires and interests.
Just like our other private trips, we collaborate closely with you to design a route that aligns with your objectives and accommodates the least capable 4×4 (as not all 4x4s are the same) and the least experienced driver in your group. It’s important to understand that each trip is unique, with subtle variations in the route. Occasionally, we might even have the chance to spot graceful gazelles, and sometimes, the desert clouds create enchanting sand-shadow displays.
Whether you’re eager to drive until sunset or prefer to set up camp early, allowing the kids in your group to enjoy some sand sledding, the choice is entirely yours. Your journey is customized to ensure it aligns perfectly with your preferences and desires.
There are no strict regulations regarding the number of cars or individuals in your group excursion. If all drivers are new to desert driving, we suggest a maximum of three to four cars. However, this number can be expanded if you have experienced drivers who are comfortable taking on the second lead or sweep positions in the convoy. If you’re planning to cover a substantial distance, we recommend a maximum of 8-10 cars.
For the safety of children, we advise that they should be at least one year old before joining your offroading adventure. Additionally, they should be securely seated and fastened into an age-appropriate car seat whenever the vehicle is in motion.
There are no age restrictions for either driving or being a passenger on our trips. We’ve welcomed participants in their 70s and 80s in the past, demonstrating that age is no barrier to enjoying our desert excursions.
LENGTH OF TRIP
We offer a range of itineraries, including half-day and full-day options. However, for those seeking a more extended adventure, we recommend our multi-day itineraries. If you’re interested in an overnight experience, we suggest meeting around lunchtime and leaving the desert at a similar time the following day (or the day after that!). This approach works well for rookie drivers and families with young children, as it prevents drivers from getting overly fatigued and keeps the kids in good spirits. Our multi-day itineraries provide even more opportunities for exploration and enjoyment.
Our overnight desert adventures promise memorable evenings around the campfire, complete with three bags of firewood to keep you warm and cozy. Feel free to request more if you plan to indulge in late-night stargazing and heartfelt conversations, or if you envision the comfort of a morning fire as well.
As for dinner, we’ve got you covered with our BBQ grill and all the necessary utensils. You have the option to bring your own food for grilling, or you can leave the culinary preparations to us. When you choose our catering services, you can expect a delectable spread featuring camel burgers, succulent rib-eye steak, mouthwatering chicken kebabs, a medley of fresh vegetables, creamy hummus, and wholesome bread. However, our menu is versatile and can be customized to align perfectly with your group’s culinary preferences and dietary requirements. Your desert dining experience will be tailored to ensure it’s as enjoyable and satisfying as the rest of your adventure.
CATERING: BREAKFAST AND LUNCH
For lunch during your desert journey, we consider the timing of your trip. If you prefer a snack-style lunch while out in the desert, we can provide catering options. Our selection typically includes up to 8 items, accompanied by bread. You can choose from a variety of options, such as hummus, mutabal, olives, green salad, quinoa salad, tomatoes, cucumber, vine leaves, boiled eggs, cold cuts, labnah with beetroot, labnah with magdhous, along with bread and nachos. Of course, you also have the flexibility to bring your own lunch if you prefer.
As for breakfast, many of our guests opt for our convenient breakfast offerings. In our famous “breakfast box,” we provide a choice of 7 different types of tea, instant coffee, 3 in one coffee, breakfast bars, and instant oats. Additionally, if you prefer a hot breakfast prepared by us, our most popular options include freshly made pancakes drizzled with date syrup or honey, or eggy bread served with honey or labnah.
You will find some ideas for routes below; these can be combined to make multi-day tours if required. We are very flexible when it comes to trip design; if there is somewhere else you would like to go/see then we will endeavor to create a trip for you that goes there!
Desert Area One: Way Out West!
The desert west of the Ghayathi-Arada Road (E15) is vast and almost empty! In the northernmost part, the dune structures are unusual in that they run north to south; these were apparently laid down at the time of the last ice-age, some 18k years ago!
The driving here can be very easy, easy, or intermediate; our driving style is “overland”, which means taking the smoothest route and avoiding advanced maneuvers such as side sloping or cross cresting.
This is the most remote area in the UAE and the place where you will find the darkest skies and, since the entry/exit point is 3.5 hours from Dubai, and 2.5 hours from Abu Dhabi, you won’t be seeing many other offroading enthusiasts here!
For multi-day trips, these itineraries can be combined with a visit to the shores of the Sila peninsula, or alternatively, the Rub Al Khali at Arada.
