Overnight Camping in the UAE: The Best Campsites, What to Bring, and More
Blog written on 01-08-2022
Top Five Campsites in the UAE
While there are quite a few campsites in the UAE to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to five. All of these campsites have their own unique appeal, and I know you’ll enjoy them all. Here are the top five campsites to visit in the UAE:
Liwa is an oasis located in the southern part of Abu Dhabi. If you want a camping trip, Liwa is the place to go! While there are a few hotels in the Empty Quarter in Liwa, there aren't any in the rest of the area. It’s a serene spot in the great desert to settle for a night under twinkling stars.
Al Qudra Lakes
The Al Qudra Lakes is the emirate of Dubai’s outdoor gem. These freshwater lakes are entirely man-made and a premier tourist attraction. If you want to make friends with other campers or have a barbecue under the desert stars, this is the campsite to visit! The lakes are very family-friendly, and sometimes it can get a bit noisy. If you’d like to learn more, here’s a post about how to plan your city escape to Al Qudra.
Do you find world history fascinating? Then you’ll love camping near Fossil Rock, located in the emirate of Sharjah. This massive stone formation is embedded with fossilized sea creatures! Due to the movement of the Earth over the past few years, they’ve somehow ended up in the middle of the desert! It’s one of those campsites in the UAE that you just have to see for yourself. You’ll want to camp overnight if you want to examine all of the fossils thoroughly.
Right off the coast of the emirate of Fujairah, there’s a sight that you might be familiar with. It’s a giant island that looks like the sleeping silhouette of the cartoon character Snoopy, hence the name Snoopy Island! This campsite is also a popular tourist destination for watersports, swimming, diving, and snorkeling. Get ready to get your feet wet if you’re looking to visit Snoopy Island.
One of my favorite campsites in the UAE is the quiet and serene Acacia Forest, located near the UAE-Oman border. There aren’t many natural green spaces in the country, which makes the Acacia Forest so unique. The forest is also nestled between the mountains of Musandam, which makes it perfect for campers looking to do a bit of hiking as well.
What to bring on your camping trip in the UAE
If you’re thinking of camping overnight in the UAE, you need to gear up accordingly. Here’s everything you need to bring when camping in the UAE:
Food and water
The desert heat makes food and drink taste so much sweeter. It’s also a good idea to bring more food and drink than you think you may need. After all, you wouldn’t want to run out of snacks when the nearest city is a few dozen kilometers away.
You’ll need to bring a cooler with raw food if you're setting up for a barbecue. Due to the culture in the UAE, you’ll have a hard time finding pork sausages (or any other kind of pork for that matter). There is one supermarket called Spinney's that has pork, but it's quite expensive. For protein, you might want to stick to chicken, fish, or beef. If you’re setting up a barbecue or campfire, you’ll need to bring your own…
Being a desert nation, the UAE isn’t particularly known for its abundance of kindling. Before heading to your preferred campsite, you’ll want to buy firewood somewhere else. Once you have some on hand, you can have all the barbeque and smores you could want!
These are a no-brainer, especially if you’re camping in the desert. You’ll need a sturdy tent if you want to sleep soundly when camping. Make sure your tent doesn’t have any holes or openings. Waking up with sand in your sleeping bag is not fun (believe me).
An extra off-road tyre
You’ll likely be using a car to get to your preferred camping site if you’re not already traveling with a group. Naturally, make sure you’re bringing an extra tyre. It would be a significant inconvenience if one were to blow while you’re hours away from civilization. Also, you should save your GPS location and share it with a friend. Keep your insurance details ready, so you can call for help if you get stuck.
Camping is almost always more fun with friends! One of our most popular trips is to the desert, and we camp out under the stars. You don't need to bring friends with you - you'll make them on the trip. Browse our Experiences page to see some of our previous trips.
If you’re more of a solo traveler, then be sure to read our article on the golden rules of solo traveling in the UAE!
What to do during your overnight camping trip in the UAE
Now that you know where to go and what to bring on your next camping trip in the UAE, you need to know what to do. Here are four activities you can try at most, if not all, of these campsites!
Barbecue under the stars
With some kindling and some meat to barbecue, you can have a relaxing barbecue with friends under the desert sky. I recommend Liwa and the Acacia Forest if you want a desert barbecue. Just put the fire out once you’re done if you choose the latter.
Take some travel photos
What camping trip is complete without some memorable travel photos? The UAE is home to some amazing natural and manmade sights, like Fossil Rock, Snoopy Island, and the Al Qudra Lakes. If you’re visiting any of these campsites, take some travel photos–and they better be good ones!
Not sure how to take amazing, Instagrammable travel photos? Check out our article on how to take some great shots!
Bring some travel games
You can find travel-sized games to pack in your gear. What’s more fun than bonding over a classic game of monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, or your favourite card games? Or try newer games like Azul or Catan. You’ll create all the inside jokes to solidify your new friendships.
Read a book
Now I know what you might be thinking: “Are you seriously suggesting I go all the way to some of the most amazing campsites in the UAE to read a book?” That’s exactly what I’m saying! There’s no better place to relax and unwind than a place where you’re free from the distractions of city life. The serenity of reading outdoors with the sun and wind lightly caressing your face is a feeling unlike any other.
Not a fan of reading books? Why not read some of our articles on our blog instead to learn more about the UAE? Once you’re done, you can check out our adventures and book a trip with us. Be sure to follow our Instagram, too, for the latest updates!
I’m a travel curator who has visited over 30 countries and is currently based in Dubai. For more of Tingu Travel’s experiences, you can follow us on Instagram and Tik Tok @tingutravel