x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Worthwhile off-road expeditions

If you're planning to incorporate some adventurous driving in your next holiday, here are five places from all over the globe that will challenge your abilities behind the wheel

Canning Stock Route, Western Australia

In the far north-western corner of Australia, plenty of off-road enthusiasts have tackled the Canning Stock Route. It is almost 1,900km of remote desert country with not much in the way of petrol stations. Fuel drops along the way need to be arranged at least two months in advance and government permits are also required. The route was established in 1908 by Alfred Canning, who built wells for cattle drivers to keep livestock fed and watered as they were transported between towns.

Las Vegas to Reno, Nevada, USA

Off-road bikers are probably familiar with the TSCO Vegas to Reno race, a trek that takes in deserts, rocks and cliffs between two of America's most notorious cities. Held this year over four days in August and throughout the rest of the year, brave (or foolish) souls like to take the challenge of a less-direct route to Reno. Not one to tackle alone, a smart driver or rider will consult the danger list on the race's website, which includes big rocks, off-camber turns and police radar traps.

Lakagigar, Iceland

Lakagigar is a 25km long crater row created by poisonous lava eruptions between 1783 and 1784, killing 20 per cent, or six million people, of those who lived nearby. These days, it isn't quite as volatile, but it is a 4x4 road only, also known by the less lyrical name of F-206 and the terrain is rough, largely black and red scoria. The craters are now covered by woolly fringe moss and they are generally 20-50 metres tall, with the highest rising up to 100m above the ground.

Roof of Africa tour, South Africa and Lesotho

Set aside at least a week to really appreciate this scenic trip through some of the most spectacular parts of South Africa and Lesotho. If you set off from the South African city of Durban, your first spectacular drive will take you through the Shongweni National Park before crossing the border to the mountainous terrain of Lesotho, including the Sani Pass and the Edge of Africa overlook. The trip includes narrow trails, cattle paths, river crossings, steep ascents and descents.

Plain of Jars, Laos

Whether you brave the drive yourself or take the (only slightly) less-mad option of being driven by a guide, you are guaranteed to experience something that will truly make you feel a long, long way from Emirates Road. You will tackle the terrain where bad roads give way to isolated, sometimes barely discernible mountain trails, but the adventure is well worth it for the surreal experience of ancient stone urns as far as the eye can see. The Plain of Jars is dated to the Iron Age (500BCE to 500CE).