By Shanti Kalyaan
A tough and challenging drive in a 4WD - that is what wadi/dune bashing is all about.
The Emirates have vast areas of wilderness to explore, what with the wadis, mountains and the deserts stretching out for simply miles around. Wadis are dry riverbeds following the course of seasonal streams and rivers through rocky valleys naturally carved out by flood waters. Best time to hit the wadis is between October and April. (see pic of a wadi below)
Things you should know:
Basic Equipment for driving
- When you are going for the first time, it is better to have an experienced wadi driver in tow. One should know about driving on hills and river crossings and use of an appropriate choice of gears. Don't have a 4-wheel drive? Hire one from car rental companies
- Though driving in the mountains and wadis is fairly undemanding (for a good driver), desert driving is quite tough. Contrary to what you think, driving on sand can be quite dicey. Make sure that the tyres are deflated to between half and two thirds of road pressure for better traction in soft sand. (Not too much deflation though, or your tyres may get damaged!)
- Be careful when you go over the top of a dune. Once you take care of this, speeding on dunes can be quite fun and novel when compared to driving on tarmac roads! Your car might get stuck too, but that just adds to the fun!
- Remember it is easy to get lost in the desert, since dunes look very similar. Take a compass, take note of mountains or other landmarks. Also let others know your route beforehand. First timers, contact people who organise everything for you. Contact tour companies who offer desert and mountain safaris
- Fossil Rock, along the Sharjah-Al Dhaid route, is a popular area for exploring, camping, wadi/dune driving.
- Spade and Shovels
- Strong tow ropes
- Pressure gauge
- Foot Pump or Compressor
- Planks of Wood
- Full tool Car Kit
- Good Spare Wheel
- Car Jack
- Extra Petrol and Water
Basic Equipment for Camping