Hatta, Jebel Jais and Khor Fakkan gear up for winter visitors

The UAE's mountainous areas offer fresh air, new attractions and outdoor experiences as the weather cools

Ras Al Khaimah's Jebel Jais is the highest peak in the UAE and an important tourist attraction. Photo: RAK Tourism Authority
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With cooler weather on the horizon as we roll towards November, the UAE's mountainous areas are getting set to welcome tourists back to their peaks.

Hatta, Jebel Jais and Khor Fakkan are among the country's most popular areas, and they come into their own in winter when temperatures dip and people seek outdoor experiences. These three destinations have recently benefited from investment and development to "transform them into new tourist treasures", said state-run news agency Wam on Friday.

Hatta: camping, kayaking and sustainable waterfalls

Over the past few years, the city of Hatta has turned into a tourist destination famed for its natural scenery that spans across the mountains. The Hatta Dam and Hatta Lake also make the area a popular choice for those who enjoy camping, swimming and kayaking.

Hatta Season 4 recently launched at Hatta Resorts and Hatta Wadi Hub and will run until April next year. It includes the return of popular attractions such as the Twin Zipline, which was introduced last year, the Hatta Drop-In, where guests can slide into the water with doughnuts, skis and body boards, and Cannon, a human slingshot.

Since the launch of the Hatta Master Development Plan in 2016, visitor numbers to Hatta have increased from 60,000 per year, to more than a million in 2020, said Wam.

The newest plans for the area include a 5.4 kilometre-long chairlift, the Hatta sustainable waterfalls project and the construction of hiking trails leading to the highest peak in Dubai - Jebel Umm Al Nisour.

The new cable car route will fly over Hatta Dam Lake and the departure station is being built on an upper platform above the Hatta Dam.

Set to open in 2022, the Hatta Sustainable Waterfalls project will use the slope of the upper dam to create a natural waterfall. The water used will be collected at the end of the stream, recycled and pumped back to the top of the dam.

Khor Fakkan's spaceship-inspired rest house

In the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah, lots of new developments in coastal Khor Fakkan have made the area one of the country's most popular winter regions.

Al Suhub Rest House - a distinctive circular structure, with a diameter of 30 metres that's located almost 600 metres above sea level to give visitors panoramic views of the area is a new addition that's been getting a lot of attention. There's also water fountains, beaches, a restaurant and a 730-metre walkway surrounded on all sides by towering palm trees. The Shees Park is another new addition to the area.

Al Rafisah Dam, which was originally built in the 1980s, offers fantastic scenery overlooking a large blue lake, with boating facilities and a backdrop of the Hajar mountains. The site has recently had an upgrade with a new visitor centre and rest areas.

Jebel Jais will host 51-km Highlander UAE hike

As the tallest peak in the UAE, the summit of Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah remains one of the most important tourist attractions in the country.

This region is popular with cyclists, hikers and adventurers year-round and enjoys cooler temperatures than much of the rest of the country, with winter weather getting quite cold at the top of the mountain. It's also home to the longest zip-line in the world, and in November will host the inaugural Highlander UAE hiking trail for outdoor enthusiasts ready to take on a 51-kilometre challenge.

Updated: October 29, 2021, 1:32 PM