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UAE’s mountain peaks entice adventure enthusiasts, nature lovers

UAE’s mountain peaks entice adventure enthusiasts, nature lovers
23 Jan 2024 08:37

SAEED AHMED (ABU DHABI)

The UAE’s diverse environmental and natural landscapes offer a wide variety of options to adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

From trekking, mountaineering and hiking to biking in rugged areas to rock climbing, the country has it all. With its breathtaking views, the UAE’s mountainous areas have witnessed the largest share of tourists and visitors during the winter season and the government is keen on paving roads leading to the highest mountain peaks, providing services, facilities, recreational activities, and rest areas, in addition to constructing parking lots.

The country encompasses a range of natural rocky, sandy, and desert mountains, forming a prominent tourist attraction for mountaineering enthusiasts, adventure tourists and nature explorers. The mountains are ecosystems of diverse flora and fauna, in addition to caves, valleys, and dams. Moreover they are home to artifacts, offering a glimpse into the region’s history.

Jebel Hafit

To start with, Jebel Hafit, with an elevation of 1,249 metres, is the highest peak in Abu Dhabi and the second-highest peak in the UAE, situated on the border with the Sultanate of Oman, in Al Ain. Visitors can enjoy astonishing views from Jebel Hafit, witnessing both sunrise and sunset along with the natural landscapes. Composed of steep limestone rocks, the mountain has been exposed to natural weathering factors over thousands of years, revealing important fossil traces in its surroundings that bear witness to the city’s history.

Al Suhub Rest House

Located 600 metres above sea level, Al Suhub is the highest peak in Khor Fakkan city. Built in a circular shape to ensure visitors get a 360-degree panoramic view of this magnificent city, it is easily accessible via an asphalt road. The rest area includes several modern facilities and services, ensuring the comfort of visitors and providing them with maximum fun and entertainment.

Wadi Shees Trail

Extending along the Aflaj water channels amid towering mountains, Wadi Shees Trail in Sharjah concludes at one of the old villages and a group of farms. The area boasts tremendous biodiversity, with park visitors occasionally encountering local wildlife due to the proximity of freshwater sources. The trail offers hiking in the mountains, enhanced by the presence of palm trees providing shade for hikers.

Al-Rabi Mountain Trail

Al-Rabi Mountain Trail in Khor Fakkan is considered the best well-marked mountain trail, winding atop the mountain for a delightful and safe outing. Often referred to as a beginner’s hike, it is useful for individuals with little experience and children. The road is well-defined, allowing participants to enjoy scenic views along the way, and parking spaces are available at the trailhead.

Hatta Mountains

Hatta Mountains distinguish the Hatta region with its abundant natural scenery, with towering mountains offering various enjoyable sports activities. Adventure tourists can partake in mountain biking on diverse trails, set up tents, and hike in the highlands. Geographically, what sets the region apart is the inclusion of two well-known mountains that surround it from the north and south borders.

Jebel Jais

Jebel Jais, located in Ras Al Khaimah, reaches an elevation of 1934 meters above sea level. It features retreats, restaurants, and children’s activities, offering visitors the opportunity to experience outdoor adventures and admire diverse breathtaking views in cooler temperatures compared with the coastal areas.

Access to the summit is facilitated by supported roads with several sharp turns, and the journey includes multiple stops to enjoy various landscapes. Jebel Jais is an ideal destination for adventure enthusiasts, and visitors can experience Jais Flight, the world’s longest zipline at an elevation of 1,680 metres. Participants will slide at speeds ranging between 120 and 150 km/h for about three minutes over deep valleys, gorges, and jagged peaks.

Al Deem Retreat

The government of Sharjah is preparing to launch the Al Deem Retreat in the city of Kalba, situated at an elevation of 850 metres above sea level. It is considered an architectural marvel in Kalba, built on an island overlooking the city, the university, and the clock tower. The retreat will accommodate 1,000 people, offering a unique view of the city’s landmarks.

Jebel Faya

Jebel Faya, located in the emirate of Sharjah, is a limestone mountain known for its rugged terrain. Excavation work began between 2003 and 2010 by a group of archaeologists. Subsequent excavations were conducted between 2009 and 2013, followed by environmental and geological studies of the site. The mountain yielded a collection of tools from Stone, Bronze and Iron ages. It has become a tourist and explorer destination.

Mleiha Mountains

The Mleiha region is a preferred destination of nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts along the mountain trails. The area is known for its easy navigation between mountains, enjoying its cool atmosphere, observing valleys and natural landscapes, and visiting historical sites like the Bin Sultan Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in the emirate, built in 1815 with a traditional design using mud and gypsum.

Visitors can also explore the Mleiha Museum, shedding light on the city’s history dating back 5,000 years, starting from the Stone, Bronze, Iron Ages, and up to the establishment of the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, the historical fortress on one of the Mleiha mountains has become a major tourist attraction.

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