Abu Dhabi: The mountainous areas of the UAE have entered strongly in the list of the most important tourist attractions in the country during the past few years, and have become attractive destinations for investments, especially in light of the official attention they receive that contributed to improve the level of services and infrastructure in them.
Areas such as Hatta, Jebel Jais and Khor Fakkan have topped the list of the most prominent mountain tourism centres in the country, where these three areas underwent unprecedented plans to transform them into new “tourist treasures” that joined the list of tourist areas in the country.
These areas provide unique advantages, especially at the onset of the tourist season in the country, where they usually witness an attractive climatic condition in terms of low temperatures and rainfall, while the past five years have seen a real transformation in the level of services provided in them, depending on the strategic projects that they witnessed — starting with the extension of road networks that connect these areas with cities and emirates to the major projects that have been announced recently.
Scenic natural sites
Over the past few years, the city of Hatta has turned into a tourist destination for visitors from different regions to enjoy its scenic natural sites such as its mountains and the Hatta Dam and its lake, which provide an ideal setting for camping, swimming and kayaking enthusiasts.
The Hatta Master Development Plan, which was launched in 2016, contributed to an increase of 15 times in tourist numbers until last year, with the number of visitors growing from 60,000 visitors in 2016 to more than one million visitors in 2020. The Plan also aims to transform Hatta into an attractive local and international destination for business, investment and tourism.
Support for domestic tourism
In August 2021, new projects were approved as part of the Hatta development plan. These projects include the establishment of 5.4km-long chairlifts, a Hatta sustainable waterfalls project, a hotel and the construction of hiking trails to the highest peak in Dubai (Jebel Umm Al Nisour, at 1,300 metres). Hatta residents will also be allowed to build 200 holiday homes to support domestic tourism in district.
At 1,300 metres above sea level, Jebel Umm Al Nisour is the highest natural summit in Dubai. The cable car route passes over the Hatta Dam Lake and the Upper Dam Lake for the hydroelectric power station. The departure station will be built on an upper platform above the Hatta Dam.
The Hatta Sustainable Waterfalls project, meanwhile, will use the slope of the upper dam to create a natural waterfall. The water used in the waterfall will be collected at the end of the stream, recycled and pumped back to the top of the dam. Economic and tourism development programmes were also launched.
The Al Suhub Rest House project
In the neighbouring emirate of Sharjah, the ambitious portfolio of development projects announced in the city of Khor Fakkan were included in the list of the most sought-after tourist areas.
The Al Suhub Rest House project is one of a number of new attractions that Sharjah welcomed over the past few years. The new attraction centres around a distinctive circular structure, with a diameter of 30 metres. This incredible new hotspot in the mountains of Khor Fakkan has fascinating architecture. The building’s design resembles a flying saucer. The built mountain-side rest stop that lies 600 meters above sea level, offers panoramic views across Khorfakkan.
Sweeping views and service amenities
Apart from providing ample views of Khor Fakkan, the project also included water fountains, beaches, a restaurant, parking spaces and other service amenities.
After driving up a 5.6km road towards the attraction, visitors will find two rest houses at heights of 233 metres and 480 metres, both offering sweeping views and service amenities.
Al Suhub Rest House, which was built on an area of 10,250 square metres, features a children’s play area of 541 square metres. The area surrounding the restroom was decorated with green spaces, where 8,700 trees were planted to add an aesthetic and healthy character to the area, in addition to providing 89 parking spaces.
Wonderful and safe play areas
Al Suhub Rest House has attracted visitors and tourists, thanks to the luxury services it provides — from restaurants, wonderful and safe play areas for children, in addition to the 730-metre walkway surrounded on all sides by tall palm trees and green plants. The Shees Park is one of the major projects that give wonderful recreational options in the city.
On the mountain range in Khor Fakkan, Al Rafisah Dam has added a charming scene to the area.
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View from Jebel Jais
The summit of Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah remains one of the most important tourist attractions at the local level due to its height of about 2km and its charming view of the Hajar Mountains.
Jebel Jais boasts of its natural and environmental resources and capabilities that qualified it to be a destination for amateurs and professionals of mountaineering and adventure enthusiasts, as it includes the Guinness World Records-certified longest zip-line in the world, whose track extends over a length of 2.83km.