Liwa - The Dark Side

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I was not expecting an intermediate Liwa trip before summer hit so extremely happy when it came on the app, adjustments on the weekend plan and making the long way to the camp on Thursday afternoon. The name of the drive starts making sense when you reach the road going North-West towards the meeting point after Arrada petrol station, dual carriageway, 160speed limit and pitch-black, the stars and the sky were beautiful as well as the temperature and company around the camp fire.

Bu Salem explained that the intention was to cross all the way to Madinat Zayed, close to 90Km of gorgeous dunes. Convoy, himself leading with Booy and Scorpio floating around. 2nd lead went to Abubaker with Rapailo closing the convoy, in between the remaining drivers (all interm), Johanna, Samer, Mpodroid and myself.

We drove in the selected direction stopping every time we saw a nice climb/bowl, the conditions were perfect to practice and check the limits of your car, opposite to what happens in other areas if you read wrongly the line on the dune you still finish on the same side than the rest of the convoy so I personally decided to play around with the gears in order to try to learn a bit more about how to approach and tackle certain dunes, my car was also probably grateful of the extensive use of 2nd gear compared to the 1st in Al Wagan and Um al Oush.

One the cars experienced problems about 90min into the drive, fuel leaking, Rade and Samer took care of the repair, amazing job, full of knowledge and creativity, for being a good offroader you have to score high in many aspects and these 2 are fantastic at problem solving, I would always want them in my convoy in any hard/long drive.

Unfortunately, and for safety issues, driver decided to call it a day and the convoy moved towards Madinat Zayed on tracks across the desert in order to leave him on tarmac, another driver experiencing some physical issues also used the opportunity for heading home earlier than expected. I always feel sorry when friends have to leave a drive with mechanical/physical problems, these drives don't come along frequently, it is a long way there and we all plan our weekend around them so not to be able to fully enjoy them is upsetting.

After saying our good-byes the main convoy drove back (straight line) towards where we were supposed to be in order to continue with the track/drive, small convoy became even smaller and it moved very nicely with almost no 2nd tries or incidents. Bu Salem selected a beautiful route across gorgeous landscape touching in some fantastic bowls. Saeed, who was passenger to Shamsi, joined me for some time which made the drive more enjoyable with good company and conversation.

We finished a bit earlier with a "quick and easy last 30min" to the exit point as one thirsty car was having some issues with fuel, I meant "lack of", my recommendation, if you are lucky enough to drive the "best offroad car in the market" make sure that for any full day drive you take a minimum of 40L extra and a bit more if the MP/Camp is a bit far from the last petrol station.

Finally to say thank you, to all of the interm and advance drivers that made the long way to Arrada, to Scorpio and Booy for all of the assistance and advise, and to Bu Salem for organizing the drive and taking us to Liwa one more time.

See you on the sand soon.
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Hello Everyone

I was a bit hesitant to pull one more drive to Liwa since we didn't have rain this year. Although, it is not unusual for our club to having drives in the past in April or May. The supporting marshals gave me confidence although we were not sure about the temperature at night.

The drive started with my cousin from home around 3 pm and reaching by 10:30 pm, so I think we were enjoying the drive more than just focusing on the destination. Once we reached the destination it was the cherry on top of the cream because the sky and camp were out from the tourist brochure :in_love:

The next day, we had a very good drive that you can't call easy but at the same time was a relaxing in way that the members couldn't feel the time that we drove 200 km from 8:30 am to 5 pm. another indicator was three of our members were running short on fuel although they had the extra fuel thumbsup

I would like to thank @Scorpio & @Booy for the support and all of you for making another sucessful event

Looking forward to see you in Ramadan Night Drives grin

Adventurous League of Mountains, Oceans and Sand Thrills
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I was really excited about this trip to Liwa. I had my first drive in Liwa 4 months ago as a newbie 20+, now the first as intermediate.

Liwa is always amazing and magic: enjoy the camp and chitchatting, high dunes and side cresting.

@David already gave a full report of the trip, so it is worth reporting also my “preparation” for the trip.


I was the least experienced in the convoy and this made me a bit uncomfortable, afraid to slow down the convoy. Preparation for the drive started on Wednesday:
* visit to @Rashidjass garage to install some extra lights: the rear light was the wrong model, so I got only the rock lights.
* I met @Scorpio and @Booy : he reassured me that the drive in Liwa was easy enough for me
* Installation took longer than expected, but at 9:30pm I was out, proud of my new lights.
* 200 m far from the garage, I crossed a truck with the crane in the opposite direction, driving with the outrigger completely extended in the middle of the road, just in front on me: I steered suddenly on the right and while I was thinking “lucky me, inshallah, I avoided a car accident, I heard a weird noise from the back. The truck hit my rear tire: cut it and broke the rim.
* I called angel @Rashidjass who came immediately to support me with the pakistani driver who barely spoke english and helped in replacing the wheel with the spare one.
The rim was to be replaced so I decided to save time and put the wheel in the cargo area.

Then, the nightmare started. The dashboard in my Rubicon was blinking and beeping as a Christmas tree: ABS, Traction control, 4WD, Sway bar, everything was reporting malfunctioning, cruise control not engaging.

I arrived at home crazy and angry at 11pm: I had to cancel my trip to Liwa. I ate something, then started googling: how could everything in the electronics fail?

Finally I found the solution: the car expects tire pressure radio signals from very specific places, not from inside the car, from the cargo area. I got out at 2am, removed the wheel, driving around home: failures gone. My trip to Liwa was almost saved, but I could not go in the middle of nowhere without a spare tire.

A HUGE thanks to @brett , who kindly offered his spare tire: picked up, packed my staff for the camp and left Dubai at 5pm.


Seriously impressed by @rapailo and @SameRaptoRed who spent 30 minutes to repair a car leaking fuel: they laid down under the car, removed the leaking hose, bypassed with 20cm of air compressor hose. MacGyver is nothing.... :-)

Unfortunately, in the late afternoon I had a problem with fuel: despite a full refill at the last petrol station and around 30-35 litres in jerry cans (to be safe with petrol expansion), my fuel sensor suddenly moved from 1 quarter to 0 fuel. We took an “easy” finale to be sure to reach the main road. Light on accelerator pedal, switched off the AC, windows down. We did many km, 11 more to reach the nearest petrol station where I got 78 litres to fill my 81 litres tank.

Lesson learned: do not be shy with jerry cans. Filling 19 liters in a 20L jerry cans should be enough to avoid petrol expansion issues.

I had some second tries, one stuck in a soft patch, but I managed with self recovery in low gear.
Overall, I am satisfied by my first drive as intermediate in Liwa: I survived ;-)

Amazing drive: enjoy the video.

Thanks to founder @alshamsi_m, marshals and the Almost4x4 mates.


If you don't care where you are, you ain't lost.
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Thank you for the trip reports and the great video...

I was hoping to read some more trip reports, as unfortunately I was the unlucky one whose car sprung a fuel leak due to a cut fuel line.

@rapailo and @SameRaptoRed showed their problem solving skills by fixing the hose, to make sure I could drive out of the desert, and actually all the way back to Dubai. They were so confident with their job that they assured me that I could even finish the entire day's drive with the convoy.... But Liwa is far and unforgiving, so better get out once you get the warning sign :)

I believe the rest of the day was very enjoyable, and happy to hear that everyone had fun.

Till next time

Blue FJ Cruiser, with an Atlas on the door
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