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Best outdoor locations for the ultimate adventure

I have been present in the UAE primarily in undoubtably my favorite city Dubai that has truly become home.This goes all without saying coming in from a country where adventure and camping was the name of the game. I was bought up with this in my own back yard.

Being in the UAE has certainly grabbed my attention to once again go find my solace through exploring the outdoor life in the UAE.

There are a few reasons that many UAE residents are getting out of the city on weekends to go camping. That smell of a campfire, the view of the stars, the taste of the bbq are a few of the reasons. But there’s a lot you need to know before planning you trip.

Therefore, there is a few tips to consider before you too go and explore if you into outdoor adventure trips


Never go camping unless you are prepared; It’s not for amateurs, mostly involves off-roading and in many parts, you will be out of mobile range.  Read up well, heed warnings from those more experienced than you.  Make sure you read the safety precautions.

Camping Items List (specific for this region)

  • Tent or shelter
  • Sheets and sleeping bags
  • Blow-up mattress and pillows
  • Firewood, grills and stove top kettle
  • Barbecue set and tin foil
  • Charcoal and matches
  • First Aid Kit
  • Tow rope
  • Rubbish bags
  • Tissues and wipes
  • Maps and GPS (when off-roading)
  • Insect repellant
  • Cool Box and ice
  • Water- for drinking and washing
  • Torch or flashlight

Before going on a camping trip for a weekend getaway with family and friends, it is important to make a check list of all the essentials you may need. It is essential to take all the safety precautions to ensure you have a safe camping trip.

Sites for setting up tent

The site should not be in low areas such as stream valleys, or next to a cliff, and the tent site should also not be set up at the base of a cliff.

Tents should be set up far away from cooking stations or where wood is burned, and be a safe distance from fuel depots, fuel storage tanks, generators.

In general tents should be in areas far enough from water tide levels. (Although its vary rare however flash floods do occur from time to time in the wadis)

Campers are also advised to avoid wadi beds or wet mud areas which may be infested with scorpions, ants and other insects. Use flat lands that are free of stones and potholes to avoid creating a moist environment in and around the tent.

How to avoid a fire.

  • All light sources and lanterns should be kept at least 50 centimeters away from the tent.
  • Do not use heated equipment, such as barbeques and coal, inside the tent.
  • Ensure a fire extinguisher is available nearby or inside the tent.
  • Do not use open flames, such as candles or lighters, inside the tent.
  • Firewood must be stored away from the tent by a minimum of 15 feet at any given time.

Other safety instructions:

  • Use a suitable four-wheel-drive car for easy movement and carry all the required maintenance tools to aid you in the event of any damage to the tyres. Above all, learn how to change a tyre before heading out on a camping trip.
  • Do not drive into the wadi’s when it is raining and always pay attention to the road.
  • Avoid throwing waste in unhealthy and unsafe ways as it attracts insects and creates an unhealthy environment. Take precaution when lifting rocks as you do not know what kind of harmful animals or insects may be hidden nearby

Places to Go

Lahab sands

Getting There: Take Al Awir Road/E44 and then Dubai-Hatta Road/Ras Al Khor Road to your destination in Lahbab.

What to expect: Known for its unusual  red sands, Lahbab. Many start off close to the familiar Fossil Rock that’s also a great place for star gazing. Attempting the ‘Big Red’, a 300-foot high sand dune, is a dune basher’s delight. You could also head over to the sleepy village of Madam just before the Hatta border crossing for more camping spots where you may have some wandering camels from local farms for company.

Hajar Mountains

Getting there: Hit Mohammad Bin Zayed Road heading north and then get on to Al Dhaid Road (E88) in the direction of Masafi.

What to expect: Start off at Al Hala, a village in the foothills of the Hajar Mountains where there’s Wadi Taybah, not far from the village of Al Taybah. Drive through to Masafi, UAE’s version of Évian-les-Bains, famous for its spring water. There’s also a Friday market that actually opens every day. You could camp anywhere en route to the mountains. The picturesque Wadi Wurayah is about an hour’s drive from Masafi, not far from the foothills of the Hajar Mountains. Roughly 20km off the Khor Fakkan beach, the rocky terrain of the region will take you down winding ravines, leading you to serene waterfalls.

