Yet Dubai’s charm extends well beyond the city walls, with mountains, mangroves, desert, native wildlife and coastline just a stone’s-throw away. With a huge range of incredible outdoor adventures waiting to be discovered, a journey to these rugged landscapes offers a new and meaningful way for UAE residents to experience Dubai once again and authentically re-connect with the destination. What’s more, with trips back to nature where there is plenty of space to roam and feel safe set to be at the top of travellers’ priority list for 2021, Dubai offers the perfect escape.
Beyond the metropolitan city of Dubai and through scenic desert lies the stunning mountain range of Hatta. Just a 90-minute drive from Downtown Dubai, this mountain conservation reserve is nestled amidst the majestic Hajar Mountains, which extends for 700 kilometres and is the highest mountain range in the eastern Arabian Peninsula.
The area offers great outdoor adventures and natural scenery making it a great choice for photographers, nature lovers and adventure seekers. The area’s mountains, wadis and farms act as the perfect backdrop for a range of diverse leisure experiences including the Hatta Dam, a stunning spot for kayaking and boat trips where mountains meet the water.
Beautiful nature walks are plentiful with more than 30 kilometres of hiking trails, whilst the Hatta Wadi Hub offers a range of daring activities with such as archery, axe throwing, mountain carting, wall climbing and a zip-line experience. For travellers looking to enjoy an organised safari experience, leading tour operator Platinum Heritage offers a number of safe sustainable experiences through a dedicated Hygiene Manager.
The expansive Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve spans 10 per cent of the emirate of Dubai and is the UAE's largest unfenced nature reserve. Just one hours’ drive south of the city it invites visitors to venture through the sands, cycle amid the dunes or enjoy a picnic in the wild.
Known for its sustainability initiatives, Al Marmoom is abundant with native wildlife such as Arabian gazelles, camels and birds. Once considered globally extinct, the Arabian oryx has successfully been saved after breeding programmes and re-introductions into the wild. The nearby Al Qudra lakes, a network of manmade lakes in the desert, are home to 170 types of bird species, including endangered or vulnerable species.
Possibly the jewel-in-the-crown is the atmospheric Love Lake Dubai, a scenic spot consisting of two heart-shaped lakes connected to each other, surrounded by romantically inspired sculptures and greenery.
Located on the edge the city there’s also the serene Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. This expansive wetland reserve serves as a breeding ground each year for crustaceans, mammals and fish, but it is the brightly coloured flamingos that steal the show in winter. Visitors will also find grey herons, great egrets, reef herons, cormorants, black-winged stilts, sandpipers and ospreys at this natural habitat, which is closely monitored and protected by the Dubai Municipality.
* Find Dubai Tourism on stands ME3110, ME3140, ME2520
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
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