Coronavirus: Guide to camping in the UAE amid Covid-19

Afkar Abdullah and Ismail Sebugwaawo/Dubai
Filed on October 30, 2020
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The UAE authorities have set clear guidelines and tightened security measures to ensure campers abide by Covid-19 measures.

As the winter weather sets in, camping season has officially kicked off in the UAE. This time, however, it will be a socially distanced outing and your adventure pack must include face masks and sanitisers.

The UAE authorities have set clear guidelines and tightened security measures to ensure campers abide by Covid-19 measures.

Gatherings are not allowed. In Sharjah, only families can share tents and if friends would like to come along, they will have to keep a safe distance.

In Abu Dhabi, as desert camps resumed operations last month, a set of safety rules had also been implemented. Disinfection must be carried out regularly and any person with flu-like symptoms should not be allowed entry.

Sand skiing and sand boarding equipment, horse and camel saddles, horse riding reins and falcon holders must be cleaned and disinfected after every use.

Police operations ramped up

The authorities have ramped up patrol operations in the desert, monitoring the public’s compliance with both camping rules and Covid-19 safety protocols.

The Sharjah Police, for one, have set up a mobile operations room. Maj-Gen Saif Al Zeri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of the Sharjah Police, said they are keeping an eye on quad-bikers and dune-bashers. Such desert adventures should be done responsibly and only at designated areas.

“Reckless behaviour and violations of rules may lead to accidents and result in inconvenience for families and tourists who come to these areas,” Maj-Gen Al Shamsi said.

“Following several complaints from residents living near camping areas such as Faya, Badair, Al Saifah, Al Batih, Al Dhaid and Mleiha, the Sharjah Police have recently intensified patrols to catch reckless drivers.”

Patrols are mandated to immediately confiscate the vehicles of people caught performing stunts or those driving their SUVs outside the designated zones, the officer said, adding that they will continue to run awareness campaigns.

Campers are also urged to carry a garbage bag and clean up after themselves. Those who will be caught littering will have to pay hefty fines in most places.


>Camping in unauthorised areas

>Failure to maintain social distancing

>Failure to wear masks

>Reckless driving

>Driving cars not designed for the desert

>Riding quad bikes on highways

>Performing car, motor stunts

>Failing to use safety equipment


Earlier this week, the Dubai Municipality announced that it will allow camping with caravans on the Jebel Ali Beach. A 30-day permit can be obtained through its website,

The municipality confirmed that permit issuance is free of cost. One will only have to provide a valid copy of the ownership of the caravan or trailer and a copy of his/her Emirates ID or passport (for visitors).

The Dubai Municipality clarified that the beach currently designated for this activity in the emirate is the beach in the Jebel Ali area with Makani number 0001864652.

Once the applicant enters the necessary data and documents online, the permit is issued immediately and directly, which allows the holder to camp out in the specified location for 30 days.


Jebel Hafit Desert Park

Set to open on Sunday, this cultural and adventure park offers a thrilling mix of history and beautiful natural landscapes. Among its key attractions are its 5,000-year-old ‘beehive’ tombs, some of the most famous archaeological remains in the UAE. It offers activities like biking and hiking. Those wanting to extend their stay can use the public campsite and spend the night under the stars in their own tent, or rent a traditional tent or even a luxury dome.

Al Dhafra Beach, Abu Dhabi

Located in the emirate’s western region, Al Dhafra is a historic oasis that offers a number of fun things to do. These include setting up your beach camp, a desert safari on a 4x4, fine dining under the stars, dune bashing, falconry shows and others. Taking up two-thirds of the desert in Abu Dhabi, Al Dhafra has hundreds of kilometres worth of spectacular beaches to set up a camp.

Abu Dhabi – Liwa Desert

Described as the Empty Quarter of the UAE, the Liwa desert is the world’s biggest stretch of sand and visitors should expect to be wowed as the sand dunes turn a deep rich red colour.


While popular outdoor spots include Wadi Al Amerdi, Wadi Al Shabak, Al Warqa, Al Qudra, and Al Khawaneej, residents are also opting for ‘exotic’ and glamorous locations.

The Green Planet

This attraction gives its guests a chance to spend a night in the tropical bio-dome. Located in City Walk, the indoor eco-system is home to 3,000 plants and animals. The sleepover experience in one of the dome’s tents starts from 5pm until 8am the next morning,

Sonara Camp, Dubai Desert Conservation area

For those seeking a more luxurious experience, the Sonara Camp could treat you to a sumptuous dinner under the stars as well as desert activities like camel rides, archery, and a moonlight cinema for the kids. After all that, you get to relax in the comfort of a plush nomad-style tent.

(With inputs from Dhanusha Gokulan)

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