Jebel Jais is located in Ras Al Khaimah which is one of the seven emirates of the UAE. The meaning of its name is “top of the tent”. Its capital is a city of the same name, proud of its rich culture and a history prevailing for 7,000 years.
It lies at a forty-five-minute, northward distance from Dubai and is called one of the world’s rapidly-prospering tourism destinations. The focus is on sand and sun vacations.
There is a selection of archaeological sites and breath-taking natural vistas. Among these are golden sand beaches, awe-inspiring terracotta dunes, and a green belt of date palm trees. One of the wondrous marvels that it shares with Oman has earned it worldwide renown.
There is a mountain range named Hajar. It came into being more than seventy million years ago towards the east of the emirate Ras Al Khaimah (R.A.K.). Now it stands, boasting an altitude of 1934 meters above sea level.
In this article, we will be going over what the star of this mountain range is. We will look at its facts, travel requirements, vistas, and how the Arab authorities have brought infrastructure to the area. After examining the choice of travel medium, we will see what impediments there might be and ways to account for them. While the emphasis is not on a textual tour of the hike, there are some points of interest we state.
Before starting, we would wish to make a disclaimer. All tourists should use the latest updates on touring sites while planning a trip. This article is merely for reference and does not guarantee lasting accuracy. Potentially dangerous activities are warned about beforehand.
The highest peak of this range is the titular Jebel Jais. The highest point of this summit lies towards Oman. It is the genuine “highest point” in the U.A.E., rather than the Burj Khalifa. While the true peak is in Oman, the highest public point in the UAE is at sixteen-hundred-and-forty meters.
There is no shortage of scenic views here. It is a challenge to try to describe what it might present. However, the writer shall make an ambitious attempt.
Along the road, from below to above, there are intricate, natural textures on the rocks. These are in zigzagging, crackling patterns as interweaving grooves. Some contain deeper fissures in irregular paths. One can imagine such unique textures arrayed on top of each other and those arrays stretching across enormous formations. Such formations being numerous enough to be seen far and wide from elevation. Varying hues distinguishing them from each other. The mountainous landscape of the Hajar range would agree with such imagery. The descending sight would meet part of the Arabian Gulf too. Come dusk, and they would have the iridescent reflection of the glittery night-lights adorning them. The colors in the panoramic view would be bright and contrasting at this time. Showcasing the combination of decorative tastes from the city and the outskirts, it would be an experience worthwhile.
So the next question arises; how would one reach here? The next question is, are you in Dubai? If so, the drive is assumed to be three hours long. The general direction is northward. You have arrived at the starting point when you see a certain signpost. It would carry the label of the viewing deck park. This point is from where the challenging journey would begin. To reach the summit, the most popular option is hiking.
We recommend registering at the booth in the deck park. Doing this will allow the management to know your whereabouts.
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has even started a shuttle service. It can help you commute from the emirate to the mountains for twenty dirhams. It operates three daily coaches.
The first resting point comes after over four kilometers of climbing a steep slope. This exercise could be tiring and requires stamina. The first stretch is the lowest part on the trail and begs for enthusiasm. Therefore, it would not be helpful to have the sun greeting the hiker eagerly. The times where it is easy to avoid this would be at dawn, just before sunrise. A word of warning; the foggy mornings would hinder some of the viewing activity.
The other option you could explore, if hiking is too physical, is a scenic drive. Winding your way up the mountain on the paved roads could last for thirty kilometers. And as discussed above, your window will be the main entertainment-provider.
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A middle-ground option between these two is cycling, utilizing the roads. One may opt to do this with groups of friends for more motivation. Just as with hiking, this will be a challenge to your stamina and endurance. The trekking trail is rather straightforward in theory. It consists mainly of undulating paths around the mountain.
As one passes from one summit to another, there are various information boards planted. Fortunate tourists could find a goat roaming about.
Yet another warning; after the second summit, the edge of the trail grows nearer to the path you might follow. It is easily visible, but one must literally tread with caution, especially if children have come.
After successfully crossing over to a significant height, the activities depend on your choice. Families choose to camp in Jebel Jais to mesmerize themselves in the ecosystem. Erecting tents and cooking barbeques for dinner in the fresh and peaceful air deepens togetherness. The smoke and din of the city would be a distant, beautiful backdrop and clear skies with clustered stars above you.
The sunrise on the mountain is called unique. From beyond the silhouette of the range, it comes with an explosion of fiery color. Both extremes of the day deserve to be watched with visual aids and even filmed.
The mountain is the habitat of camels, foxes, goats, wildcats, and bird species number in hundreds. After the rains of winter, the fauna is accentuated by bursts of color. Irises, daisies, and purple lilies happily blossom over the lusher, fertile ground. Camping near a Wadi would be fruitful because one can also encounter the Sidr tree. It is well-regarded in medicine and may host beehives that produce quality honey. Experts suggest Wadi Shahhah and Wadi Ghaliah for camping.
