We love wide open spaces…
Thinking about doing outdoor activities in the UAE during the summer is a big no-no. But luckily, it’s that time of year when you shift conversations from “it’s so humid” to “Wow, it’s cooler.”
As the UAE enters the autumn season, temperatures are gradually dropping and that can only mean that it’s time to enjoy the many outdoor activities in the UAE.
So, if you want to breathe some fresh air, here are some of the best outdoor activities in the UAE you shouldn’t miss…
Kayak through the mangroves of Abu Dhabi
For a breath of fresh air in the capital, visit Jubail Mangrove Park, where you can stroll along the Qurum promenade, spot local birds and animals, and explore the waterways by kayak. A one-hour visit costs 100 Dhs (per adult) and 90 Dhs (per child between 3 and 12 years old).
Jubail Mangrove Park, Al Jubail Island (next to Saadiyat Island), Abu Dhabi, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily, tel. : (0)5 6 303 2423. park.jubailisland.ae
Jebel Hafeet Hike
The rugged backdrop of Al Ain, Jebel Hafeet is Abu Dhabi’s highest peak at 1,240 meters. Not for novices, Jebel Hafeet is for experienced hikers who can handle steep routes and challenging terrain. Beat the heat with an early morning or evening hike, and be sure to bring your sturdiest boots, hiking poles, and refreshments.
Have fun at Hudayriyat Mar Vista
Whether it’s for exercise or just to get your heart pumping, Hudayriyat Mar Vista is a great place. There is a sports village with fields, fields, a tennis and basketball court and more; a bike park; bicycle lane; Circuit X which is home to BMX Park, Skate Park, Splash Park and High Ropes Park and more. The OCR park has several challenging obstacles where you can test your strength, stamina and stamina.
Spot the dolphins at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort
Dolphins are majestic creatures and if you want to spot them in the capital, head to Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort. A recent study by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) found that more than 700 humpback dolphins live near the coast of Abu Dhabi, making it the largest known population in the world. Grab a pair of binoculars and head to one of the many hotels along this waterfront (including Jumeirah in Saadiyat and Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island) or speak to the concierge at Jumeirah on Saadiyat Island Resort and they will direct you to the best dolphin watching teams in Abu Dhabi.
See the best of the city with the Abu Dhabi Yellow Boats Tour
Abu Dhabi is actually an archipelago made up of over 200 islands, which means one of the best ways to explore the city is via its network of waterways. Head to the website and choose from a Corniche tour, Yas Island tour, Emirates Palace tour and more. Prices start from 99 Dhs.
Cycling around Al Qudra Lakes
Just a 30-minute drive from Dubai, the Al Qudra Lakes have become a favorite among UAE cyclists. Keep your eyes peeled for wild oryx and camels as you ride the 85km Al Qudra Cycle Route through sand dunes. If you don’t have your own wheels, you can rent a bike from the Trek bike shop in Seih Al Salam, near the Al Qudra route.
Al Qudra Cycling Route, Al Qudra Road. Tel: (04) 832 7377. trekbikes.ae
Hit the waves in Dubai
Surfing might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Dubai, but during the cold season, connoisseurs head to Sunset Beach. Rent a surfboard or a stand up paddle at the Surf House (from 75 Dhs per hour) for a paddle in the shadow of Burj Al Arab.
Surf House Dubai, Villa 12A, Umm Suqeim, Jumeirah 3, daily 7am-7pm. Tel: (0)50 504 3020. surfingdubai.com
Get your adrenaline pumping at the Hatta Wadi Hub
Your list of outdoor activities in the UAE is incomplete without Hatta as it has quickly become one of the biggest adventure hubs in the UAE. It’s a 90-minute drive from Dubai, but you’re guaranteed a day of outdoor thrills. It is now open for its fifth season in September with a brand new adventure ropes course, on which young and old are invited to try their hand. You can also practice archery, zip lines, ax throwing, paragliding, horseback riding and off-roading on electric scooters.
Hatta Wadi Hub, located on the Dubai-Hatta road, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tel: (0)4 820 5500. visithatta.com
Hiking around Hatta
Strap on a sturdy pair of shoes for four all-new hiking trails through the Hajar Mountains, via wadis and rocky outcrops. Be sure to pack water, snacks, and a fully charged phone for the 32.6 km of trails rated easy, moderate, difficult, and extreme. Email [email protected] for more information.
Hatta Wadi Hub, located on the Dubai-Hatta road, two-hour guided hike, tel. : (0)56 616 2111. visithatta.com
Mountain biking in Hatta
Want a pedal instead? The Hatta Mountain Bike Trail Center offers 50 km of trails for everyone, from beginners to professional cyclists. No wheels? No worries: you can rent bikes at Wadi Hub from 65 Dhs for one hour. It is only open to people over 10 years old.
Hatta Wadi Hub, located on the Dubai-Hatta road, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tel: (800) 637,227. visithatta.com
Kayak through the calm waters of Hatta
A 15-minute drive from Hatta Wadi Hub is Hatta Dam, a postcard-worthy reservoir surrounded by mountain ranges. Rent water sports equipment from Hatta Kayak, including kayaks (60 Dhs per person or 120 Dhs for a double kayak), pedal boats (150 Dhs), donuts (300 Dhs) and water bikes (60 Dhs per person) ). Hatta Dam is easily accessible from Sedr Trailers Resort. All boats are also available during night walks, but some areas will be restricted for safety after sunset.
Hatta Kayaks, Hatta Dam, Hatta. Every day, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tel: (0)56 616 2111. hattakayak.com
Ras Al Khaimah
Reach new heights in Ras Al Khaimah
Jebel Jais is home to a number of adrenaline-pumping experiences. There is the new Jebel Jais sled which opened in February this year (60 Dhs for a single ride for an adult and child or 40 Dhs per adult), the Jais Rope Tour – a thrilling one hour experience knee-shaking (Dhs70 on weekdays and Dhs80 on weekends), Jais Flight (Dhs330), Jais Sky Tour (Dhs260) and more. It also houses the tallest restaurant in the UAE – 1484 by Puro.
Jais Adventure Peak, Ras al Khaimah. Tel: (0)4 815 7333. visitjebeljais.com
Explore Wadi Showka
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The rugged expanse of Wadi Showka is conducive to outdoor adventures. Go rock climbing, hiking, trekking, abseiling and more. For more information, email the team at [email protected]
Adventurati Outdoor, Al Manama, Ras Al Khaimah Road, Al Kharran, Ras Al Khaimah, Tel: (0)50 280 3663. adventureti-outdoor.com
Snorkeling around Snoopy’s Island
Pack your snorkel and swim kit for a day spent paddling around Fujairah’s Snoopy Island, so named for its resemblance to the cartoon dog. Depart from the Sandy Beach Hotel & Resort for a snorkeling tour around the island. You can rent snorkels and kayaks from the hotel.
Sandy Beach Hotel, Fujairah, Tel. : (0)9 244 5555. sandbeachhotel.ae