7 UAE adventures for National Day
Published on November 30, 2020 at 12.59
Let’s get out there and do something different this long weekend
Be Indiana Jones. Don your brown Trilby because not only is Al Ain’s Jebel Hafit Desert Park a Unesco World Heritage Site featuring a range of adventurous outdoor activities, it also contains archaeological remains dating back 8,000 years. Located at the foot of Jebel Hafit mountain, discover the park’s 5,000-year-old ‘beehive’ tombs before setting out on independent or guided hikes around archaeological remains, cycling the bike tracks, horse or camel riding or touring the area in a buggy.
Dubai from the sky. You may know the city like the back of your hand, but have you ever inspected it from above? Imagine sweeping through Dubai’s famous landmarks in your own helicopter. This dream is now a reality with HeliDubai. Taking off from the Police Academy in Al Sufouh, 12-minute tours around the essential sites start from Dh646 per person. Whizz round the Burj Al Arab and Palm while soaking up a unique air travel experience. What better way to feel on top of the world!
Moonlight camel ride. Ras Al Khaimah’s red sand is always breathtaking, though at night under the stars takes on an ethereal quality you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. Head to the enchanting desert resort at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi and experience a moonlight camel ride in the heart of the area’s protected Nature Reserve. Available for in-house guests (treat yourself to a staycay) the 20-minute treat starts from the Equestrian Centre then proceeds to the stargazing platform for a 45-minute stargazing activity before you’re dropped to Farmhouse just in time for dinner. Dh350 per person.
Adventure City. Hatta is in the midst of becoming the UAE’s adventure capital and we have to admit it’s doing a rather fine job. Hatta Resorts and Hatta Wadi Hub provides an exciting array of activities ranging from glamping, hiking, mountain biking and kayaking to exploring the heritage of Hatta and indulging in authentic Emirati culture. At the Hub try the 10-metre climing wall, zip line or paragliding then explore Hatta Heritage Village to discover local cultural treasures.
Dive on in. Beginners can apply, but this one is perhaps easier if you already possess a PADI. Either way Al Aqha and Khorfakkan (Fujairah and Sharjah) on the east coast are replete with lovely dive sites and even more wonderful companies to take you to them. Adventure Sports trades out of a number of resorts, but have availability on National Day at the Fujairah Rotana from Dh265 per person for an underwater tour.
Survive Bear’s tasks. Ever watched survivalist Bear Grylls’ TV shows and thought ‘I could do that’? Well, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. The world’s first Bear Grylls Explorers Camp (BGEC) is now open close to the Via Ferrata on Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah. Survival courses at the facility are run by UK experts trained at the Bear Grylls Survival Academy and include half-day (three to four hours), eight and 24-hour options designed for adults, families and team building. The element of surprise is a key feature of all the courses but activities include how to make a fire in the wilderness, building emergency shelters, learning the best ways to use a knife for survival as well as dedicated practical instruction on remote medical trauma treatment, navigation techniques and extreme weather survival. Prices start from Dh450 per person for the half-day experience.
Walk tall at Yas. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi already boasts the fastest rollercoaster in the world, but now offers a more eye-opening thrill. Its recently opened Zip Line is all well and good, though we’re more interested in the Roof Walk. Suit up and scale the theme park’s iconic red roof for some unbeatable views and more than a few anecdotes.