Dubai’s laid-back neighbour, Ras al Khaimah (RAK), is rapidly becoming known as a top destination for a relaxing beach holiday. Peaceful stretches of golden sand, fine dining and fabulous up-scale luxury resorts are all in abundance in this charming emirate. RAK enjoys the long, sunny days that are typical of the UAE, while allowing lucky visitors to avoid the busy lifestyle of its better-known friend. It may be a surprise to some to know that it’s also an ideal holiday setting for adventure-seekers.
Vast deserts, mangrove swamps and the magnificent Hajar mountains offer a treasure trove of beautiful places to get active in Ras Al Khaimah. For outdoors-enthusiasts, there’s lots more to do than simply sunbathe. Here are some of the exciting adventures on offer:
Unique to Ras Al Khaimah, adrenaline junkies visiting the area can take on the Middle East’s first commercial via ferrata on a route through the UAE’s highest mountain, Jebel Jais. Three stomach-flipping zip-lines await, plus iron ladders that will take you to some heady heights during your trip. There’s some stunning views along the way – if you can keep your eyes open for long enough!
Alternatively, experienced hikers can spend a day climbing above the clouds on a guided trek up Jebel Qihwi. This challenging mountain walk rewards those who brave it with spectacular views across the Hajar mountains from the top. It’s worth every drip of sweat to sip a cuppa on the summit.
Mountain biking is becoming more and more popular in Ras Al Khaimah and throughout the UAE. Routes available are appropriate for everyone from beginners to advanced level, and it’s a sensational way to explore the Hajar Mountain Wadis. Holidaymakers can either hire bikes to cycle independently, or join a guided tour.
Day trips slightly further afield in Fujairah are also easy from the luxury hotels in Ras Al Khaimah. Here, you can experience the routes of the impressive Hatta Mountain Bike Trails. With all these hilly paths around, just remember that what goes up must come down – it’s the best part!
Ras Al Khaimah boasts miles of pristine sandy coastline, with a blissfully warm sea that’s ideal for water sports. Many luxury hotels will offer the latest aquatic activities straight from resort, which could be anything from water-skiing to sailing, or even scuba diving.
If you fancy a more tranquil day out, there are also some fantastic opportunities for kayaking. Paddle through the gentle waters of the mangroves, spotting the local wildlife along the way. It’s an incredible way to see the capital city from a new angle.
Where there are desert sands, there’s dune bashing to be done! Ras Al Khaimah is the ideal place for those who fancy surfing the sandy waves in a Toyota Land Cruiser. The best time to go is at sunset, when the views across the desert will be glowing in the fading flame of the sun. Many tours combine this thrilling experience with a chilled-out evening at the Bedouin Oasis Camp. Here, you can let the heart rate slow for a while and fill up on traditional cuisines for a glorious evening under the stars.
There’s surely no better way to see the unspoilt natural beauty of Ras Al Khaimah than by horseback. Riding though the vegetation of the Al Wadi desert, you’ll have the chance to see a delightful array of wildlife, including sand gazelles, desert foxes and potentially Arabian oryx.
For an even more adventurous experience, why not choose a camel as your four-footed vehicle. Trotting along on the back of one of these native beasts is a super-fun activity for all the family, and a must-do while in Ras Al Khaimah.
To top all this off, the world’s longest zipline is due to open soon on Jebel Jais mountain. This exciting addition to Ras Al Khaimah’s adventure scene promises to be a record-breaking length of spine-tingling thrills. Soaring through the air at up to 80mph, this sky-high experience will not be for the faint hearted. Eeeek - we can’t wait!