First, here is a little more about the Liwa Desert, also known as Rub’ al Khali. This translates as “Quarter of Emptiness”. Entirely suitable name for a vast sand sea spread across Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates. Extending over 255,000 square miles, this is the world’s largest uninterrupted sand desert. The Sahara Desert is more geographically impressive at 15 times the raw size, but where that desert has gravel plains and rocky outcrops, The Empty Quarter is sand, sand, and more sand.
Following a day of dune bashing, poolside relaxing, and camel trekking anything else could be hard to top. We start the morning up before sunrise again to take a run out into the desert for some fat tire biking. Considering it is ‘high’ season for travel, we have been fortunate to be at such a luxurious resort without the crowds. Two of the three excursions we booked have had our own private guide.
Is it fat time biking, or fatness on a bike??? We knew biking through the dunes would be challenging, but never thought the thin air would be such a factor (or are we just out of shape??). Of course who isn’t looking forward to cruising down the dunes at high speeds, problem is to go down you have to go up. Soft sand, compiled with desert conditions made this quite a challenge. Our guide, originally from Pakistan, made everything more amazing as we passed through the oasis, stopping to learn about the history, government, and flora and fauna of UAE.
Apparently our resort is used by quite a list of who’s who around the world. One villa is reserved at all times for only Royalty (whether they use it or not). Recently the resort was booked out for the filming of the most recent Star Wars movie. A few weeks ago the resort was taken over by political figures from around the world, with armed military guards surrounding every inch around the resort for protection. It was a secret meeting and he couldn’t really discuss a lot about it.Drones were used throughout the desert to keep close watch. We also learned that six miles from the resort is the military checkpoint from Saudi Arabia.
The setting couldn’t be more amazing! The rolling dunes made for unforgettable treks, amazing photography, and endless wondering of what was over that next dune. In reality, it was just another dune, ha, but every hike kept us intrigued to wander more. Our hikes were done barefoot! Even though we stayed cautious of the many desert sand creatures: snakes, scorpions, lizards, geckos, etc. All we would encounter were cool tracks, and an interesting imagination of what we might be stepping on.
The last, but certainly not least we need to re-visit our resort, Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara. If you ever find yourself over this way, it would be a huge detriment if you did not stop at this resort. Everything was TOP NOTCH: the facility, the staff, the rooms, the amenities,the service, the food, the list goes on and on. We were simply blown away. Not a detail to spare, five plus resort!