Fossil Rock
The whole outing can be covered in half a day.

Why go: The journey is a great introduction to the desert and its dunes, and a great starting point for anyone looking to eventually do some serious off-roading.

Points of interest: There’s the village of Nazwa, rolling red sand dunes and fascinating desert birds (such as the pharaoh eagle owl), plus Fossil Rock (of course), and the nearby Camel Rock.

Directions: Take the Dubai/Hatta Road (E44) for 31km until you reach a flyover. At the roundabout, take the second exit into Al Awir. Take the right turn before the second mosque and drive until you reach a sandy track. Head up the dunes, following the power lines across a main road until you reach Camel Rock and, further on, Fossil Rock. Keep straight to reach the tarmac road and take a right or left to head back to Dubai.

Where to stay: Fossil Rock is a popular camping spot, which is why we’d recommend pitching a tent (weather permitting). However, the area is only a short drive from Dubai, so there’s nothing to stop you from heading back to the comfort of your own bed once you’re adventured out.

Top tip: There is an element of off-roading to this trip, so you should only attempt it in a 4x4. Even better, take some desert driving lessons with Desert Rangers (04 357 2233): you’ll pay Dhs1,800 for a lesson in a Desert Rangers Land Cruiser, or Dhs1,000 if you use your own 4x4.