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Andy is one of the Co-Founders of The Travel Hub. In addition to travelling outside of the United Arab Emirates, there are many places to visit only a drive away from Dubai.
Recently, Andy joined a group from Dubai on a hike through the mountains in the nearby Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
Dubai has become an incredibly popular tourist destination, with many spectacular highlights for visitors - Burj Khalifa, The Palm, Dubai Mall, Old Town Dubai, Souk Madinat and adventures in the desert - just to name a few. But there are some hidden gems located outside Dubai that people really need to hear about!
The United Arab Emirates is made up of a total of 7 Emirates (similar to states). Many are familiar with Dubai and Abu Dhabi, however the other Emirates - Sharjah, Ajman, Fujeirah, Umm Al Quaim and Ras Al Khaimah are well worth visiting in their own right, whether your are here on vacation or living in the UAE.
Whilst much of the UAE is made up of vast sand dunes, there are areas in the Northern Emirates that have rocky mountains and valleys that can be both spectacular to view and great fun to explore.
We joined a group organised by Zsi Trading - a distribution group in Dubai specialising in apparel like outdoor adventure brand, Marmot. The hike was led by local adventurer Arnaud Laviolette, who arranged information on what to bring, meeting points and a pre-hike briefing.
We drove just over 1.5 hours from Downtown Dubai into the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah. Our hike started at the base of Wadi Al Afar (wadis are essentially dry river beds) and our aim was to climb to the peak of Jebel Yabanah - around 1170m above sea level. The terrain is rocky, with very sparse vegetation - looking more like a scene out of the move "The Martian". Whilst it wasn't an overly long hike in regards to distance, it was slow going as the accent is quite steep and very gravelly. We were hiking in what are considered the cooler months in the UAE, however the temperatures still rises quickly in the day and you have almost zero protection from the sun, so carrying enough water is essential.
- Water: at least 3 Litres per person
- Appropriate clothing: Can be cool in the early morning, but gets warm, so think layers!
- Sturdy footware.
- Sun protection.
- Lightweight food: Small lunch, protein bars, snacks.......LOLLIES ;)
- A hiking stick if you have one.
- Camera: If you are conscious of carrying weight, the mobile phone! If you are silly like me, take your DSLR!
- Small first aid kit
- Bags should not weigh more than 6kg maximum!
Remarkably, tribes of local Emiratis lived for centuries midway up the valley and our hike came across a small area where for a long time, they had practiced farming techniques to grow feed for livestock - a large flat area surrounded by a small rock wall which would gather soil over years, enough to sustain grasses to feed livestock in the summer. There was also a small cemetery and remains of traditional stones houses. Not far away was also a small point where water remained at the surface. Further up the valley was another small house - this was equipped with air-conditioning and is still inhabited today!
The final stretch of the hike was a steep, challenging climb - it certainly raised the feeling of satisfaction when reaching the top! The view from the summit was spectacular and despite it being a hazy day, it was still possible to see across the other side to a small village. We sat and enjoyed a picnic lunch, admired the view and contemplated the age old hypothesis of what goes up..........must come down!
Travel Styles -
Travel Interests -