Often when you catch a headline in the national daily that starts with “Lowest temperature today/this week/this month in the UAE…” chances are that sentence ends with “…reported at Jebel Jais.”
So whilst the winter brings the cooler weather to all of the Emirates – Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah – the UAE’s highest peak, offers the lowest temperatures in the country at 1,934 meters above sea level. And the cool breeze is not the only draw…
For the third edition of The Huntr’s Road Trip Series, a few Fridays ago, we set out on a long drive to the Northern Emirates, leaving Dubai around 5:00am (which meant we were on the road to catch the majestic sunrise.)
After about an hour and a half on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road you hit Ras Al Khaimah – here on you find several road signs leading you straight to Jebel Jais.
Jebel Jais has a long history of being a weekend go-to spot for residents of the UAE. The lower temperatures here offer a much needed respite from what often feels like an infinite summer and the rocky views are extraordinary.
From the base of the hills right to the highest point, the drive is a visual treat from start to finish with sweeping views of the hills, and a stunning blue sky accompanied by the cool, crisp air. Trust us when we say that the best way to travel through this region is with the windows rolled all the way down to savour the fresh air.
Over the course of the ascent there are eight viewing points, making it convenient to take a break from the driving and experience the dip in temperature at each level. At 1,250 meters from sea level, there’s even a dedicated Viewing Deck Park complete with all the facilities you need to freshen up and kick back. Shaded parking, restrooms, cafes, camp-style outdoor seating and binoculars for the best scenic experience mean that it’s totally worth paying the 5AED entry fee.
The scenic landscape makes Jebel Jais a great camping spot, and also a haven for adventure-seekers. The Jebel Jais Zipline – also the longest zipline in the world – lasts 2-3 minutes and gives you a bird’s eye view of the valleys, canyons and long winding roads through the hills. The Jebel Jais Adventure Park also offers hiking activities, a slower zipline tour and mountain climbing. And that’s not all. Fitness enthusiasts will appreciate the wide roads, which make for an intense cycling challenge that many are up for. But equally, as we did on this particular visit, you can just kick back in your car and enjoy a cosy morning and a long, loungey drive.
The Huntr’s Quick Tips:
1. Before any long drive, remember to fuel up. There’s a gas station at the base of Jebel Jais, which makes things a little easier.
2. If you’re planning to head out to Jebel Jais early in the morning, keep in mind that the two cafes at the observation park will be closed. It would be best to carry your own supplies – we stopped by the same gas station before we started the 30km ascent.
3. Whilst driving uphill and down, be sure to drive at a safe speed and keep distractions in the car to a minimum to ensure a smooth ride through the winding roads.
THE JEBEL JAIS OVERVIEW:
Distance | Approx 160 km from Dubai
Time Duration | 2+ hour drive
Best time to get there | For the drive, it’s ideal between 6am and 9am. During the winters it’s great even in the afternoon, however we’d recommend driving downhill before sundown.
Activities | Zip-line, Hiking, Viewing Deck, Scenic drive
More on jebeljais.ae
Photography and words by Shama Nair exclusively for The Huntr