Surrounded by sun-bronzed sand dunes, Zafir sits on the cusp of sand dunes in the Empty Quarter. It's part of Al Gharbia, an ancient region that offers a fascinating glimpse at traditional Bedouin culture and is lined with ancient landmarks.
Things to do
Fed by underground springs, Liwa sits in the heart of the Al Gharbia desert. It's one of the Arabian Peninsula's most famous towns, dotted with luxury hotels that feature sparkling swimming pools and lush grounds.
One of the tallest sand dunes in the world, Tel Moreeb rises almost 300 metres high. It's part of the Empty Quarter, the world's largest continuous sand desert. In fact, the sprawling sea of sand covers most of the Arabian Peninsula and is larger than France. The best way to visit Tel Moreeb is by a 4WD or quad bike tour.
Al Gharbia is steeped in history, which makes it a fantastic place to discover ancient Bedouin traditions. You can go on scenic horse-riding trips through the desert, sign up for a camel trek or participate in falconry encounters and stargazing experiences.
Around 300 years old, the Liwa Forts were built using little more than straw and mud bricks. Tour the ancient strongholds, including the Jabbana Fort, and learn how Al Gharbia desert tribes defended themselves against raiders from Qatar. The forts are especially beautiful at sunset when they take on a golden glow.
The easiest way to explore Zafir and the Al Gharbia region is with a rental car or by hiring a private driver. Zafir is around 250 kilometres from Abu Dhabi, with the drive taking 2.5 hours. Local buses also depart from Liwa's Mezairaa Bus Station.