Go BACK to all UAE pics

Megabarchans of Liwa

The Liwa Oasis is an arcuate string of developments on the northern edge of a unique and massive collection of giant dunes - megabarchans. These features are impossibly big, and try as we might, we could not quite capture the scale of them in these images. Some measure 300 m in height and over 1 km in width and have developments and roads on them (somehow) and date palm fields in the "canyons" between them. They were truly mountains of sand. We departed south from the cozy and refreshing Liwa Hotel toward Moreeb Dune, the site of major offroading competitions. The big dune itself is heavily crossed with tracks and is somewhat cordoned off, so we visited the interdune of the next big dune north of Moreeb. This was perhaps my favorite day, because we visited the range of morphologies in a megadune/interdune. I spent time looking at the salty and muddy interdune, we walked (and Ralph paced out) the extent of the small, marching interdune barchans, we walked/drove the entire interdune to the barchan arm and we walked partly up this arm to see some enigmatic red sands I could see from a distance. It turns out these are quite large (maybe 1 mm?), beautiful grains of red translucent quartz that accumulate on the stoss slope of the megas. Finally, we drove back to the massive slip face that I then decided to march up in the heat of the day to ride down with a sand board. I hope the picture I took from the top demonstrates just how high this felt to hike (don't forget two steps up, one back..). We had the added treat of being visited by some Emirati falconers who patiently watched my slow progress down hill on the sand board and then let us hold their beautiful birds.

GPS track of drive on Google Earth:

Download the .kmz file

GPS track of our dune in relation to Moreeb:

GPS track of interdune journey:

Panorama from dune summit:

VIDEO:

Ralph tries his hand at the not-so-fast SAND BOARD.

All pics are below.

P1080483 P1080484 P1080485
P1080487 P1080489 P1080491
P1080493 P1080494 P1080495
P1080496 P1080497 P1080500
P1080501 P1080502 P1080503
P1080504 P1080505 P1080506
P1080507 P1080508 P1080509
P1080510 P1080511 P1080512
P1080513 P1080514 P1080516
P1080517 P1080519 P1080520
P1080522 P1080523 P1080524
P1080526 P1080527 P1080528
P1080529 P1080532 P1080533
P1080536 P1080537 P1080538
P1080539 P1080540 P1080541
P1080542 P1080543 P1080544
P1080546 P1080550 P1080551
P1080553 P1080554 P1080555
P1080562 P1080564 P1080570
P1080571 P1080573 P1080576
P1080577 P1080588 P1080589
P1080590 P1080590P111299 P1080592
P1080593 P1080594 P1080596
P1080597 P1080599 P1080602
P1080603 P1080604 P1080606
P1080607 P1080608 P1080609
Please credit Jani Radebaugh, thank you!