Camping Dibba & Getting SUV Stuck in the Sand

This post may contain affiliate links where, at no additional cost to you, I receive a small commission when products are purchased through those links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Any commisions earned helps keep this site sustainable. Click here for privacy policy.

Dibba Beach
Dibba Beach

After our first camping mis-adventure slash practice run at Jebel Ali beach, we were itching to try our hand at camping again and decided it was time to head out a little further from home. I had heard from a few expats that Dibba by the Golden Tulip hotel was a good camping spot for novice beach campers like us so that’s where we went.

Early one Saturday morning in December, we packed up our SUV with a whole lot of gear and one 11.5 month old baby and headed off to Dibba.

Because we had a few stops along the way: to pick up a friend, to breakfast at another friend’s, to fill up on petrol, to top up on engine oil (would you believe the genie-lamp on our dashboard came on?), and to forage for firewood…we didn’t arrive at the campsite until nearly 2pm! The drive from Dubai to Dibba is about 1.5 hours. We may have been driving a little fast because we got flashed by a speed camera somewhere in Ajman and incurred a 700 dhs fine!

The drive was fairly boring through Sharjah, Ajman, UAQ, and RAK (buildings, construction, more construction, more abandoned construction) but after heading East a bit, the terrain changed from boring flat to more interesting mountainous. Well, maybe mountainous is a bit of an exaggeration in the UAE but hey, all I see is flat-ness in Dubai so a bit of hill is a mountain to me these days.

At the border checkpoint by Dibba, the guards merely glanced at our passports, no stamping nor Omani visas required. We all had UAE residency visas but they never even asked to look at the passport of Wee Scotch.

As soon as we passed the Golden Tulip hotel, we drove onto a lovely strip of beach. Husband stopped the car about 5 seconds into the beach drive to gleefully turn on the 4WD…and another 5 seconds later we were revving and revving and very much stuck into the sand – doh!

SUV stuck in sand
SUV stuck in sand

Luckily, some very friendly locals came to the rescue and towed our SUV out of the little hole we had revved ourselves into! Shukran jazeelan!

Being Towed out of the Sand
Being Towed out of the Sand

Next it was time to set up camp and get the barbie going!

Getting the campfire started
Getting the campfire started

Nothing beats cooking in the great outdoors.  We had a delicious spread of bbq chicken, marinated lamb kebabs, hot dogs, veggie skewers, and steak.  Scotch even caught a small fish but he’s a catch-and-release kind of guy so no fish for dinner for us.

Yummy BBQ chicken and lamb kebabs
Yummy BBQ chicken and lamb kebabs

Wee Scotch seemed to enjoy the camping as well although he didn’t like the feel of sand so we kept him mostly on a straw mat or beach blanket.

Wee Scotch with dad at camp
Wee Scotch with dad at camp

Did I mention that the reason we chose that particular weekend in December to go camping was because we were attempting to catch a show of the Geminids meteor showers which are supposed to be one of the best meteor showers of the year?

Well, I didn’t see any shooting stars but my husband and another friend spotted some.  However, after a few special beverages, I think I started to see some different kind of stars…

Seeing Stars?
Seeing Stars?

Despite the noise from the random dune bashing SUV, I slept pretty well. Wee Scotch slept in his Graco Pack ‘n Play and we opted for the more comfortable blow-up air mattress this time instead of the camping pads we had previously.

The next morning, we had another BBQ going for a hearty breakfast of grilled sausages, bacon, mushrooms, scrambled eggs, and creamed corn. Breakfast on the beach: What a nice way to chill, put your feet in the sand, and enjoy the beautiful sea view!

Breakfast on the Beach
Breakfast on the Beach

We didn’t have a kettle with us to boil water for tea or coffee but we were able to borrow one from some friendly camping neighbors. I have since bought my own camping kettle so can’t wait to use it on the next trip.

Borrowed kettle
Borrowed kettle

Getting There and Beyond: The drive is about 130 kms (1.5 to 2 hours) from Dubai. To get to Dibba beach by the Golden Tulip, we took Emirates Road (E311) to exit 119 (note that 119 is after exit 116) to route E87. We followed E87 East through the “mountains,” following signs to Fujeirah and then Dibba.

Once in Dibba, we followed signs for the Golden Tulip hotel – basically just following the coast line (with the water on your right, of course) until we reached the hotel.  There is a Shell gas station just before the hotel that sells firewood for campfires (15 or 20 dhs a bundle, I believe). Once you drive past the hotel, bear right and you will be on the beach for Dibba where you can choose your campsite. Remember to deflate your tires so you don’t get stuck in the sand as well! 2WD vehicles can park at the entrance of the beach and then carry the camping equipment to your chosen site on the beach.

