Look: 700 off-roaders experience thrill of KT Desert Drive

Adventurers tackle varying levels of challenging terrain, covering a stretch of more than 100km in Ras Al Khaimah



KT photos by Neeraj Murali
KT photos by Neeraj Murali

By Ehaab Qadeer

Published: Sun 27 Nov 2022, 12:36 AM

Last updated: Sun 27 Nov 2022, 8:20 AM

Some adrenaline-pumping action sent around 700 adventurers to the breathtaking slopes and the best sceneries of the Ras Al Khaimah desert on Saturday. From first-time off-roaders to those who join the pack every year, participants of the fourth KT Desert Drive said they ‘loved every second’ of the experience.

“This is the perfect event for off-roading enthusiasts of all levels,” said Suhail Galadari, Co-Chairman of Galadari Brothers. “With so many marshals, marked checkpoints, rescue companies, and experienced volunteers, it is a great way to enjoy dune-bashing for people, irrespective of whether it is their first drive or 50th.”

After the 9am flag-off at the emirate’s Al Hamra Golf Resort, the drive took the pack to varying levels of challenging terrain, covering a stretch of more than 100km.

KT Desert Drive is one of the most important events in the annual calendar of Khaleej Times,” said Mohammed Galadari, Co-Chairman of Galadari Brothers. “It is amazing to see hundreds of people coming out with their friends and families to enjoy the drive and the dune-bashing. It goes to show how the event is increasing in popularity every year.”

Mohamed Yahya Kazi Meeran, Group CEO and Director, Galadari Brothers, said holding such events is important in building camaraderie between residents.

“When there are hundreds of people, all helping each other and partaking in a common activity, it helps build bonds and friendships that could potentially last a lifetime,” he said.

“In this post-pandemic era when mental health has taken centre stage, drives like these help people relax and enjoy themselves. The Galadari Brothers Group will make every effort to continue bringing people together.”

Scenic drive

With the morning sun tempered by the winter breeze, the pack of 4x4s and SUVs drove past the serene streets of Ras Al Khaimah and into the raw beauty of the desert.

The unique experience offers participants the opportunity to self-drive their 4X4 vehicles in a guided convoy while enjoying the view of the UAE’s golden sand dunes.

Besides multiple checkpoints and signage, expert marshals guided the adventurers every step of the way, ensuring a safe environment at all times.

Floran, a French expat, was among those who drove through the desert for the first time. “I’ve heard a lot about the KT Desert Drive and I was really excited to hit the dunes” he said. “I am glad that there were so many experienced people here to help me out.”

The annual road trip has always been one of the most eagerly awaited events of the year.

Kami, an Australian expat, had been looking forward to the drive. “I’ve gone dune-bashing before but with this pack… it feels exhilarating,” said the resident who has been living in the country for more than five years now.

“The location is incredibly good and dune-bashing in Ras Al Khaimah is absolutely fascinating.”

Specially designed routes

The desert activity was a rare escape in Ras Al Khaimah for many. For some it was their first time ever driving through the desert, while for others it was a family day out. For yet others, it was the event's energy and the bonhomie among participants that brought them back to participate and keeps them coming every year.

The carefully thought-out route saw drivers make their way through varying levels of terrain, from easy ones to the toughest slopes. Marshals and rescue teams were all on standby to ensure safety.

As part of the adventure, the off-roaders were treated to a host of games, delicious food and several giveaways. At the end of the drive, a sumptuous dinner feast — complete with live entertainment — awaited the pack.

Oscar Rivoli, Managing Director, Trading Enterprises, said: “We are proud of our longstanding relationship with Khaleej Times and are delighted to have supported the Desert Drive on behalf of Trading Enterprises Jeep. It was a great opportunity to have fun, make friends, and enjoy a fine day in the desert. Our dunes-native brand, Jeep, is amazing at both on-road and off-road capabilities. Whether on rough ground or in heavy city traffic, the Jeep fleet is ready for anything.”

The KT Desert Drive was sponsored by Jeep Trading Enterprises (lead sponsor) with Al Hamra Golf Club (hospitality partner); powered by Goodyear Tyres (strategic sponsor); Castrol (lubricant partner); and Agthia – (water partner); CAFU (mobile fueling partner); Nature Valley (nutrition partner); signage sponsor – Ajooba.

Besides these sponsors, breakfast partner was Nando’s and lunch sponsors were Abela & Co. In addition, fresh fruits partner was The Fresh Market, and the checkpoints were sponsored by Jollibee. The healthcare partner was Fakeeh University Hospital.

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