Appreciate the vastness, harshness and astounding beauty of the Rub Al Khali by trekking to the top of a dune. Be warned that it can be hard going, but the workout is always rewarded with stunning views of the great ‘sea of sand’. Dune treks are best at dawn or dusk.
The uninterrupted skies mean that stunning sunsets are commonplace. From beach, boat, island peak or dune crest, evenings in Al Gharbia are magical; and once the sun has set, the skies light up again with stunning displays of the solar system. Minimal light pollution means that the stars are much more visible here than elsewhere in the UAE.
Originally practiced by Bedouins to hunt hares and houbara (a type of bird) for food, and later developed to a traditional sport with specific rules and practices. It is the most majestic and noble of pursuits, especially popular among Emiratis and very much part of Al Gharbia life. Winter is the hunting season, but hotels can sometimes arrange for a display at other times of the year, although it is too hot in the height of summer.
Nobody said it was going to be easy, but it is worth attempting to drive up the great dune of Tel Moreeb. Incredibly steep and over 300 metres tall, this is the highest dune in the UAE and one of the tallest in the world. Every year sees hundreds of attempts on its summit, all culminating in the Tel Moreeb International Festival.
The rare Arabian oryx is being steadily reintroduced to Al Gharbia, and there are many rewarding opportunities to see these majestic creatures. Keep an eye out too for sand gazelles, sea eagles, pink flamingos, playing dolphins and the almost extinct dugong.
The Rub Al Khali is an off-road driving arena like no other. Testing and tricky, this desert is not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced. Tackled in a group, with the right equipment and experience, driving these dunes is the most extraordinary and thrilling experience.
The Arabian Gulf is just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. From kayaking to kitesurfing, snorkelling to sailing and jetskiing to just swimming, there is something for everyone.
The buzz of an Al Gharbia festival. Throughout the year, the festivals within Al Gharbia embrace all aspects of life. Showcasing watersports and off-road driving, traditional culture and modern sporting spectacles, the festivals are great events for all ages, with fantastic food and entertainment.
Have a go at an extreme sport in Al Gharbia, the UAE’s great adventure playground. The great dunes of the Rub Al Khali and the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf are perfect for the adrenaline fuelled and adventurous. Roar up the huge Tel Moreeb dune on a quad bike, surf by kite power at Mirfa beach or survey the region from the skies like a bird.
Al Gharbia is home to some of the finest and most luxurious hotels in the Middle East. Try the Desert Islands Resort and Spa by Anantara for private island safari chic, Danat Jebel Dhanna for a classy, beachside, country-club feel, or Qasr Al Sarab Resort and Spa by Anantara for the ultimate, luxurious, wilderness retreat.