14 of the most adventurous outdoor activities in the UAE
We love the great outdoors…
Thinking of doing any outdoor activities in the UAE during summer is a big no-no. But thankfully, it’s getting to that time of the year when you switch the conversations from ‘It’s so humid’ to ‘Wow, it’s so pleasant’.
So, if you want to breathe in some fresh air and go on an adventure, here are some of the best outdoor activities in the UAE to check out…
Kayak through the Abu Dhabi Mangroves
For a hit of fresh air in the capital, visit Jubail Mangrove Park where a number of activities await. Go on a boardwalk experience (Dhs5 to Dhs15), enjoy a sunset electric dragon boat experience (Dhs110 to Dhs130), or go kayaking – single or double (Dhs100 to 120) and much more. Still too warm for you at the moment? There’s a kayaking night experience (when the weather is significantly cooler) in glowing kayaks for Dhs110 to Dhs140. Book your experience here.
Jubail Mangrove Park, Al Jubail Island (next to Saadiyat Island), Abu Dhabi, 7am to 9pm daily, Tel: (0)56 303 2423. park.jubailisland.ae
Or, kayak around the Louvre Abu Dhabi
A fan of the gorgeous Louvre Abu Dhabi? Sure, the inside is stunning, but you can see the stunning exterior too in a whole different light. You will be able to enjoy the stillness of the Arabian Sea and learn all about the Louvre Abu Dhabi from your kayak from the professional team at Sea Hawk. There are a number of tours to pick from including sunrise kayaking, full moon kayaking, and there are sessions for the junior adventurers, too. Prices start from Dhs126. Book here.
Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, Dhs126. Tel: (02) 673 6688, sea-hawk.ae
Take a hike up Jebel Hafeet
The rugged backdrop to Al Ain, Jebel Hafeet is Abu Dhabi’s highest peak, at 1,240 metres. Not for novices, Jebel Hafeet is geared towards experienced hikers who can handle the steep routes and punishing terrain. Beat the heat with an early morning or evening hike, and be sure to bring your sturdiest boots, hiking poles, and refreshments. Post this (energy levels dependent), you can freshen up with kayaking, wakeboarding, enjoy the pool and splash pool and more.
Have some fun at Hudayriyat Mar Vista
Whether it’s to exercise or to just get your heart pumping, Hudayriyat Mar Vista is a great place to be. There’s a sports village with fields, pitches, tennis and basketball court and more; a bike park; a cycling track; Circuit X which is home to BMX Park, Skate Park, Splash Park and High Ropes Park and more. The OCR Park has several challenging obstacles where you can test your strength, stamina and endurance.
Spot dolphins at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort
Dolphins are majestic creatures and if you want to spot them in the capital, head to Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort. A study conducted by the Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi (EAD) found that over 700 humpback dolphins live close to the coast of Abu Dhabi, making it the largest known population in the world. Grab a pair of binoculars and head to one of the many hotels along that shorefront (including Jumeirah at Saadiyat and Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island) or speak to the concierge at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort and they will direct you to the best dolphin-spotting teams in Abu Dhabi.
See the best of the city with Abu Dhabi Yellow Boats tour
Abu Dhabi is actually an archipelago made up of more than 200 islands which means that one of the best ways to explore the city is via its grid of waterways. Head to the website and pick from a Corniche tour, Yas Island tour, or the Yas Island Experience. Prices start from Dhs99.
Cycle around Al Qudra Lakes
Just a 30-minute drive from Dubai, Al Qudra Lakes has become a firm favourite among the UAE cycling set. Keep your eyes peeled for wild oryx and camels as you ride the 85km Al Qudra Cycle Course through the sand dunes. If you don’t have your own wheels, you can hire a bike from the Trek Bicycle Store at Seih Al Salam, near the Al Qudra Course.
