Go adventuring in Ras Al Khaimah

Posted by Lorraine Kearney on 14 June 2022

Ras Al Khaimah is not another United Arab Emirates shopping destination, says Iyad Rasbey of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, who was in Joburg, Cape Town and Durban to lure tourists to the state.

Go dune bashing.

Traditional souks

It does have traditional souks and local markets (and some marble malls), but also a whole lot of its own magic to offer, with mountains, desert dunes and 64km of coastline fringed by a turquoise sea.

‘We are the only Emirate to have all three tribes – we have the mountain people, the desert people and the sea people,’ Rasbey says.

And the sea people include the legendary pearl divers on the Red Island.

You can join them on the boat and dive for your own oysters; maybe you’ll find a pearl.

Suwaidi Pearl Farm.

History and culture

Rasbey talks of Ras Al Khaimah’s 7,000-year-old history, traditions and culture. There’s Al Dhayah Fort, cemeteries dating back to prehistory, as well as a palace dating from 1600 to 2000 BC, and other sites dating back to the Late Bronze Age (1600 to 1300 BC) and the Middle Islamic Era (13th to 16th century AD).

It also has year-round sunshine, pristine beaches and the untamed Al Hajar Mountains, with the UAE’s highest mountain peak – Jebel Jais.

You can also tick off lush mangrove trees and fertile, green oases.

Jais Flight is the world’s longest zipline at 2.83km.

Adrenaline adventure

Jebel Jais is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise. At the Jais Adventure Park, there’s the Jais Viewing Deck Park; the Jais Flight, at 2.83km the world’s longest zipline; Jais Sky Tour, a series of seven (shorter) ziplines stretching for 5km; Jais Wings, a paragliding outing; and Jais Sledder, the region’s longest toboggan ride.

Getting hungry? Stop off at the highest restaurant in the UAE – 1484 by Puro – and eat with a view, at 1,484m high.

Hike at Bear Grylls Explorers Camp.

Bear Grylls extreme

And if that is still not enough, there’s the Bear Grylls Explorers Camp – sign up for hands-on practical training in extreme survival techniques. Its 16 recycled and sustainable cabins are the first branded Bear Grylls accommodation in the world.

Don’t forget to go dune bashing, hiking and visiting the wild oryxes at Al Wadi Nature Reserve.

Pencil in the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, on 18 February 2023. Registration is already open.

RAK is a destination in the 1000 Miglia Experience UAE, on 4–8 December: 100 teams will leave the Dubai starting line on an epic journey covering all the Emirates on a challenging 1,600km road course.

Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah.

Beach resorts

But if history and adventure are not your bag, there’s myriad hotels and resorts to choose from where you can relax and play.

The beachfront hotels range from ultra-luxurious to family-friendly, and there are also city centre properties for a bit more of a buzz. You can even go glamping at Banan Beach on Al Marjan Island, a manmade destination off the coast.

Ras al Khaimah is the northernmost of the seven Emirates – the fourth largest – bordered by Oman and just 45 minutes from Dubai Airport. And is home to a small population of about 400,000. Almost 1.5 million travellers visited in 2021, and there are ambitious plans to double this number by 2030.

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