Alternatively, you can take Emirates Road to E88 towards Al Dhaid and Fujeirah. In Al Dhaid, you can pick up bundles of firewood for 10 dhs a bundle.  Continue on E88 until Masafi roundabout where you will make a left onto E89, then follow signs towards Dibba and the Golden Tulip hotel as per the above.

You will pass a LuLu’s hypermarket in Dibba should you need any last minute supplies.

The beach was fairly clean and at the entrance of the beach, to the left, there was a small structure with toilet and shower facilities.


And just as at Jebel Ali beach, there were municipal workers that came around in the morning to clean the beach of trash and even helped to collect the bags of trash that we had accumulated.

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter and receive a FREE noodle guide PDF:

I believe it’s not just noodles we are creating, but memories, traditions, and a sense of pride. Learn Noodle-Making With Kids. Create, Bond, Transform.

*We respect your privacy and will not send you spam. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Hi Genger,

    It Would be great help if you could provide Exact location on google maps link if possible Plzzzzz.

    When we do search Dibba beach it gives multiple locations. but we want to visit the exact one shown in pictures..

    Thanks in Advance for your help.

  2. We had some friends attempt to cross over to Dibba
    recently. Husband and wife, both with UAE residency visas. They
    were turned away. It seems like you do need a hotel to arrange it
    for you. Otherwise try one of the dhow companies and tie that in
    with your camping trip!

  3. Hi ginger,

    Thanks for sharing this, for sure it will help a lot.

    We’re planning to go when the weather cools down and just like to ask if you have any idea if it is still possible to camp on this site? Seems the last update here was from year 2012.


    1. Hi – I am not 100% sure as haven’t been back since that first trip in 2012. I have heard that getting across the Dibba border is a huge hassle now without a hotel booking and the hotel has to organize some kind of entry visa.

  4. Hi,
    Great blog.

    I have a Chinese passport, with UAE residency – would there be any problem doing this trip for me, or I have to get an Omani visa before I travel?

    Also, are there camping places accessible by normal car (I don’t have a 4WD)?


    1. Hi Olivia,

      You can still access Dibba without a 4WD. You just have to park at the entrance of the beach (on the sand or on the gravel) and then carry your gear to your campsite. The beach isn’t overly big so it’s doable and I did see lots of 2WD parked there.

      As for Omani visa, we did not get one as Dibba where we went in this post did not require one. We only showed our UAE residency visa and no stamps were added to it nor any payment was required.

  5. One of the best way to buy camping equipments and hunting products is through they have a wide range of camping and hunting items include chairs, axes, tents, shovels, lights, flask, bottle, binoculars and other items. The do delivery to all locations in uae and kuwait, bahrain, saudi arabia, oman, Their prices are much cheaper than Ace and very good quality.

  6. Hi Ginger,

    Thnx for your reply. I need some info.

    Passport is really required?or ID is fine?

    & Drinks are allowed?Like beer,wine….

  7. There are quite a few clubs in the UAE that welcome families – like These are a good way to get the basics of off road driving (including the safety aspects) without having to pay for instruction! Membership is usually minimal (AED 300 / year) and they organise some great trips.

  8. Hi Ginger,

    we followed your blog and mentioned directions to the camp site. It was awesome. Had a wonderful camping thanks to your blog.

  9. Hi Ginger,

    Thats a nice blog ur keeping. I am going this weekend at the same spot with my friends. Hope to have the same fun like you had.

  10. Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading your camping blogs. We have camped a few times but always in the desert, and only just out by big red. We are wanting to go to Dibba when the weather cools a bit, so will definitely follow your instructions on getting there. I especially like the sound of the small toilet block! This would be much better than in the sand!!???? If you have anymore camping experiences, please share them.
    Thanks, and happy camping

  11. hey,
    me and my friends want to go camping here later when the weather cools down but the thing that concerns me a bit is that we're all 18-19 years old.
    I can drive in the sand and all but I wanted to see if we're more exposed to trouble with our age or not?
    of course, there will be no alcohol and boys and girls will sleep in separate tents!
    just wanted to know your opinion on this!
    thanks a lot (:
    I love your blog by the way!

    1. Hi Casey,

      Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂 I don't think your age would pose an issue as most of the other campers we've encountered in Dibba (as well as Jebel Ali beach and Fujairah) were quite friendly and I saw many families with young children camping. But, as with everything, you should always be alert and be sure to inform your families about your whereabouts as much as possible.

      Have fun and don't forget the marshmallows and long BBQ skewers!

      1. Hi Ginger,

        we plan to to go camping this week end…..we was worried about camping over night,coz we have 10 mths old baby..after visiting ur blog we were happy and feel safe to go n we was also worried about rest room… available in beach. pls let me know where you bought bbq grill..ur grill is simple and easy to carry…pls let me know..

        thank for ur info