Jabal Al Jais

Getting there: Take Shaikh Mohammad Bin Salem Road/E11 in Al Riffa and then Khuzam Road

What to expect: Stunningly beautiful mountainscape with naturally scultped rocks will take your breath away on your way up to Jebal Al Jais, the UAE’s tallest mountain. With temperatures recorded as low as -3 degrees Celsius (in January 2009 when the enitre mountain cluster was covered in snow), it is also amongst the coolest places in the country, often making ovenight stays here a bone-chilling affair.

Umm Al Quwain beach

Getting there: Take Mohammad Bin Zayed Road north towards Ajman, and take Dreamland Waterpark exit.

What to expect: The beaches are a perfect gateway even for a daytime trip or a night-time barbecue. For more fun, you could also visit the old fishing villages along the peninsula at Al Raas where you may spot flamingos and other wild birds. Some adventure seekers even go as far as exploring the mangroves along the coast on a kayak. If a beach is what you want, there are plenty in the eastern coast of Fujairah as well. A popular destination is the quaint little town of Dibbah on the east coast entry point to the Mussandam Peninsula.

Distance: 2hrs 10mins from Abu Dhabi Corniche; 1hr from Safa Park

 Hiking Locations in UAE

  • Wadi Tayyibah (Dibba Al Fujairah):This one-way hike, perfect for amateurs, boasts beautiful views of traditional irrigation systems, museums and natural pools.
  • Copper Hike:This spectacular circular route is a 7-kilometre stretch that covers two wadis and an open plateau. Located in Ras Al Khaimah, it is another popular hiking spot in the UAE for beginners looking for an adventure.
  • Stairway to Heaven:A challenging course for seasoned hikers, taking on this track includes a steep climb of over 1500 meters, in what is regarded as one of the most treacherous courses in the city. An ancient Shihuh Mountain route, Stairway to Heaven starts in Wadi Galilah and connects a mountain village to the coast.
  • Jebel Jais: The tallest mountain in the UAE is also home to the world’s longest zip line. Located in Ras Al Khaimah, this particular range offers hiking routes for almost all levels which means that every hiker can have a go at this climb. It will take you on an unbelievable journey through breathtaking canyons like Wasat Canyon, Thunder Canyon and Trident Canyon.

Kayaking Locations is UAE

1 Al Zorah Mangroves
For those who fancy themselves as bird watchers, the Al Zorah Mangroves in Ajman is right up your, erm, creek. An inland creek that extends over 2 sq km of rich wetland, there are around 58 different species of birds inhabiting the ecosystem among trees that grow up to ten metres in length. Even better, explorers can kayak through the mangroves by night.

2 Hatta Kayak
The Hatta Dam looks like it could have been taken straight from a postcard. It’s surrounded by the lofty peaks of the Hajar Mountains and the blue waters are an absolute sight to behold.

3 Louvre Abu Dhabi
You can now experience this beautiful museum in a whole new way. Watersports company Seahawk run one-hour kayak tours around the impressive piece of architecture every weekend and several night tours during the full moon period, too. It’s a great activity whether you’ve got visitors in town, or you just fancy doing something different.

4 Ras Al Khaimah Mangroves
Looking to explore Ras Al Khaimah? Head to the centre of the emirate and get paddling along its mangroves. Teeming with wildlife including a variety of birds (including flamingos) and marine life, take a three-hour kayaking tour from the city to experience nature in all its beauty.

5 Snoopy Island

Imagine if you could see all the marine life swimming below while kayaking? You could imagine, or you could visit Dibba to try out a see-through kayak experience to Snoopy Island off the coast of Fujairah. Paddle your way from Sandy Beach all the way to the island, and even make a few pit stops along the way to dive in and snorkel with all the fish.

6 The Eastern Mangroves

Abu Dhabi’s Mangrove National Park takes up about 43 square miles of the city’s landscape, and if you head along to the Eastern Mangroves Promenade you’ll find plenty of places to rent a kayak. Noukhada Adventure Company offers tours throughout the day including at sunrise and at sunset, or you can simply hire a single or double kayak for an hour or two and head off and explore this gorgeous area by yourself.

7 Wadi Adventure

If you like your water sports with a bit of adrenaline thrown in, you’ll be in your element at Wadi Adventure. It is home to a 1.7km white-water kayaking channel, which also happens to be the world’s longest (this is the UAE after all, so we don’t do things by halves). The centre also provides kayaking lessons.


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