Every month a new trip will be uploaded to this site: enjoy!
Here is a versatile drive – and those are often the best kind, since there’s something for everyone.
It is a short desert drive; and it can be easy or difficult, as you please. It offers lovely picnic views in a shaded forest and, at the same time, exhilarating climbs up a long dune slipface. The drive then ends at a little-known beach, after passing through an abandoned historical village. And if that is not enough versatility for you, if you choose to spend the night you can camp freely on the beach (with the Al Hamra ghosts), enjoy an inexpensive night at the nearby Bin Majid Beach Resort or sink into luxury at the even closer Al Hamra Fort Hotel and Beach Resort.
We start not far east of Umm al Qwain, basically on the outskirts of Ras al Khaimah, and end up at the beach.
Download the KML file for your GPS by clicking here.
Once downloaded, you can import the file into your GPS device and take it on the road, or double-click that file and it will open automatically in Google Earth if you have that installed (all adventurers should! Google Earth).
And here is an interactive map of the route.
View Al Hamra in a larger map
The Toyota Land Cruiser is the king of the UAE motoring scene, and it has been for decades. The 60th Anniversary Edition we drove was outstanding in its delivery of power (5.7L V8 engine), comfort, safety, and imposing road presence. Nothing we could throw at it could phase it, and it shrugged off all off-road demands we placed on it – deep beach sand: laugh! Steep dune climb: laugh!
Should you prefer the secondary and easier route up, either because of your vehicle not making it up or simply because you or your passengers do not want to drive up the slipface – which is a perfectly sensible decision, by the way – then drive back along the slipface, back through the forest, and at waypoint 3 look to your left to see a track leading up to a couple of portable cabins. This track will take you up the plateau, where you can reach waypoint 6 the easy way.
After taking a few moments to enjoy the view from the top of the slipface, turn your attention to the desert heading north, towards the sea. You will need to decide whether to make the drive easy or difficult. Only you and your fellow drivers can make this decision, based on experience.
As you look west, you will notice that you will be navigating against the grain of the desert; that is, you will be driving against the slipfaces, and every dune will require you to fight up and over it. It is a short distance, but it can make for an exhilarating drive. If this wild route is your decision, then skip your GPS to waypoint 15 and make your own way there.
To learn more about the ghosts that reputedly inhabit the village, see this traveller’s blog page Around the World in 1000 Days.
Please read the original article: For a beach all to yourself, the route is through the dunes. Published by The National, Feb. 19, 2011.
Or view a pdf file of the original article here, as published in The National.
Please make sure you read the Disclaimer and plan your trips with due care.