27-Sep-2002 -- In the late 1940s Wilfred Thesiger was the first European to visit the Liwā Oasis. "It sounded very exciting, an oasis with palm groves and villages which extended for two days’ camel journey." He had travelled by camel from Ṣalāla on the coast of Oman. He then went on the 150 miles (240 km) to Abu Dhabi, which took one week.
We made the Abu Dhabi-Liwā journey in two hours, and then headed west along the main road seen on the satellite photo. The isolated villages have now become almost one continuous strip of farmland. The satellite photo clearly shows the large, flat intra-dune areas and the huge dunes, with their steep south-east faces. The northern slopes are not nearly as steep. All that’s required is to work out a way of getting from one intra-dune area to another. The red and purple lines show possible routes we had identified, our actual track is plotted in blue. Our route to the Confluence is shown by the western track.
Our first surprise was that the dark area just to the north of the "2" on the satellite image was not farmland, but the rubbish dump for the entire area! We skirted the eastern side of it, and then had to work our way over the dunes into the next intra-dune area. A few stuck cars involved 2 hours of digging (in 38°C) before we got going again. Once onto the intra-dune, it was an easy drive to the Confluence.
On our way back we followed some vehicle tracks, and had a great drive back over the dunes to the main road.