Heading into the Rub Al Khali
The Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter) is the world's longest uninterrupted sweep of sand dunes, traversing Saudi Arabia all the way down to Yemen, but its northern tip creeps into the United Arab Emirates, brushing against Liwa Oasis. Although you can get close-up views of the dune fields from the oasis – with the best vistas along the road to Moreeb Dune – you're not going to appreciate the sheer scope of this harsh, dramatic landscape unless you get out there among the dunes yourself.
Once the road runs out, the scale of the desert is revealed with mammoth rolling dunes, tinged delicate rose-pink to near-neon orange, swooping down to white-streaked salt pans and rippling out to the horizon.
Unless you've been properly trained in 4WD off-road driving and are fully equipped for desert safety measures, you're going to need to take a tour. For those who want to head away from the typical tour itineraries and have off-road driving skills, Arabian Tours offers a tag-along service, which gives you the peace of mind of an experienced desert driver leading you in convoy. Itineraries from half-day to weeks-long can be arranged. The firm also runs normal 4WD desert tours, rents 4WDs and runs desert-driving half-day courses.