UAE Off-road : travel maps, tips & GPS routes

Our tips to organise your road-trip in the United Arab Emirates

In this article, you will find all our advice to organise your road-trip in the United Arab Emirates: itinerary, vehicle choice (4×4, motorbike, van, etc.), practical information about the country, budget, etc.

  • If you are planning a trip to Oman, the book UAE OFF-ROAD will be of great help to you.
le livre oman off-road, le meilleur guide de voyage à Oman
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Hello! We're Olivia & Victor, authors of the OunTravela guides.

Over the years, our passion for adventure has led us to create original travel guides sold in over 70 countries worldwide. Our mission is to spread a travel philosophy based on adventure, freedom, improvisation and exploration. Our guides inspire travelers to explore the world's forgotten paths, encountering wilderness and civilizations.
We hope you find this article, based on our own experience, useful.
Happy reading!

Why explore the UAE by 4×4 ?

Dubai and Abu Dhabi megacities aside, United Arab Emirates offers great spaces to be explored. Notice to lovers of sand-driving and desert landscapes! Indeed, almost the entire territory is a sandy desert, featuring a mountainous region in the north and some oasis such those of Al-Ain and Liwa. Sunsets in the desert of Rub Al-Khali offer magnificent lights. In addition, you can admire the milky way with no light pollution and you may have the chance to come across an Arabian Oryx. Do not forget to attend a camel race!

On the map below, we have mapped our itinerary over 12 days. Of course, this is not the optimal route since it is always better to improvised! Our itinerary was inspired by the “UAE Off Road” book.

famille dromadaire oman coucher de soleil
Camping spot au désert de LIWA aux UAE
montagne UAE spot camping drone
Oasis ferme dromadaire

Our itinerary inspired by the book UAE Off-Road

We recommend you to buy the UAE Off ROAD book to plan your route. You don’t have to drive all tracks, but it is a good base to plan your own road trip. Warning: it is better to avoid big cities outskirts, which are often polluted and dotted with plants.

Schould you want to get out of the paved or marked traffic lanes, it is mandatory to use a powerful 4×4 (see article what 4×4 to rent). In addition, we recommend you to have some basic knowledge of sand-driving or to split the team in two cars (which will allow you to quickly get out of sand in case of trouble).

The desert climate requires you to have your trip scheduled between October and May, because during the rest of the year, temperatures can reach 122°F.

UAE off-road : carte itineraire 4x4 moto emirats arabes unis Ountravela et traces GPS spots bivouac

Download our GPS routes

Useful infos about the UAE

langue parlé

Spoken languages

Arabic and English

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No visa required if staying less than 90 days

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Flight tickets

From Paris : € 300 – 400 round trip

Best season: from October to May. During the rest of the year, temperature may reach 122°F.

coûts de la vie nourriture

Cost of living

– Food: €7 – 10 for a hearty meal in an Indian restaurant. Expect way higher prices in tourist restaurants in big cities.

– Airbnb: at least 25 euros/person. If you are a numerous group, we recommend you rent an entire apartment in a Dubai or Abu Dhabi tower for a night.

– Wild camping allowed throughout the country

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4x4 rental

- Price: €60 to 130/day

- In 2018, we rented an automatic Toyota PRADO for 12 days for €57/day with Rental Car's comparator.

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Motorbike rental

We tried to rent a motocross bike (and even a buggy) by sending emails to different agencies in the country. Impossible to find one for a reasonable price.

Nevertheless, you can rent a buggy (4 people) : hourly rate arround €80/hour

Our budget for a road-trip to the UAE

Budget for a group of 9 people –  12 days with two 4wd vehicles – 2 days in Dubaï (February 2018)

PriceDaysGroup TotalIndiv Total
Rental 4x4 (Toyota LandCruiser) 68 € /day12816€90,6€
4×4 Rental (Toyota Prado)57 € /day12684€76€
Accommodation Dubaï (flat on 72th floor)250 € /night2380 € 42,2 €
Food (including 6 restaurants)90 € /day 151350 € 150 €
Fuel55 € /day12660 €73,3 €
Vehicle repairs140 €-140€15,56€
Flight tickets380 €-3420 € 380 €
Boat tour to the mangrove100 € -100 € 11 €
Others (camping equipment, taxi)250 €-250 € 27,7 €
UAE Off Road Book33 € -33 €3,7 €
TOTAL7833 €870 €/pers

Our favorite places in the United Arab Emirates

Rub Al-Khali Sands

The genuine desert! Rub Al Khali is the largest desert in the world, it crosses part of the country, and there it is better preserved. To be discovered: for the pleasure of waking up in the middle of the dunes, and enjoying a blazing sunset or a starry sky. Please ensure that one member of the team master sand-driving and split the group in two vehicles (which will allow you to quickly get out of sand, in case in trouble).

Drone photo mavic bivouac désert
couché de soelil désert UAE
Oryx sauvage UAE
Road trip OFF ROAD emirats Toyota

Off-Roading between Liwa and Al-Ain

There is a small “secret” trail that runs from Liwa to Al Ain along the borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman. Dunes with peach tones, a real playground for sand-driving. We were also lucky to be able to watch wildlife which is difficult elsewhere in the Emirates (Arabian Oryx …). Before you head off on this track, ensure you have a suitable supply of water (minimum 4 liters per person a day).

“Stairway to Heaven” hike

A hike through the northern mountains of the country, with more than 1500 meters height difference in 15 kms: a beautiful challenge rewarded by amazing rocky landscapes and a breathtaking view over the canyon! It’s different from the desert, which covers almost the whole country! Warning: good physical condition required.

stairway to heaven UAE
stairway to heaven UAE Off Road
portrait eleveur dromadaire de course UAE
course de dromadaire aux UAE avec robot cavalier

Camel Race

Not to be missed under any circumstances! Between September and March, early in the morning around 7:30 am (at 8:30 am the show is already over), camel races take place three to four times a week. Hundreds of camels galloping on the tracks at a crazy speed. They carry on their backs remotely controlled tiny robot jockeys . Races are moments of intense emotional release. Owners of the animals drive their 4×4, follow their camels on parallel tracks, honk and howl to encourage them. Ambiance…

crocoloup sacados 03

If you have any questions (4×4 rental, itinerary, wild camping, etc.), feel free to leave a comment at the end of this article, or join our facebook group dedicated to exploring the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Don’t forget to download our GPS routes and our practical sheet for driving on the sand before you leave!

If you liked this article, help us and share it with your friends!

  1. Bonjour,
    Impossible de télécharger vos traces.

    • Bonjour Jacques, vous avez normalement reçu un mail avec les informations pour le téléchargement. Merci de vérifier vos SPAMS 🙂
      Si vous n’arrivez pas à remplir le formulaire sur cette page, vous pouvez essayer avec un autre navigateur.
      Bon voyage!

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