The weather in the Jebel Jais journey will continue to change. It decreases by ten degrees as you go higher. The climate of this area is cool, but the temperature in summer can reach twenty-seven degrees celsius. The air will feel warmer during the transition from noon to afternoon. However, at nighttime, the breeze will be chilly, comparable to the start of winter.
In winter, lows of minus five degrees have been recorded. It is on the Hajar mountains that a rare instance of snowfall occurred in the U.A.E. Last year, January 2020, the peak was dipped in hail and snow, again dropping the readings to below zero.
This is especially notable, as the U.A.E. is known for its heat and desert climates. The entire area has a colder inclination than the rest of the country. Planning for a trip requires resourcefulness. The View Deck Park provides many services beyond being a starting point. There is an assortment of seats and tables, restrooms, and snacking cafes. Fittingly for its name, the park has some excellent positions for observing the majestic sights of the range. We would encourage a quality camera and some money with each family because the park has an entrance fee. As of this writing, one can expect to find coffees, cappuccinos, salads, and oven-foods like pizzas and pastries. Two of the eateries are the Puro Express and the Muse Cafe. The Puro Express is an extension of the Puro Restaurant. It overlooks the coastline and is RAK’s first rooftop lounge.
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Also accessible to tourists are viewing accessories, telescopes, and binoculars for instance, on rent. On the Omani side, the mountain is largely undeveloped. Access is not allowed.
The country’s administration has sincerely supported tourism in this area by developing safe roads, shuttle-bus, and the Park. There is an Etisalat cell tower and a flat area claimed as parking space. The cost of the roads might be three hundred million dirhams. One can obtain helpful information about the weather, the trail, and current conditions. There is also the option to book a seat on the tour bus that can transport you to the top. Aside from noteworthy food and observation deck, the park provides another attraction.
It is the famed Ice Rink. This has been implemented recently and is one hundred and fifty square meters across. Rumor has it, it feels like skating across the snowy mountain. The view of the rest of the range will accompany you when you stare above the railing while skating.
Now we shall discuss arguably the most famous one. This is the Jebel Jais Zipline, measured at two point eight kilometers. It is known for being the longest zipline in the world, even being certified by Guinness’s Book of World Records. The starting height is one thousand, six hundred and eighty meters (1680) above sea-level. Tourists will find themselves speeding along at one fifty kilometers per hour, scouring the mountain-scape as they go face-first. Once again, be cautious. The weight limit is one hundred and thirty kilograms, and the use of a helmet, goggles, and parachute are mandatory. The wind speed is too great to compromise on the goggles.
Hikers are advised to prepare with all the supplementary tools for their cooking and camping needs. Because of the challenges detailed above, one needs to be vigilant of slightly older or younger family members. The risk should be assessed tentatively. This is not a journey heart patients ought to take.
The opportunity for the best views may be squandered if one does not account for a half-day stay. As the sun would be unwelcome on anyone’s back, the winters are the recommended time to visit.
There are no stores or markets on the trail, only outdoor wonders, and possible fatigue. We cannot stress enough the importance of packing sufficient water and food supplies. Tents, mattresses, satellite phones, first-aid kits, and bags should be chosen carefully. If possible, a mountaineering guide would be best.
Plans for the area include a possible hotel, golf course, cable car, and even a ski slope. There might be more buildings constructed for the use of the zip line company. But this does not refer to the near future. And despite the lack thereof, the recent attraction is garnering popularity across the world. This is worth minding, as there are likely to be plenty more travelers on the trail. The mountain, parking space, and its facilities could be overused when you arrive. Any tourist could be downcast by encountering hordes. The optimal spot in the Wadi of your choosing could be occupied. In a week, the weekends are the busiest times, so be prepared to violate the norm.
While in Ras Al Khaimah, as you wait for the right blend of time and resources, it is worth exploring the city. Aside from the beaches and date palms, one should consider going to the National RAK museum. This will give tourists an insight into the ways of previous rulers. The museum itself is housed by the palace of the Al Qasimi family.
Meanwhile, as you plan, we would encourage purchasing or borrowing brochures and catalogs for aerial panoramas of the view. This will also guide you about the points you want to choose and chart your hiking routes as appropriate. One must keep to the physical strengths and limits of their group and not ruin the visit by tiring or injuring themselves.
If you plan to drive, pay great attention to the hairpin turns on the roads. Incidentally, from a distance, they also constitute interesting photos of the road.
Overall, a trip to indulge in the ecosystem of the Al Hajar Mountains would not disappoint. This is a chance to experience one of the sanctuaries provided by nature. It allows you to bid the troubles of the city farewell for a time. When you return, to the city or your home, you are sure to be both refreshed and have a sense of accomplishment for your effort.