UAE Offroaders is a family oriented club devoted to desert safaris and exploring the great outdoors. Initially formed in September 2009, the club reinforces strict measures to ensure safety of all individuals whether a driver or a passenger - intriguingly they train amateurs also known as rookies how to drive in the desert terrain (must have a tough 4x4) through gradual sessions with a professional.
Once the individual has reached the peak of learning and can drive successfully they are promoted from rookie to an official UAE Offroaders marshal - meaning they can train and conduct desert safaris on behalf of the club and lead a team of amateurs into the desert. In a typical week, the Al Ain branch runs six trips especially during the cooler, winter weather. The areas they explore in Al Ain are: Sweihan, Saad , Zakher and Khazna regions. The picturesque view of the sand dunes, camels and desert scenery is bound to leave anyone breathless. Notably, an opportunity to take a trip with the club gives you a chance to join other individuals from all walks of life that you may not ordinarily be able to meet on a daily basis. So, why not take the challenge and get connected.
For weeks I had been excited about my desert trip and when the day finally came, I was ecstatic like a little kid going to the zoo for the first time. I was going for a 'rookies' desert trip and was invited by Marina Bruce, a UAE Offroader who rose to the ranks of a club marshal from a mere rookie! I was lucky to be riding with Marina in her FJ Cruiser Hummer. It is a very powerful car for the desert terrain and it aided my adrenaline rush. The trip began with a convoy of five (4X4) drivers following closely behind us to the Saad area. It was a sight to behold - like that out of a movie for a presidential escort. Once we had settled at the Saad area, the UAE Offroaders' marshals took the time to give us brief safety and precaution measures on what is expected of us and what to do in case of emergency. Once this was underway, I took the opportunity to mingle with other 'rookies' that had come for the trip while all the cars were being deflated to a suitable level. We headed back to our cars and embarked on the desert safari that was ahead of us. As we headed off into the desert, we caught a glimpse of a caravan of Majahinn and Asayel camels with a Bedouin man leading them.
The rookies were given a chance to learn the driving techniques in the desert terrain and as Marina pointed out, "this could all be very tricky, especially since some areas have soft sand - it's all about control really." After an hour or so of rookie training and myself enjoying every bit of the ride we camped at a dune and had our lunch as a group. This gave me the chance to socialize with the other members but after a little while my attention was diverted to a land cruiser that was displaying some thrilling moves in the desert sand, from swirling, to bashing and almost `shalling.' I was quickly informed that the driver was Ayub, a Bahraini whom belonged to the rank of a marshal with the club. After a few stares and marvels I was asked if I would like a ride with Ayub. As if I had been waiting for the chance, I jumped into the car without any regrets and trust me the ride was worth the wait; the marshals continued training for the better part of the day and I enjoying the ride and the view of the sand dunes.
The trip came to an end about quarter to four at which time we made a pit stop to enjoy each other's company along with some warm Arabic coffee.