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Moreb dune, the highest in the UAE

Updated on 03.06.2018

The Moreb Dune (Moreeb Dune, Al Moreb Hill, Tal Mor'eb) lies on the border of the UAE, in the far south of the Al Gharbia region , attached to the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Moreeb dune in the Liwa desert, Al Gharbia region, emirate of Abu Dhabi ©Odyfolio

The dune is considered the highest in the United Arab Emirates, with its 300 meters high. It is dedicated to motor sports throughout the year, and especially at the Liwa International Festival Moreeb Dune. Those who are not particularly fan of rugged off-road vehicles will also find their happiness on the road that leads to it, which is one of the most beautiful in the country.

The highest dune in the United Arab Emirates

The dune of Moreeb is considered the largest of the United Arab Emirates. Sources differ on its height, the official site of the tourist office mentions an altitude of about 300 meters, but this would take into account the elevation from the sea level. The height from its base would rather be order of 120 meters. Other sources give it a rise from the sea level of 206 meters. Its steep slope offers a slope between 40 and 50 degrees, which delight motor sports enthusiasts.

Its Arabic name Tal Moreeb means the dune of horror, in reference to the difficulty that 4x4 drivers have in climbing it. And so in English we call it Moreeb Dune.

A beautiful road

The Moreb Dune is located in the far south of the Al Gharbia region. When you are on the main road of the Liwa Oasis that crosses from east to west, join the locality of Mezaira'a. At the main roundabout not far from the petrol station take the West direction. You will see perched on a hill the hotel Liwa. A little further down the side of the road there is a small fort, then on the left a police station. Just after a roundabout, turn left towards Liwa Guest House. Then stay on the main road, it will take you after 30 minutes drive to the Moreeb dune. It is difficult to be wrong, except perhaps at the beginning at the roundabout: what must be remembered is that you should never turn right.

When you travel through the Al Gharbia area along the main roads, you can be disappointed that the view is not endless desert. It is true that the four-lane highway framed by rows of lampposts, a fence and palm trees reveals little of the magnificent desert that extends to infinity. Secondary roads, where they exist, provide access to urbanized areas and there are few interesting points of view.

Road leading to the Moreeb Dune, in the Liwa desert, emirate of Abu Dhabi ©Odyfolio

Tips for watching the sunset

On the other hand, the road leading to the Moreeb Dune is a jewel of the UAE road atlas: it is a simple two-lane winding road with no lampposts, fences and palm trees sinking into one of the zones. the most inhospitable in the world.

Watching the sunset in the Liwa desert is an unforgettable experience, and a staple of your trip to the UAE. The deeper we go into the desert, the better the view. Because it is necessary to find a site where the influence of the man is the smallest, without buildings in sight, away from any visual and sound pollution. But here, these conditions are difficult to find when you are a simple tourist. It's hard to go into the desert with a two-wheel drive vehicle, and not easy also with an all-terrain vehicle if you do not have the experience of driving in the desert. This is why this the Moreeb Dune road is a good option for you to go deep in the desert.

It is not necessary to have an all-terrain vehicle to use this road, but you have to be careful because more or less thick sandbanks can partially cover it. If there is a lot of sand, it is best not to use the night road.

As indicated in other articles presenting attractions in the desert, do not park your vehicle on the low side because you would get stuck in it. Two wheels at just thirty centimeters outside the asphalt are enough to immobilize a car. Fortunately, parking areas are set up at various points, which makes it possible to stop safely to take pictures.

If you are in any terrain, beware of large expanses of wet sand that can immobilize the most valiant 4x4.

As indicated in our article Routes in the Al Gharbia region, it may be interesting to visit the Moreeb dune in the evening, the sun's rays are beautiful, as is the sunset.

Do not underestimate the time needed to travel this route of about 30 kilometers. Thirty minutes rolling normally, but the beauty of the landscape will make you drive slow, so better to count between 45 and 60 minutes stops photos included. Thus, to admire the sunset, we advise you to leave the main road at least 90 minutes before dark.

Sunset over a dune in the Liwa desert, United Arab Emirates ©Odyfolio

Extreme motor sports on the dune

The dune of Moreeb and its surroundings is very frequented by roaring 4x4s, crazy buggies and intrepid motocross. Do not start climbing if the activity of these machines is too important. To climb the dune safely, walk along the fence.

At the base of the dune, the facilities seem disproportionate. They are actually sized for the Liwa International Festival which organizes every year on the dune of Moreeb a competition. Vehicles compete in several categories, and the fastest to reach the top wins. Of course the engines are boosted, because a classic all-terrain vehicle would be out of breath halfway.

The festival is held in late December early January. Period to be discouraged if you prefer calm ... or to privilege if you are a fan of Fast and Furious!

Buggy on the road to the Moreeb Dune in the Liwa Desert, United Arab Emirates ©Odyfolio

How to access the dune of Moreeb

The road to the Moreeb Dune is one of our favorite places to watch a sunset. Our recommended locations are on your right (in the direction of return): these are the first two car parks. They have the advantage of allowing to park one's car safely and to have an unobstructed view, without construction or relay of mobile phone. Feel free to walk 10-15 minutes into the dunes to reach a location that suits you. Once the sun is down, we advise you to return to your car before dark, and ideally to have reached the main highway of the Liwa Oasis, which is then 30 minutes drive.

Map of the Moreeb Dune in the Liwa Desert, United Arab Emirates ©OpenStreetMap contributors

To see also in the region

In a completely different register, we advise you to visit some strongholds of the road of the forts of the Oasis of Liwa. The route starts near the Anantara Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort, which is undoubtedly the most beautiful establishment in the region with those of Sir Bani Yas Island. If you're looking for a good-value hotel, join Tital Liwa Hotel which is about a 45-minute drive away.