Looking for road trips in the UAE?

The UAE never fails to surprise me, when I thought I knew all the hidden gems, a whole fossil dune formation unfolds!

A week before the COVID got real and the lockdown kicked-in back in March, we were looking for road trips in the UAE, and a friend suggested Fossil Dunes in Abu Dhabi. I had never heard of this place, and I’m pretty sure most UAE Residents haven’t either.

How to get there?

It turns out Al Wathba Fossil Dunes are very close to Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, which is another one to add to the UAE bucket list. The area is easy to reach by any vehicle, and you do not necessarily need an off-roading car or 4×4. Thanks to good old Waze and Google Maps, punch in “fossil dunes”, and you are good to go! It’s about an hour, and 20 minutes drive from Dubai, making it easy to make a day trip from Dubai & other Emirates. Alternatively, you can plan for a more extended visit to Abu Dhabi and include more excursions.

And the directions?

Take the E30 towards Al Wathba and look for the turn-off just after the Wetland Reserve. The fossil dunes are just behind Al Dhafrah Air Base, and here are the coordinates: 24.192078, 54.584732. Once you arrive, you will see the large fossil rocks on the left side of the road, and that’s where you begin the 5 minute off-road towards the dunes.

The fossil dunes are incredibly fascinating formations, and I highly recommend a visit. The best part is that it’s not another crowded touristy desert safari and its FREE!

But there’s a catch!

If you do decide to visit, I urge you to take great care, try not to destroy the structure of the dunes and the rest of the surrounding desert environment.

Bring along everything you will need as there is no mall or stores in sight. It is an excellent place to camp or BBQ, but sadly, there was a lot of garbage, cigarette buds, glass bottles, plastic and paper lying around. Just be mindful and respectful and clean up and bring back your waste.

Enjoy your time there, and try to catch the sunset!

Let me know in the comment section below if you have visited before and if you know of any other undiscovered gems to visit in the UAE.