Al Qudra Cycle Course, Al Qudra Road. Tel: (04) 832 7377. trekbikes.ae
Hit the waves in Dubai
Surfing may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Dubai, but when during the cooler season, those in the know make a beeline for Sunset Beach. Rent a surfboard or standup paddleboard from the Surf House for a paddle in the shadow of Burj Al Arab. Want to learn? You can even get lessons from the cool team. Read all the details here.
Surf House Dubai, Villa 12A, Umm Suqeim, Jumeirah 3, Tel: (0)50 504 3020. surfingdubai.com
Get your adrenaline pumping at Hatta Wadi Hub
Your bucket list of outdoor activities in the UAE is incomplete without Hatta as it has fast become one of the biggest adventure hubs in the UAE. It’s a 90-minute drive from Dubai but you are guaranteed a day of open-air thrills. It is open for its fifth season which means you can once again take on the ropes course, try archery, scream on the zip lines, throw axes, go paragliding or horse riding, go off-roading on electric scooters and much more.
Hatta Wadi Hub, located off the Dubai-Hatta road, Dubai Tel: (0)4 820 5500. visithatta.com
Hike around Hatta
Strap on a pair of sturdy shoes for and take on the hiking trails through the Hajar Mountains, via wadis and rocky outcrops. Be sure to pack water, snacks and a fully charged phone for the 32.6km of trails, rated easy, moderate, difficult and extreme. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Hatta Wadi Hub, located off the Dubai-Hatta road, two-hour guided hiking tour, Tel: (0)56 616 2111. visithatta.com
Ride a mountain bike in Hatta
Fancy a pedal instead? The Hatta Mountain Bike Trail Centre offers a challenging trails catered for everyone from beginners to professional riders. No wheels? No worries! You can hire bikes at the Wadi Hub from Dhs65 for an hour. It is only open to those above the age of 10 (minimum height, 120cm).
Hatta Wadi Hub, located off the Dubai-Hatta road, 6am to 6pm. Tel: (800) 637 227. visithatta.com
Go kayaking in Hatta’s quiet waters
A 15-minute drive from Hatta Wadi Hub brings you to Hatta Dam, a postcard-perfect reservoir framed by mountain ranges. Hire the equipment for Dhs60 per person or Dhs120 for a double kayak, or even hop on a fun donut boats. Hatta Dam is easily accessible from the Sedr Trailers Resort. All boats are also available during night rides, but some areas will be restricted for safety after sunset.
Hatta Kayaks, Hatta Dam, Hatta, Dubai, Mon to Fri 7am to 11am and 3pm to 9pm, Sat and Sun 7am to 9pm. Tel: (0)56 616 2111. hattakayak.com
Ras Al Khaimah
Scale new heights in Ras Al Khaimah
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Ras Al Khaimah is home to a number of adrenaline-pumping experiences. There’s the Jais sledder which opened in February 2022 where thrills await for a starting price of Dhs50. Or take on the Jais Sky Tour – a thrilling two-hour knee-trembling experience, or soar through the skies with Jais Flight (Dhs330), and more. It is also home to the UAE’s highest restaurant – 1484 by Puro.
Jais Adventure Park, Ras al Khaimah. Tel: (0)4 815 7333. visitjebeljais.com
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Explore Wadi Showka
The rugged expanse of Wadi Showka is ripe for outdoor adventures. Go mountain climbing, hiking, trekking, abseiling and more. For more information, email the team on email@example.com
Adventurati Outdoor, Al Manama, RAK Road, Al Kharran, Ras Al Khaimah, Tel: (0)50 280 3663. adventurati-outdoor.com
Go scuba diving in the deep blue sea
Al Boom Diving in Fujairah offers a number of scuba diving opportunities for a starting price of Dhs225. The price includes all the equipment so you don’t need to lug your oxygen tank to Fujairah (thankfully). You will get to witness a number of cool things including shark island, Dibba rocks, Snoopy Island and much more (weather dependent). There are even night packages available where you can explore coral reefs. Read more here.