Dubai: If you think weekends in the UAE are only about malls, meals and movies, it’s time for a refreshing break. Away from all that’s familiar, the great outdoors beckons.
From mountain biking, hiking, canyoning and camping to everything in between, there’s a whole range of activities you can explore out there in the open with professional guidance.
Dubai-based outdoor enthusiasts Fadi Hachicho and Ebrahim El Khajeh, who have set up Adventurati Outdoor which provides such guidance, caters to people of all ages, abilities and nationalities.
There is so much more to the UAE than the concrete jungle we see everyday. The outdoors offers us a chance to connect with ourselves.”
- Fadi Hachicho | Adventurati outdoor
“There is so much more to the UAE than the concrete jungle we see everyday. The outdoors offers us a chance to connect with ourselves and others who are looking for something more. By going into the mountains, we challenge ourselves, build new friendships and find a little piece of ourselves we never knew existed,” said Hachicho.
The idea of exploring the outdoors originated in 2015. Hachicho said, “I found myself longing to go out and discover the natural surroundings of the UAE and Oman every weekend. It was my happy place. In August 2015 I quit my job and travelled to Alaska to attend an outdoor leadership school where I qualified as a certified guide specialising in mountaineering, rock climbing and ice climbing. This allowed me, with the support of close friends and family, to pursue the work I feel I was born to do.”
He said he and climbing partner El Khajeh wanted to build a community where they could share their love of the great outdoors with like-minded people, to create opportunities for everyone to experience the beauty and natural terrain of the region.
Adventurati Outdoor’s services include everything from leisure climbing to outdoor education. “Through these, we offer not only a gateway for beginners to explore the mountain environment and local culture, but also a challenging excursion that feeds their appetite for adrenaline (see box).”
The weekend excursions are especially popular. “They are well-attended as they offer residents who live in the busy emirates an accessible and affordable way to experience the outdoors. We often see people returning at least once or twice a month after their first trip to discover new and more challenging routes.”
He said, “Residents and tourists want to invest in experiences and step outside their comfort zone. They are looking for different ways to spend their time. Activities like mountain biking, hiking, canyoning and camping are only set to increase in demand as adventure tourism grows in the UAE, especially with the recent launch of the world’s longest zipline in Ras Al Khaimah and Al Marmoum Desert Reserve in Dubai.”
Hachicho said last week, Adventurati Outdoor collaborated with leadership coaches Michel Maas and Mais Al Hasan for RISE, an outdoor leadership course that helps people realise their mental and physical potential in an “outdoor mindfulness” experience.
The two-day course combined outdoor activities (obstacle course, exploring, hiking and abseiling) with different exercises to free the mind of obstacles, against a natural backdrop in the UAE wilderness.
The cost of the trips varies. “Our average weekend day hikes are priced Dh330-Dh400 depending on the terrain. The cost includes breakfast, trail mix for the hike and non-stop entertainment and fun.”
Adventurati Outdoor also organizes international excursions.
“We have established strong partnerships with natives of each of the countries we operate in to offer authentic experiences. We organise excursions to Nepal, Tanzania, Georgia, Russia, Lebanon and Montenegro.”
The next trip on the agenda is to Nepal this month.
“We plan to offer different trips catering to different fitness levels. People can enjoy the majestic Himalayan views and the hospitality of Nepal. It is Mount Everest climbing season, so they can get out and get inspired as they challenge their own boundaries,” added Hachicho.
Themes to try
is the starting price of a weekend tour within the UAE
Weekend getaways: Include full day excursions to the mountains and wadis. Activities include hiking, rock climbing and canyoning in various locations across Ras Al Khaimah, specifically Jabal Jais
Educational trips: Specially meant for school children to learn about nature and the environment in the UAE
Touristy picks: A more private experience, these include single or multi-day trips that combine the outdoors with visits to local forts and cultural experiences
Mindfulness excursions: Conducted in partnership with certified wellness experts, these trips help achieve a work-life balance. The programmes include hiking, challenging obstacles, life-coaching, meditation etc
Community/volunteer work: The trips create awareness around Leave No Trace to safeguard the mountain ecosystem
Team building: Year-round outdoor team building events help in the development of skills around trust, cooperation etc.