Location, location, location!
One of the most important aspects of your outdoor adventure is choosing your destination. Although the United Arab Emirates is filled with excellent spots, many of which are easily accessible, you do need to do some careful forward planning before heading out with a packed car. First off, you need to settle on what activities you want to do because this will influence your choice of location. This is, obviously, pretty essential.
If you and your entourage prefer water-based activities, then you definitely need to head to somewhere by the shore. Great locations include the beaches near Snoopy Island in Fujairah, which is roughly 3.5 hours drive from Abu Dhabi. Shaped like a sleeping Snoopy, the island is full of coral reefs and rich marine life, including turtles, cuttlefish and sharks. If you don’t want to venture quite that far, you can visit one of the nearby islands, such as Bahraini, although you do need a boat to reach it.
There are also excellent sites in neighbouring Oman which offer breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. Musandam also has some stunning locations, although you do need to sort your visa and passport at border control. There are also many organised tour groups with different packages, depending on the level of adventure you are looking for.
We recommend Musandam Sea Adventure Travel & Tourism (www.msaoman.com
) and Khasab Travel & Tours (www.khasabtours.com
), although there are plenty to choose from. Also, a bit of online research to
check for reliability and reputability will do you no harm.
For those who’d rather forgo the beach and its infinite wonders, then desert camping is the perfect alternative. Get yourself to Al Ain, which is only an hour’s drive from the city, if you’re up for a bit of sand boarding or duning in a 4x4. If none of this sounds appealing then you can join an organised tour for some camel riding and other fun organised activities. We like Off-road Adventures (www.arabiantours.com)
and Abu Dhabi Desert Safari (www.desertsafariinabudhabi.com
).Before you set off, always make sure you have a map or a GPS and plan out your route prior to departing. Some excellent resources for the different types of terrain and roads within the UAE and Oman are the Explorer Off Road series (Oman and UAE), which can be picked up for Dhs125. For a cheaper alternative, you can purchase second hand copies from sites such as www.dubizzle.com and www.souk.com. Another great resource is the Off-road Adventure Routes: UAE & Oman book, which will set you back Dhs99 and can be ordered online from www.adventurehq.ae. View 'Get your gear in check!'