February 23, 2024
Lifestyle Events

What will you miss if you do not attend the 2023 Liwa International Festival?

Giant Moreeb Dune is the backdrop of the annual event

With pleasant weather now gripping the whole of the UAE, there are another two whole weeks for residents of the country to enjoy the Liwa International Festival at and near the iconic Moreeb Dune in Abu Dhabi emirate from December 8-31, 2023.

Here is a day-by-day listing of what is happening at the desert festival being organised by Liwa Sports Club:

December 14 (6:00pm-12:00am)

Liwa Burnout: A burnout (also known as a peel-out or power brake) keeps a vehicle stationary and spinning its wheels, resulting in friction and causing the tyres to heat up and smoke. The event features saloons and 4x4s.

December 15, 16 (6:00pm onwards)

Car Stunt competition: As part of the activities and challenges of the Liwa Sports Festival at the Tel Moreeb circuit, the Car Stunt competition is held on the dunes adjacent to the giant sandhill and will see the participation and presence of many professionals and fans of this sport. Race categories are 8-cylinder and 6-cylinder vehicles.

Campsites dot the vicinity of Moreeb Dune at the 2022 Liwa International Festival. Image: Arnold Pinto

December 17 (6:00pm onwards)

Bike Drag Racing: A sandy arena in which the four-wheel-drive bike race, known as the Ramli Drag Race, is held. There are four categories for the race: UTV stock, UTV modified, Wheels stock 2 and Open category.

December 18, 19 (7:00am onwards)

Pigeon Hunt competition: Proud of the heritage of the UAE, which involves the use of falcons in hunting, the Liwa International Festival is hosting, for the sixth year in a row, the Pigeon Hunt championship, which is a competition between falconers in hunting pigeons with falcons. This competition is in two categories and highlights the falconer’s skill and the falcon’s power in catching the prey.

Souped-up 4x4s at the top of Moreeb Dune at the 2022 Liwa International Festival. Image: Arnold Pinto

December 20 (3:30pm onwards)

Horse racing: Horse racing has been taking place since ancient times and is enjoyed by millions of people worldwide until now. The participating groups are Arabian horses. The competition involves two rounds.

December 21 (12:30pm onwards)

Camel racing: The people of the UAE and the Gulf region, in general, are still associated with camels and the sport of camel racing due to the importance of camels in their ancestors’ lives. The competition involves two rounds.


December 22, 23 (6:00pm-12:00am)

Liwa Drift: Drift racing depends on the quality of the drift. This evaluation includes several criteria, including the angle of the turn (driving line), continuity of the drift (driving line, speed, and drift angle), proximity to the lines (the angle of the lines and the implementation) and the general technique (the implementation). Two categories: Professionals and stock.

Fireworks’ display over Moreeb Dune at the 2022 Liwa International Festival. Image: Arnold Pinto

December 24, 25 (6:00pm-12:00am)

Freestyle Drift: The Freestyle Drift championship aims to attract young people to exhibit their drifting skills inside the Liwa International Festival circuit at the Moreeb Dune site instead of showing off in dangerous places. Competition categories are T, N and S.

December 26 (6:00pm-12:00am)

Liwa UTV: UTV racing is a competition in which riders operate utility terrain bikes also known as side-by-sides (SXS) on a closed course. The racecourse is off-road with varying terrain and features obstacles such as jumps, whoops, tight corners, and banked turns. The race categories are UTV turbo and non-UTV turbo.

Hot automotive action at the 2022 Liwa International Festival. Image: Arnold Pinto

December 27, 28 (01:00pm-11:20pm)

Monster Jam: The world’s most action-packed motorsport experience is coming to Liwa! Motorsport fans will be in for a high-octane experience when 5-ton trucks defy the laws of physics as they go head-to-head in a series of competitions, including racing, freestyle and skills contests. And as if backflipping trucks were not enough, the event will also feature world-class freestyle motocross performances, ensuring jaw-dropping stunts. In addition to the epic action, fans will have access to the Monster Jam Pit Party, an unmissable opportunity to get close to the huge vehicles, meet and greet the drivers, and get the lowdown on how the powerful trucks are prepared for competition.

What’s on at the 2023 Liwa International Festival. Image: Liwa Sports Club

December 29, 30, 31 (6:00pm-12:00am)

Moreeb Dune Cars Championship: Liwa’s Moreeb Dune is the UAE’s tallest sand dune, over 300 metres tall and boasting a steep 50-degree incline. This unique natural wonder is a highly sought-after destination for avid motorsports enthusiasts. The pinnacle of excitement during the Liwa International Festival is the hill climb championship. It serves as the ultimate test of skill and daring, marking the grand finale of the festival’s diverse sporting competitions. Competition categories are 6-cylinder turbo, 8-cylinder, open category, stock and Hilux.

Liwa Village at the 2022 Liwa International Festival. Image: Arnold Pinto

Other onsite attractions of the 2023 Liwa International Festival include the Liwa Village, fireworks, Liwa walk, Moreeb Dune market, Liwa film show, Liwa sand activities, sports courts, Moreeb Dune park, Liwa zoo park, paintball court, and smart farm.

Featured image: A view of the mighty Moreeb Dune in the background. Image: Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto

    Arnold Pinto is an award-winning journalist with wide-ranging Middle East and Asia experience in the tech, space, aerospace, aviation, defence, luxury watchmaking, business, fashion, and automotive verticals. He is passionate about conserving endangered native wildlife globally and protecting the world’s oceans from plastic pollution, overfishing, and climate change. Arnold enjoys 4x4 off-roading, camping and exploring global destinations off the beaten track.
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