The What's On guide: Things to do in Hatta
So you’re planning a trip to Hatta. Here’s everything you need to know…
Hatta was once described to us as ‘the ultimate outdoor adventure haven, home to calm waters and picturesque hiking trails’ but where is it, how far does it take to get there from Dubai, and what exactly can we do when we get there?
From the coolest activities to the resorts to stay in, here’s 10 things you need to know when you go.
1. Hatta is in Dubai
OK, it’s not like it’s in the city centre, but it’s technically located in the emirate of Dubai, located approximately 1hr 30mins (130km) from Dubai Marina. The drive is actually quite pleasant, too. Head onto truck road (AKA Emirates Road), turn right onto the Sharjah-Kalbah Road and drive straight for 60km. It’ll lead you towards the dramatic Hajar Mountain range where Hatta is nestled. If you fancy a slight detour, you can hang a right and explore Mleiha, the marvelous archeological site enroute.
2. The best time to visit Hatta is between October and May
Make no mistake, Hatta is all about *outdoor* adventure. For the ultimate comfort, aim for a spring or autumn trip, when you can spend all day outside without fainting from heatstroke. That said, no matter when you decide to visit, make sure you bring sufficient water with you if you plan to hike or a mountain bike.
3. Not everything at Wadi Hub is open yet, but there’s still a lot to do
Firstly, what is Wadi Hub? In a nutshell, it’s part of a Meraas development in Hatta that includes glamping trailers, eco-friendly lodges, and Wadi Hub – an outdoor adventure centre open daily from 8am to 6pm. Both the trailers and eco-friendly lodges are open for bookings. Meanwhile some – but not all – activities in Wadi Hub are up-and-running.
So far archery, the net walkway, the mountain biking trails, and zorbing are open, while activities such as the twin zip line, the drop in slide and the enormous palm course are coming soon.
The view of the Palm Course, opening soon.
But away from Wadi Hub, there’s still loads of activities to try. See No. 4 to No.8!
4. You can sign up for a survival skills course
If you decide to stay at JA Hatta Fort Hotel, there are dozens of activities you sign up for with The Adventure Centre – a British-owned outdoor education and adventure trips company. Besides its own zip line tucked away behind the resort, you can also channel your inner Bear Grylls with survival training, where you’ll learn how to make a fire, create an emergency water filtration, and build shelter.
5. There’s an obstacle called Jacob’s Ladder, which is seriously fun…
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… and hard. Again, operated by The Adventure Centre crew, teams of two must work together to climb up a huge, wobbly ladder where its rungs get further apart the higher you climb.
6. The mountain biking trails are not for the faint-hearted
You can rent bikes at the Wadi Hub from Dhs65 (for two hours). There are four levels of mountain biking trails, which all start from the Wadi Hub. Green trails are easy, blue trails are moderate, red trails are difficult and black trails are severe. Routes are colour-coded along the path with painted rocks. Be warned, even the easy routes are tough. The paths are quite narrow and rocky, and some parts are quite steep.
7. The Hatta dam offers more than just kayaking
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The dam is about a 15-minute drive from Hatta Wadi Hub, past the Hatta Meat, Fish and Vegetable Market and up into the mountains. You’ll drive up a very steep hill to the top of the dam, or you can hike up it. It’s the best spot for photos of the whole reservoir.
The watersports activities are operated by Hatta Kayak who have hundreds of kayaks (Dhs60 per person or Dhs150 for a double kayak), pedalos (Dhs120), yellow boats (Dhs150), donut boats (Dhs300), and water bikes (Dhs60 per person) available for hire.
8. … and some of them are DOG-FRIENDLY
Yes, you and Roofus can paddle off into the distance in a two-man (dog?) kayak, or ride off into the sunset in a yellow boat.
9. The JA Hatta Fort Hotel has had a refurb and looks glorious
Dubai veterans wax lyrical about JA Hatta Fort Hotel, and for good reason. It has that old school charm that warms the soul. The enormous rooms have had a beautiful refurb but still manage to retain that lovely boutique chalet feel – and the views out across the Hajar Mountains are spectacular.
After a full day exploring the outdoors, you can sit on at the pool terrace with a shisha and sundowner toasting to a day well spent. Room rates start at Dhs699 per night.
10. You can also sleep in an air-stream trailer or lodge
The Hatta Sedr trailers, by Dubai-based developer Meraas, began operation late last year and have been booked out ever since. A one-night stay costs around Dhs650. These are located away from Hatta Wadi Dam complex and closer to the reservoir. Meanwhile, the Hatta Damani Lodges are the mountain cabins located just about Hatta Wadi Hub. Cabin rates start at Dhs949. Be warned, you’ll need to book far in advance as both locations get booked up fast. If you decide to stay at either spot, you’ll need to remember to bring your own barbecue equipment and food (plus plates, knives, forks, etc).