If you’re looking for more adventure or nature-led experience of Dubai, take a 2 hour drive to Hatta in the Hajer Mountains to open up a whole new world of kayaking, mountain-biking, trekking or simply relaxing and taking in the picturesque views.
Kayaking in Hatta Dam
As you drive up through Hatta Village you are met with the oasis of the turquoise freshwaters of Hatta Dam, a beautiful contrast against the brown volcanic rock of the Hajar Mountains. A large mural can be seen which commemorates the UAE’s founding fathers, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
If you fancy more than just checking out the awesome views, you can tap into your adventurous side by kayaking on the Hatta Dam, believe me, it’s lots of fun. You can book ahead with Hatta Kayak but there’s plenty available if you just turn up. The single kayaks are 60 AED and doubles are 150 AED for an unlimited time. You can hire out pedal boats, donut boats, yellow boats and water bikes… depends what floats your boat (see what I did there).
Trekking in the Mountains
If you’re like me and love to throw on your hiking boots, Hatta is the place for you! At the start of 2017, the project to develop Hatta as a hiker’s paradise began. There are currently two trails, one 3km and the other 9km with more to come. We took the longer trail, beginning at the Mountain Bike Trail Centre, the walk ended by the Hatta Heritage Village. You pass by spots of green vegetation by the pockets of water by the wadis, a welcome sight against the expanse of volcanic rock of the Hajer Mountains. Depending on the time of year, best to set off early to avoid the midday sun.
If you’re feeling very active, what about hopping on a mountain bike to enjoy the undulating terrain of Hatta? As part of the development project, there are three mountain biking trails, with different levels of difficulty designed not only for experienced bikers but also beginners and those who are less physically able. The trails are free to ride and are self-guided with clear signs of where to go.
Hatta Heritage Village
If you want to know what life was like outside of Dubai a few thousand years ago head to Hatta Heritage Village. It was restored in 2001 to include two watchtowers, mosque and a fort. Inside the ruler’s house, ‘Bait Al Wali’, you can see displays of weaponry, artefacts, palm-tree products, handicrafts, weaving and traditional dress.
JA Hatta Fort Hotel
You can’t beat the JA Hatta Fort Hotel for a getaway from the glitz and glamour of Dubai. The chalet-style rooms are modern inside with character too. The views overlooking the lush green gardens with the backdrop of the Hajar Mountains are priceless. You can relax by the pool or get involved in the activities on the resort such as archery, mini-golf, garden chess, tennis and much more. JA Hatta Fort Hotel really does combine serenity and adventure.