Charge up your UAE camping trip

The UAE desert totals 90 per cent of the country, making it the biggest and most remote campsite you can imagine – and February to March is the perfect time to fire up the EV and hit the open road.

With temperatures averaging 22°C, you’re guaranteed warm, sunny days on the dunes and cosy nights snuggled up around a roaring campfire. And best of all? No other cars or campers as far as the eye can see.

From coastal coves to lakeside lounging, there are plenty of options for relaxation, plus endless high-octane activities in the dunes. Before you set off into the sunset, however, there are a few things to consider. 

Firstly, make sure your electric vehicle is fully charged and that your tyres are in a fit state for tackling rough terrain. It’s also a good idea to plan your route and check your fluid levels when setting off on a long drive in any hot country. Finally, make sure your phone is also fully juiced and that you share your location with pals, especially if you’re planning on going off the beaten track.

Al Qudra Lakes is a great destination for a camping trip and just 50km out of Dubai.

Benefits of camping in an EV 

Aside from the obvious environmental benefits of camping with an electric car, there are also a tonne of practical perks.

Depending on your vehicle, you could use your car’s battery as a power source for a portable fridge, a travel kettle or an electric cooker, perfect for a desert barbeque.

One of these V2G (Vehicle to Grid) cars is the BYD ATTO 3, which is now available to buy in the UAE. Equipped with “mobile power station technology”, the car can power devices directly, easing you into nomad life gently. 

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 and its sister car, the Kia EV6 also have V2L (Vehicle to Load) functionality and are available in the UAE. Ford’s F-150 Lightning pickup truck also provides both V2L and V2H which adds to its considerable functionality, along with several other EVs currently available.

It’s also a good idea to invest in some solar chargers to stick on your car’s roof while you set up camp. These panels can charge the EV’s auxiliary battery, which can then be used to power camping equipment or accessories.

Fossil Rock provides stunning scenery, with the benefit of an EV charging point at the Mleiha Archaeological Centre.

Where to go?

Hatta

Hatta is a great option for first-time campers who aren’t quite ready to head off into the wilderness. With a range of dedicated campsites dotted around the area, you can soak up the spectacular beauty of the area’s rugged mountains and serene dam, without ever straying too far from your creature comforts. There are also several EV charging points in Hatta including DEWA charging points at ENOC Petrol Station on Dubai-Hatta Road, Hatta Public Library and DEWA Customer Happiness Centre.

Liwa Desert

The Liwa desert, or the Empty Quarter as it is better known, is the ultimate camping experience. Set amid a sea of sand dunes, the 650,000 square kilometre expanse stretches over the borders of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Oman, promising otherworldly tranquillity and starry skies like you’ve never seen before. If possible, set off with a full charge before heading off into the desert, though there are also charging points at Liwa Hospital and Madinat Zayed Hospital if you’re running low.

Al Dhafra Beach

If sleeping under the stars while the waves lap the shore sounds appealing, then look no further than Al Dhafra Beach. Taking up two-thirds of the desert in Abu Dhabi, there are hundreds of kilometres of sand to pitch your tent. Head west on the E11 towards Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort (which also houses a charging station) and follow the roadside signs that lead you to the water’s edge.

Al Qudra Lakes

Al Qudra Lakes is another safe spot for the uninitiated, offering stunning nature just 50km from Dubai. Expect a somewhat busier spot here, with lots of families and groups flocking to the dunes for a sunset picnic or barbecue. As the daytime crowds clear, you might be lucky enough to see some desert wildlife, including Arabian oryx, gazelles, desert foxes and even migratory birds. Close-by charging stations include Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa and a DEWA charger at Al Lisaili Park.

Fossil Rock

For a dose of culture with your camping thrills, head to Fossil Rock in Sharjah, which borders Mleiha Archaeological Centre. The rock’s slopes are plastered with marine fossils (hence the name), while the presence of iron oxide gives the sand a vibrant orange-red hue. The archaeological centre itself often hosts stargazing and nature retreats or pitch up atop a towering dune for unparalleled sunset views. The centre also has an EV charging point, as most main roads leading out of the city, including Al Badayer Retreat on Dubai-Hatta Road and Suyoh Mall.

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27 Feb, 2024