For some people, gunning the accelerator on the open road is not as exhilarating as going off the beaten track. There is something liberating about inching up mountainous terrain or gliding across sand dunes. With no roads, other cars, or crowds to speak of, you are free to do whatever you want.
Driving a sturdy 4×4 or pickup lets you unleash your inner rebel. There are no rules here, nor schedules to follow just you and the vast expanse before you.
If this type of trip speaks to your soul, you’re in luck. A company offering pickup rental in Dubai shares a list of the best places around the world to go on an off-road adventure.
1. Sahara Desert
Not for the faint of heart, or those who can’t handle the heat, the Sahara Desert is a must for serious off-roaders. The desert covers much of Africa, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Red Sea in the east and the Mediterranean up north. With such a vast expanse of uninhabitable land, it appears to be the ideal environment to let the metal animal loose.
But experienced drivers know better than to push the pedal to the metal. As tempting as it may seem to find out how fast your four-wheel drive vehicle can go, it is not a recommended practice. The hot sand and rough terrain can cause your tires to wear out quicker.
As much as possible, follow the tracks you see, as this indicates areas where the sand is packed and most stable. It may be different from your expectations, but this protects your vehicle from breaking down during the drive.
Once you have had your fill of natural canyons, salt marshes, plateaus, and dunes, take a trip to Morocco. There are villages along the southern portion of the country with places where you can take in some of the local culture while you rest, relax and stock up on supplies.
There are plenty of excellent spots in the USA for adventure seekers. The Rubicon Trail in California, for one, boasts of many challenging areas made for the more confident and experienced drivers. With the trail passing through the mountain ranges of Sierra Nevada, you may want to drive slowly to enjoy all the stunning panoramic views along the way.
While you’re there, don’t miss out on some of the most well-known challenges, including the Devil’s Postpile, the Little Sluice, and the Big Sluice, as well as Cadillac Hill, among others. The trail terminates at Lake Tahoe, where you and your passengers can end your arduous trip in one of the many resorts and spas in the area.
Are you looking for a place to test your mettle? Check out The Black Bear Pass in Colorado, which features some of the most dangerous off-road trails in the country. Only best and the bravest dare try out this trail.
The roads here are only 8 feet wide, with one side against the cliff’s wall and a 1,000-foot drop on the other. With paths made from loose shale, and hairpin turns at every corner, each move needs to be precise to get you back down safely.
To top off this list from the USA, we have the trails at Moab. Located in the southeastern parts of Utah, this desolate place welcomes thousands of visiting thrillseekers every year. Some have enjoyed it to the point that they never leave – and with good reason.
There are plenty of things to do in this part of the country, and not just for 4×4 wheel drivers. With varying types of terrain available here, travelers have the option of hiking, climbing, mountain biking, or even trying their hand at rafting. It is the ideal spot for all types of outdoor activities, regardless of your interest and skill.
3. Baja California, Mexico
South of the border, far from the Sea of Cortez, lies this rugged landscape: the Baja California Peninsula. Explore the rough topography in an equally rugged Hummer or Jeep Wrangler. If you want to travel in comfort, try a Dodge Durango or a Land Rover Range Rover.
Baja’s stretch of land is ideal for other outdoor pursuits, not just for UTVs or other four-wheel drives. For decades, residents of the rock-strewn roads have witnessed a plethora of racers driving other vehicles: motorbikes, cars, buggies, and even trucks.
And then, there are the races.
On two separate occasions during the year, the area plays host to two of the most action-filled races around: the Baja 500 and Baja 1,000. Here, you can watch other people take their dirt bikes, four-wheel drives, trucks, and even customized racing vehicles to their limits. The rules here are few, and mobile signals are weak, so it’s recommended that you have several backup plans ready in case of an emergency.
Much like the USA, the UAE offers plenty of areas for off-road vehicles. Places such as the Wahiba Sands in Oman and the Rub Al Khali, for instance, offer miles and miles of just sand and dunes. Sign up with a local adventure company or rent an off-road vehicle and head out there yourself – either way, it’s an expedition you won’t be forgetting any time soon.
For beginners, give the Al Hayer Forests a go. A gem in the middle of the desert, the forests provide plenty of trails that are suited for people new to off-road driving. A camping spot is located in the area, which makes for an ideal resting ground after your adventure.
Not to be confused with the previous entry, the Al Hajer mountain ranges go from Ras Al Khaimah to Oman. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, you can find off-roading and even hiking trails best suited for your skills and experience.
There are areas suitable for individual travelers, families, and groups alike. Wadi Naqab, for instance, is ideal if you are traveling with your friends or family. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a heart-pumping ride, drive to Jebel Yabir instead, known as the highest point in the UAE.
Regardless of where you live or travel to, you can find an off-roading course you can try out. Liberate yourself and get to driving today.
As Co-founder and Key Account Manager for UAEdriving.com, Felin is responsible for translating the vision of UAEdriving.com into an easy-to-use online car rental portal for our customers. She holds a Bachelor in Commerce degree from the Pune University, India (2013) as well as a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Pune University, India (2015).