Dubai: Looking for a rocking outdoor experience this winter? Then head to RAK (Ras Al Khaimah), where you can enjoy the coast, desert, mountain, sea and mangrove all in one emirate.
With thousands of years of recorded human history, Ras Al Khaimah is steeped in rich Arabian culture and a fascinating Bedouin heritage. It has four archaeological sites listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Al Jazirah Al Hamra, Dhayah area (including Dhayah Fort), Shimmal and Julphar. In fact, RAK is the only emirate to have four archaeological sites on the list.
The 19th century Dhayah Fort is based on ancient ruins spanning back 5,000 years while Al Jazirah Al Hamra is the last authentic and traditional town still existing in the UAE. Here one can find carefully restored forts, mosques and traditional coral-stone houses. There is also Suwaidi Pearl Farm, where one can learn about the country’s rich pearl diving history.
From the antiquities, one can fast forward to modern amenities. Al Marjan Island is a man-made archipelago stretching 4.5km into the sea and encompasses an area of 2.7million square meters. It boasts of premium hotels and exclusive amenities.
RAK is perfect for water activities with its wide array of watersports to choose from such as kayaking in the mangroves and high octane motorised water sports. There is also a relaxing dhow cruise.
Camel riding, dune bashing, and horse riding are just some of the desert adventures at RAL. It is also best to explore the Al Wadi Nature Reserve or just watch a falcon show. One can also stay at the Bedouin Oasis Desert Camp, where there is a dome tent in the middle of the desert.
Explore the mountains
But what is visiting Ras Al Khaimah without experiencing mountain activities? RAK is home to Jebel Jais, the highest peak in the UAE at 1,934 meters and it is usually 10 degrees cooler than sea level.
At Jebel Jais, one can do yoga while revelling in fresh air and stretching in picturesque surroundings. The Viewing Deck Park has seven viewing decks with twelve binoculars located on 1,250 meters above sea level.
If you feel more adventurous, then try the Jais Sky Maze Challenge or the extremely challenging Jebel Jais Flight, the world’s longest zip Line listed in Guinness World Record at 2.83 kilomteres long.
Thre is also the Bear Grylls Explorers Camp and Mountain Tribe Experience, where one can spend a day exploring the mountains with the Shehhi tribe and learn about their customs and traditions.
Health and safety
According to Safe Travels & Bureau Veritas Certificate, Ras Al Khaimah reacted quickly in implementing COVID-19 precautionary measures. It has received the ‘Safeguard Assurance’ Label from Bureau Veritas and was recognised by the World Travel & Tourism Council as a ‘Safe Travels’ destination.