Empty Quarter by car · Empty Quarter by car
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Empty Quarter by car
Empty Quarter by car
In the UAE, the very northern edge of the Empty Quarter, is accessible from the Liwa Oasis, a 200 km drive from Abu Dhabi on excellent highways. The larger road, to Huwayiah, is lined with green date palms, and the other road (closer to Abu Dhabi), to Al Hamai'm, now has them growing as well -- nice for Emiratis looking to visit an oasis, but blocking the view of the desert for foreigners.
From Saudi Arabia, visits to most of the Empty Quarter require permits from the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development , and are most easily arranged through tour agencies. The usual gateways are Wadi al-Dawasir (Sulayyil) and Sharurah, both reachable by road from Riyadh (a 550-km drive) or via Saudia flight from Riyadh or Jeddah. Najran, 300 km west of Sharurah, is also a reasonable starting point.
A 4WD vehicle, or rather, a caravan of them is the only sane option for entering the soft sands of the desert. If you aren't a confident, experienced, well-equipped sand dune desert driver, Wikitravel cannot prepare you for something like the Empty Quarter.
On paved roads, in the UAE, a road passes through the oasis towns, and a drive is possible to Tal Mireb, the tallest dune in the country, which gives a few minutes of perspective on how vast and inhospitable this place is.
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Empty Quarter Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.