Weekend Trip to Al Dibbeiya Beach with Hummer H3

Every month a new trip will be uploaded to this site: enjoy!

“Let’s go beach camping,” exclaims my 11-year-old, with the enthusiasm – and volume – of an eager child ready to jump into the massive Hummer H3 with her boogie board and fins. Sure, but where? It used to be that the public had access to the marvellous beaches of the Arabian Gulf, and as a family we have wonderful memories of swimming and camping on unspoilt beaches – but, alas, construction of hotels, resorts and private weekend villas has almost completely closed access to the beautiful natural beaches of the region, which affects all in the UAE – citizens, residents, visitors and especially future generations.

Al Dibbeiya Beach

Luckily, all is not lost, and a few very nice public beaches remain, such as this one in the Al Dibbeiya area, west of Abu Dhabi.

“Dead Turtle Beach”, as we now call it since chancing across a dead sea turtle there, is a pristine wilderness site, sandwiched between an oil installation to its west and a private island to its east. It should be a smelly, decaying mangrove swamp, filled with all sorts of bloodsucking insects and with a tidal flat beach stretching several hundred metres that would leave salty mud during low tide.

However, a fortunate stroke of engineering development for once has made a positive difference to the entire area.

Al Dibbeiya canal

A narrow and deep channel has been dredged right through the swamp and along the mudflats all the way to Abu Dhabi city, around 30km away, helping to disperse the stagnant water. This has resulted in a constant flow of seawater, which feeds the mangrove forests and circulates the water. Owned by the tides, this channel is like a river within the sea, running through a shallow saltwater lake and making ideal conditions for both nature and man.

The clear blue waters are shallow and calm enough for children to play in safely, and further out this deep-blue canal is ideal for swimming.

Dead turtle

This delicate ecosystem must remain absolutely free of any sort of rubbish, including cigarette butts or other "minor" items. We speculated that this turtle died from ingesting a plastic bag carelessly discarded.It is not at all difficult to arrange for a large black plastic rubbish bag and set a good example for the children and collect your waste into this bag, which then can be conveniently dropped off at the village trash containers.


But I’m also not one to forego a little driving fun on the beach!

Hummer H3

Behind the wheel of the Hummer H3, with a 295hp, 5.3L V8 engine, and differential lockers, there is more than enough power and traction for us to deal with the soft sand by the sea as we explored the area - photo by Melissa Royle-Guimaraes.

Wakeboarding UAE style

The flat waters are also ideal for water sports - in the photo my daughter wakeboards UAE-style pulled behind a 4x4!

We reach Dead Turtle Beach by leaving Abu Dhabi on the E11 motorway that leads westward to Sila, Al Ruwais and Liwa, and the turn-off to your right is clearly signposted to Al Dibbeiya and is at waypoint 1. Follow the GPS track and the map I provide, as the road may seem to enter an industrial oil area, which is off-limits, but actually you can skirt around it.

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 Dibbeiya Beach in a larger map

Beach Camping

With a little organization, beach camping is a fun activity for the whole family, and an excellent way to unwind over the weekend.


There is nothing better than relaxing by a natural beach - developing concrete beach resorts is not the way to maintain the ecology and provide areas for weekend relaxation.

Sea Eagle

A Sea Eagle with its dinner on Dead Turtle Beach

Desert hiyacinth

A Desert Hiyacinth in bloom

Camping at night

Fellow camper Rui Guimaraes manages the campfire as the moon rises over the mangroves.

Packing up

And when you leave, please make sure that there is no trace of your visit.

Salt flats

On the way out follow the GPS route I provided, and stop by the white salt flats for a landscape a little different than usual.

Please read the original article: Finding the best beach camping spots in the UAE. Published by The National, Mar 20, 2010.

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.

21 thoughts on “Weekend Trip to Al Dibbeiya Beach with Hummer H3

  1. Hi, first i would like to thank you for sharing with us this nice trip.
    Actually we were looking for a place to do camping the coming weekend and very glad that i read your subject in the right time :))
    But i’m little affraid from the place as we do not have Hammer, our vehicles are RAV4, Morano and the rest are saloons cars.. so is there any risk of that? and are these any special tool that we should take with us in case we got stuck :O
    please advise me 🙂

  2. First of all…a big thank you for givin a brite lite on a good beach in the uae ….my question is, our group is plannin a trip here …an overnyt stay …so do u think its ok …or can dere be ny kind of complications ??

    • No complications – we’ve spent many nights there.

      Just make sure you park your cars well above the high tide line (and tents, too! LOL), and leave absolutely no trash anywhere. There is a public garbage container just up the road in front of the grocery store where you can dump your bags before heading back.


  3. There is a great mangrove forest at this beach, for those who are interested in bird spotting.

  4. Hi, the place seems rather scenic and untouched. I was wondering if I can reach the place in a saloon car?

    I really like the work your putting into this blog. Keep it up.

    • Yes, absolutely OK for a single car.
      Just make sure you don’t get stuck on the beach too close to the sea! 😉

  5. Pingback: H3 Trip in UAE - Hummer Forums - Enthusiast Forum for Hummer Owners

  6. Hi, I am sooooo glad to find this website! I am tired of snotty beach resorts and I just want to hang out with friends on a nature beach, just perfect like the one you posted! Give us more places to visit!

    • Sorry to hear that, Dave – if it helps for next trip, the road is actually open to the public 🙂

      I know exactly where you got to, and here is how I described it in the article: “Follow the GPS track and the map I provide, as the road may seem to enter an industrial oil area, which is off-limits, but actually you can skirt around it.”

      Basically, the one road you’re on seems to lead to the checkpoint, but just before it there is a turn to the right, and that’s the road you should follow.

      There are people living in Dibbeiya village, and a marina, and an ADNOC pump, so they can’t close off the access road.

      Try again 🙂 it’s worth it!

  7. thank you for sharing with us this nice trip. now it is dificult to find a nice beach in Abu Dhabi.

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