Long weekends have come and gone, most of us still have no clue where to go on a weekend. But when in UAE, the options are unlimited. Don’t believe me? Ok so let me start off with top 5 must-visit long drive journey’s in this country. No, no we are not talking about the obvious like those water parks, Hili fun city, desert safari etc. Some you already knew of and some you didn’t. Cost – just a full tank petrol and try something yummy on the way!
1. Hatta Safari – We went on a Hatta exploration last set of Eid holidays. Always great to have long weekends isn’t it? Specially when you need to catch up on sleep and being lazy for a change. So this Eid, all we had planned was to eat, sleep and pray but by the 3rd day we were tired of this routine. No one would join us for a last minute trip as most were on their way back from their mini trips over the weekend. So we decided to head for yet another long drive within UAE. Though we knew long drive was the plan but didn’t know which way to head to, while browsing through my emails I noticed Hatta safari offers online. I must admit the pictures of the place specially of those including wadi tempted me to start the trip right away. So on the last day of holiday at 8 o clock in the morning we were out carrying snacks and just water to drink. Oh! And a GPS system. So the first place on our agenda was to get to wadi, filled a full tank of petrol, headed off to Hatta through deserted roads, rocky mountains, some painted with a flag. We saw there were many people stopping to click pictures, most probably for their next Facebook timeline images. After a long drive about 100kms away from Dubai, through the Hajar mountains and finishing two packs of chips, we managed to reach Hatta.
Off to the wadis through the rocky tracks where fresh water streams and crystal clear pools of wadi was the most refreshing experience this Eid. Next stop was at the Hatta dam, long never ending mountains in the background with crystal clear water was a rare experience in UAE. Extremely hungry, we decided to find a hotel near by and grab brunch before we went on to our next stop at heritage village.
Heritage village at Hatta will take you through the times of sheikhs, history of all forts in UAE, how they lived, their houses and so on. We stopped back at wadi on our way back and got home right in time for afternoon nap.
2. Al Qudra Lake – Not a very a known place to the common explorers in the region, Al Qudra lake is a man made lake which homes to many exotic and rare birds. Ensure you have your binoculars along with you as well as a barbeque set if you are going with your friends and family. This is just the perfect picnic spot! Quiet, calm a drive through those long empty cycling tracks and roads.
3. Hajar Mountains of Ras Al Khaimah – One of the weekends (the week before salary of course) Though we wanted to explore a new place, the budget was very restricted and we had gone with a group of people. We decided to go with the Qalat Al Dhaya rest house. Though it’s a budget rest house in Ras Al Khaimah, the view of the fort and services was fairly good. Not that we expected 5-star treatment! With friends and family the weekend stay turned out to be really fun. So we started off on Thursday evening with a coach bus full of people. Booked about 14 rooms, audio and karaoke system was carried along.
Qalat Al Dhaya is located at the end of the road, overlooking the mountains and on top of it is a fort. After the stay we got back on the coach and set off to explore the Hajar mountains. What you can expect are the dramatic canyons, rocky valleys and being on the highest point of the north Musandam peninsula.
RAK’s Hajar Mountains is a natural wonder in the region. It slopes directly into the sea with highest point located in the north. The area is known as the ‘Ru’us Al-Jibal’, implying ‘Heads of the Mountains’. The Hajar Mountain has the world’s greatest surface exposure of igneous rock from oceanic crust and is much liked by geologists. Hajar Mountains offer an excellent view of rust-colored sand dunes.
The view of the sea and the route to the top is simply amazing!
4. Al Jahili Fort – This summer residence built back in 1890 by Sheikh Zayed 1 is truly a site to visit and explore the way people or rather the royals lived back then. Considered to be one the largest forts in the UAE has natural climate control using the mud bricks, hence the internal temperatures are said to be stabilised as 22-degree celsius. If your plan is to take a drive to Al Ain then this place is a must visit as well.
5. Arabian Wildlife Park, Sir Baniyas Island – Set in a remote island in Abu Dhabi, Arabian Wild life sanctuary in Sir Baniyas island is said to home over 10,000 free roaming animals. This island also has a beautiful resort, a five star one of course – Anantara. On your journey to this island, you can expect to spot Oryx, gazelles, deer, ostriches, giraffes, cheetahs and more…
So guys go on an exploration within the region this coming long weekend.