Exploring Dubai 1970s
"Exploring Dubai's hinterland in the 1970s was difficult. There were few roads, no easily obtainable reliable maps or 4WD vehicles. Landrovers were the favourite 4WD but hard to come by. Landrover in this photo had previously been used on a farm in Daid before being abandoned as a wreck. 100 Dirhams purchased the Landrover's remains. A lot of hard work got the Landrover up and running again. Then the family could go exploring!
Deciding where to go was based on whatever maps were available (often copies of Dubai Defence Force maps provided by unknown persons!) but more often than not deciding "Let's go there and see where it leads us". Wherever we went there would be new things to see and new places to explore.
How far you could go was limited by time available. Fridays were the only official day off so, for us at least, it was usually a question of what could be done in a day. Venturing out into Dubai's hinterland meant there was an element of risk. Breaking down in a remote Wadi could mean being stranded - there were no mobile phones then. Chances are you would not see anyone as you edged your way along these tracks. There were villages. In the 1970s these were inhabited by local Bedouin living in traditional barasti homes. They had yet to relocate to purpose built "villages" provided by the Federal Government. There were also Border Posts where Guards would want to inspect you and your vehicle before letting you proceed - but done with good humour and a good deal of curiosity. Overtime more 4WD vehicles became available - particularly from Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi. Their comfort and capabilities improved immeasurably so more people were able to get off road to more places more easily. Slowly the purpose changed from simply exploring to finding secluded places where a group of friends and family could enjoy themselves. New roads eventually opened up Dubai's hinterland making places accessible by car that previously could only be reached by 4WD.
Some hinterland was accessible without a 4WD in the 1970s. Photo taken in Ras Al Khaimah. An Australian built MiniMoke and a French built Peugeot 404 have easily made their way to the foot of the mountains."