Bulletin 2 - June 1977: Two Drives Close to Abu Dhabi

Two Drives Close to Abu Dhabi

by John McRae

Route Plan 1 Four wheel drive only

From al Wathba 8 km from Dubai/Tarif/Al Ain roundabout on the Al Ain road

To Muqatar

0 km Al Wathba Continue for 1 km towards Al Ain after passing the main junction to the left which goes up the hill to the mosque.
1 km Leave main road Turn right up a construction road to the top of the hill and follow it round to the right and near the bottom of the slope a track turns off to the left which doubles back on the construction road for 100 meters.
Follow the track which goes over one set of sand dunes in to Sabkah. Cross the clearly defined track to the next range of dunes.
3 km Second range of dunes  
6.4 km Bottom of third range of dunes Here the dunes are steep and on quite a slope. The track is likely to be non-existent after a strong wind.
7 km Top of third range of dunes Once at the top there is a brick dwelling beside a new forestry plantation and further on along, to the left, are five water tanks and a pump. (8.4 km) When it operates it gives off a distinct rhythmic sound which can be heard from some distance.
Follow the track along the top and when the next area of Sabkah, with the dunes on the other side come into view, turn right down to the Sabkah.
9 km Bottom of third range of dunes Cross the well defined track to the next range and up towards the construction site at Muqatara.
10 km Muqatara About 150 meters up this track, from the Sabkah, a wider track joins from the right, turn right.
11 km Junction Take left track which takes one back to Al Wathba.
17 km Crossing dunes (17.3 km) Take the track to the right.
21 km   On to another set of dunes but still a hard track.
27 km Join main Al Ain/Abu Dhabi road Turn left and one is a hundred meters from the starting point of this route.

Route Plan 2 Two wheel drive car

From Muqtaa Bridge to Zibara (On the coast between Abu Dhabi and Dubai)

0 km Muqtaa Bridge Drive towards Mafraq roundabout
9 km Old Dubai Road Turn left onto the tracks across the Sabkah. Take the one to the left i.e. nearest Abu Dhabi and keep to it for 8 km. Do not wander off the track.
17 km 30ft. solitary rock A high rock, square shaped will appear on the horizon, pass it on your right.
19 km Edge of sand ridge Continue on towards the sand ridge and when at the edge of it take the track to the left. Donít be tempted to take the better track straight ahead. Follow the track across the Sabkah (8 km) to edge of sand.
21.1 km Cross another sand ridge At the end of the Sabkah a definite gap in an escarpment of sand, cross it and take the second track to the right. A point to bear in mind is that the old Dubai road keeps to the edge of the Sabkah and does not go into the sand until further on.
34.8 km Signpost to Palace A red sign post, with a golden falcon is at the road intersection which leads down to a Palace (5 km). Continue past it.
36.8 km Another ridge of sand At the top of this ridge are set a drum and large table top as a landmark. Go down the other side and ignore the track to the right.
38.7 km Desert The track now enters the sand desert but is still hard surfaced except for occasional short patches of sand.
45.8 km Cross roads Continue straight on.
49 km Cross roads A minor track crosses the road, turn to the left towards the coast.
50.2 km Cross roads Straight on; by now a large house will be in view, and you pass it on right after 2.2 km.
54 km Coast The road has now come to the coast. Some lovely beaches for picnics etc but the sea is shallow for some 200 meters from the high tide mark.

Return journey

0 km Return along the same track until you come to the old Dubai road.

5 km Old Dubai road Continue straight on instead of turning right.
12 km New Dubai road The track comes out on to the new road by a radio mast at Birkat bu Murraykan. Turn right to Abu Dhabi.
45.2 km Mafraq roundabout Turn right to Abu Dhabi
63.2 km Muqtaa bridge.  



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