Liwa is a large oasis area in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and is located to the north of the Rub’ al Khali desert. It stretches like an arch to the north and comprises of approximately 50 villages with Muzayri serving as the main geographic and economic centre.
Being the southern most settlements of Abu Dhabi, this area is in close proximity to UAE’s border with Saudi Arabia and while the Arabian Gulf and the city of Abu Dhabi lie to the south and the south-west respectively the border in this region is not porous and hence does not facilitate crossings. However, the oasis is well connected to the city of Abu Dhabi courtesy of a contemporary multi-lane highway which has recently been built.
It is in the Liwa Oasis that the ruling families of the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi had originated and lived for many years. The exodus to the bigger cities occurred in 1793 when one ruling family shifted to Abu Dhabi and the other to Dubai.
Being an oasis, there is not much choice in terms of occupation for the people and the two traditional means of earning an income are date farming and pearl diving. Date farming is carried out with the help of drip farming and greenhouse effect and pearl diving in the summer months by members of the Bani Yas tribe is an additional source of income. Adding to this figure is the revenue incurred from the upcoming tourism industry in the area and the subsequent establishment of three, four and five star hotels.
One of the noteworthy tourist attractions in the area is the Moreeb sand dune, which is one of the largest sand dunes in the world and serves as a venue for the Liwa festival. It is worth visiting the area during this festival as its vibrant atmosphere and unique entertainment options like came racing are once-in-a-lifetime experiences.