Desert Area Two: Madinat Zayed
Nestled in the heart of the desert, Madinat Zayed serves as an excellent launch point for your private tour. It’s conveniently located, less than a 2-hour drive from Abu Dhabi and just under 3 hours from Dubai. This picturesque area offers a blend of easy and intermediate dune driving, showcasing the beauty of the desert landscape.
During your adventure, you can meander past lush plantations, visit a charming camel farm, capture stunning photographs of camels wandering the vast desert expanse, and even cross the Tropic of Cancer. But that’s just the beginning.
For those new to desert driving, we can craft a delightful loop route that starts with gentle traverses over relatively low dunes. Gradually, we’ll introduce you to larger and slightly more challenging dunes, and perhaps, if you’re up for it, we might even venture out to explore “THE tanker.”
If all members of your convoy have some prior experience, the journey can take you beyond “THE tanker” and onto the Arada-Ghayathi Road. Here, you’ll encounter steep slipfaces and conquer some thrilling climbs, all while navigating through the awe-inspiring dune landscapes. Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned desert driver, Madinat Zayed promises a captivating desert adventure for all.
Desert Area Three: Hameem
Our passion lies in exploring remote desert locales, far removed from the typical offroad “hotspots,” and Hameem certainly fits the bill. Surprisingly, it’s just an hour’s drive from the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, and comfortably under two hours from Dubai.
What sets Hameem apart are its distinctive dunes, which differ from the terrains you typically associate with our adventures. Here, you’ll encounter the striking hues of beige and red sand, often graced by the presence of local wildlife.
When it comes to camping, Hameem doesn’t disappoint either. While we won’t be too far from the renowned “milky way spot,” you can expect a quieter and more secluded experience in this remote expanse.
As for your desert journey, we offer a range of options, from very easy and easy routes to intermediate trails. Hameem is a captivating desert oasis that combines convenience with the allure of untouched landscapes, promising an unforgettable adventure for all.
Desert Area Four: Liwa
Last, but certainly not least, is the awe-inspiring Rub Al Khali, often referred to as The Empty Quarter. This colossal desert spans over a quarter of a million square kilometers across Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Fortunately, the Abu Dhabi sector is the most accessible, with a mere 2-hour drive from Abu Dhabi and a comfortable 3-hour journey from Dubai.
Our seasoned explorers have traversed “crossed the crescent” in this desert many times, where the driving demands an intermediate to intermediate-plus skill level. We kindly request that all drivers have lifted vehicles and a minimum of 10 offroad trips under their belts to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Although the route itself is a concise 100 kilometers, we typically allocate 1.5 days to fully savor this extraordinary journey.
For those without lifted vehicles or desert-driving experience, there’s no need to worry. We offer a delightful shorter route with very easy driving conditions, allowing you to venture up to 10 kilometers into the desert from the Arada area, ensuring that everyone can partake in the desert adventure at their own comfort level.
Now, it’s time to embark on your chosen adventure! To inquire about a private tour, please connect with Marina on WhatsApp at +971 509478563.
To ensure we craft the perfect tour for you, we’ll need some essential details:
1. **Trip Objectives:** What’s the purpose of your journey?
2. **Preferred Route/Area:** Do you have a specific destination or area in mind?
3. **Timing:** When would you like to kick off and conclude your tour?
4. **Group Size:** Approximately how many cars will be joining, along with their make and model if available?
5. **Number of Participants:** How many individuals will be on this adventure, and if there are kids, what age group do they belong to?
6. **Driving Experience:** Tell us about the offroad driving levels of your least and most experienced drivers.
7. **Catering Preferences:** Are you interested in catering? If so, would you like fully catered meals, a BBQ, or perhaps just breakfast (or lunch if timing requires)?
Once we have these details, we can provide you with a personalized pricing quote for your group. For weekday afternoon and day trips in the desert, our prices start at 275 AED per hour, plus a small allowance for petrol, with a minimum charge of 4 hours.
Overnight adventures can be as affordable as 3000 AED plus the cost of petrol for your group, depending on the factors mentioned above.
Our operations run between October and April each year. If you have specific dates in mind, please reach out as soon as possible, allowing us to verify availability and secure your booking.
To check our scheduled tours, visit our event calendar here.
Typically, midweek slots are available, except during our tours in Oman and Saudi Arabia. For weekends, please refer to our event calendar for private tour availability.
Your desert adventure awaits – let’s make it happen!
Empty Quarter Enterprises Ltd T/A Xpedition Arabia, 39/8 Hyvot View, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom, EH17 8PQ
Call/whatsapp us +971509478563 UK number +447565570827
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