Extreme desert driving in Dubai.

Driving Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Drive Like A Woman Travels to the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates has sprung up from the desert to become a major international destination for businesses, celebrities and now…drivers. In both cities you have a unique combination of dunes and track at your fingertips. And in the UAE, nothing is done small.

In Dubai you have the Autodrome (also called Motor City). If you are looking for a track experience you can get it all right here in one place. You can drive open wheel, Rally (Subaru STI Impreza), or Sportscars (Audi TTS or S5). Or you can play first at Kartdrome on either their outdoor or indoor tracks.

For young drivers 8-25 who live in the area you should check out the Racing Academy, open to both males and females. Started in 2006 by His Highness Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Young racers compete to become part of a racing program where they will receive training and be able to participate in karting events locally and abroad.

The desert driving in Dubai can only be described as extremely extreme desert driving.
Of course, after you have had some fun on the track the dunes await you only a few miles away. Although there are tours that will take you into the desert they seem to be pretty low key. Not to mention, they will not let you drive unless you possess an official off-road license. I was lucky enough to have a friend in the Dubai 4x4 Club who took me out for some dunebashing, which certainly seemed an appropriate name for this kind of driving. The desert driving in Dubai can only be described as extremely extreme desert driving.

While Dubai provides a driver with much to sink your wheels into, Abu Dhabi offers a step up in overall driver experience. Situated on its own island Yas Marina Circuit is a state of the art track. At the moment they are focused on Formula One, which will be the first race held at the track on Oct 30-Nov 1. If you are seeking a driving experience there are currently no arrive and drive programs unfortunately. But if you are seeking a weekend of watching racing this is certainly the best place in the Middle East right now.

If You Go...

Dubai Autodrome
+971 (0) 4 367 8700

Dubai 4x4 Club
-You can email them directly through the site

Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
+971 2 446 0384

UAE Desert Challenge
+971 4 296 1122

If the sounds of roaring engines have you itching to drive after visiting Yas then you must head to Liwa. Liwa is located in Rub’al Khali or the Empty Quarter. The Empty Quarter is one of the world’s largest deserts and stretches across Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman and the UAE. While dunebashing in Dubai is certainly fun, it is Liwa where the serious desert drivers flock to as it boasts some of the highest dunes in the world. As in Dubai there are tours that will drive you through the desert. This is not the place for a novice to rent a Jeep and attempt to drive out on your own. But if you are lucky and have a chance to head out with an experienced driver it will be well worth it.

Liwa is also home to the infamous Desert Challenge. Started in 1991 by Mohammed Ben Sulayem, it is one of the toughest desert races. Sulayem is the President of the Automobile and Touring Club for the UAE and a champion racer himself, placing first in the Middle East FIA series 14 times. The DC brings together some of the best drivers in the world including Ari Vatanen, Stephane Peterhansel and Jutta Kleinschmidt.