Residents and visitors in the UAE can add another activity to their winter to do list as the Jebel Hafeet Desert Park in Al Ain is set to reopen on Sunday.
Located at the foot of the imposing Jebel Hafeet mountain, the park will open daily for six months, from 8am to 6pm.
Home to some of the UAE’s rarest plant species, visitors can enjoy a mix of history, culture, and stunning natural landscapes along the 9-kilometre stretch of park.
Officially opened to the public in February this year, the popular outdoor attraction is noted for its 5,000-year-old domed beehive tombs that sit within the grounds.
Early inhabitants of the area built the tombs as a resting place for the dead.
Each single chamber is constructed of rough-cut local rock and measures about four metres tall and three metres wide.
The ring walls, which look similar to a beehive, gradually slope inwards until they meet, forming a dome.
The park’s cultural and natural features are one of the cultural sites of Al Ain that make up the UAE’s first designated Unesco World Heritage Site.
"To visit Jebel Hafeet Desert Park is to travel through thousands of years of Emirati history," said Saood Al Hosani, acting undersecretary at the Dubai of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi.
"This landmark offers a fascinating insight into the UAE’s unique heritage and is complemented with a range of outdoor activities suitable for visitors of all ages and abilities.
“I encourage families, history buffs and nature enthusiasts to visit our world heritage site and discover its beauty for themselves."
For the green-fingered visitor, rare plants can be found throughout the park too which are protected as part of a conservation project.
Earlier this year, a rehabilitation programme was launched by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi to help preserve and regenerate some of the UAE’s most endangered plant species.
More than 100 plants were restored within the park, including 30 Caralluma and 30 Arabian Moringa.
Expert teams from the agency also rehabilitated 55 dwarf palms, which are considered the rarest and most threatened plant in the emirate.
Sheltered areas offer a great opportunity for a family picnic and numerous shaded benches give hikers and cyclists places to sit back and enjoy the views.
Those wanting to extend their stay have several options. Visitors can use the public campsite and spend the night under the stars in their tent, or for an upgraded experience, rent a traditional tent or even a luxury dome.