Situated south west of Abu Dhabi on the edge of the great Empty Quarter desert (Rub Al Khali). The distance from Dubai /Sharjah being some 380 km one way and from Abu Dhabi the Capital city some 220 km. Liwa is the name of a vast, almost barren desert region, that extends from the southern part of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, all the way to the border with Saudi Arabia; and south of Al Ain, all the way to the border of Saudi Arabia and Oman (at the village of Um Azumool, the most southerly village in the UAE).
In the past, Liwa was a lot larger than today, and it was also known as the Bu Fallah desert. This name came from the Bu Fallah tribe, which was, and still is, the largest tribe in the area. There used to be around 50 permanent settlements, known locally as “Mahdar” for one, and “Mahader” for more than one; with names such as Muzairaa, Al Mariyah, Shah, Nafeer, Hameem, Arada, Therwaneeyah, Malqata, Bateen and so on. These well-established Mahader each had plenty of water wells and farms. Liwa was not on the trading route as some people may tell you. Very simply, it was a region inhabited by a lot of Bedouin tribes, because it was rich in water resources and not too far from Abu Dhabi and the Al Ain Oasis – a landmark well-known for its commercial trade and as a stop-over for the traveling caravans coming from Oman. In summer, most of the local inhabitants used to leave their homes in the desert and head off to do other work in Abu Dhabi, on the shores or even venture deeper into the sea for pearl diving. Besides hunting, their staple diet was basically dates and camel milk, the homes were built from palm trees, and goat and camel hair was used to make tents. Most people preferred goat hair for the tents because it made them cooler. It is in the nature of goat skins that when they are woven the small gaps allow nice ventilation, and when it rains they shrink, preventing rainwater from leaking through the roof.
The first signs of modern life where felt in the late 50’s due to oil explorations, trucks and jeeps where introduced and the country started its rapid development, things changed. Houses were being built everywhere, roads laid out in the middle of the desert, hospitals and schools and so on. Thanks to the great effort undertaken by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (ruler of Abu Dhabi from 1966-2002) who made sure that each and every one of his people enjoyed the fruits of this fast development
Our Liwa expert guide Karim nicknamed by his clients “The Sand God”, has more than 25 years of experience in the desert of the UAE and specializes on Empty Quarter expeditions and likes to welcome you to his territory and offers you a truly once in a life time unforgettable experience.
Whether you are a visitor or resident with or without your own mode of transportation, we have different programs to suit your needs and budget. We can organize your transfers from any address in Dubai and from a standard pickup point in Abu Dhabi (Mafraq Hotel).
We are definitely encouraging our guests to book the two days camping trip to Liwa to fully enjoy the landscape and camping under the canopy of 1001 stars! However we understand that many visitors are on a tight schedule and do not want to miss this once in a life time excursion to see the Empty Quarter, therefore we offer a one full day trip to meet their schedule. If you happen to own/rent a car, you may drive straight to Liwa Hotel in Mezzeira and join us from there.