Hiking, Ziplining, and Skydiving: How Thrill-Seekers Do Adventure in the UAE | Savoir Flair
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Hiking, Ziplining, and Skydiving: How Thrill-Seekers Do Adventure in the UAE
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by Hanadi Merchant-Habib 6-minute read November 28, 2023

Swap city lights for starry nights with UAE's most thrilling outdoor adventures.

Dubai has always been known for its sandy beaches, pristine blue waters, larger-than-life malls, outstanding food, and vibrant nightlife. However, if you venture outside the emirate, you can also experience some of the coolest adventure activities. With its vast desert landscapes, mountains, and unexplored wadis, the UAE has a lot to offer for thrill-seekers. In cooler weather, there's nothing better than exploring the great outdoors. Whether you're a resident, tourist, or in town for business, the next time you're looking for something memorable to do here, the wide range of unique outdoor experiences will not disappoint.

From plunging down the world's longest zipline to horseback riding in the desert at sunset and glamping under the stars, Savoir Flair takes you through eight outdoor activities that will leave you with unforgettable memories.



Camping without the hassle of pitching a tent and sleeping on the floor? Yes, that's called glamping, and we are all for it. There's nothing like sleeping under the stars and waking up to the sounds of local wildlife, but in a luxurious setting, of course. From luxury trailers to Bedouin tents and dome-shaped tents, the country's vibrant glamping scene means there's plenty to choose from.

We're eagerly waiting for the highly anticipated Mysk Moon Retreatto to open (scheduled to open later this year) so we can book our desert getaway. Located in Mleiha in Sharjah (just an hour from Dubai), Moon Retreat redefines luxury glamping. The dome-shaped tents feature a private pool and barbecue facilities on the private terrace surrounded by the tranquil desert landscape. Guests also have the option of booking a two-bedroom tent if they are traveling with a larger group.




Hiking in the cooler months is becoming increasingly popular with locals and tourists. With so many trails to choose from, there is no better way to explore the wilderness here than hitting a hiking trail in the middle of the mountains. Considering we are in the middle of a pandemic, getting outdoors is just the thing to avoid crowded indoor spaces.

If you fancy a relaxing hike or have kids with you, then we highly recommend Wadi Shawka in Ras Al Khaimah. It's a bit of a hassle to get there, as it's 143km outside of Dubai, but once you're there, the long drive will be worth it. Nestled between the Hajar Mountains, this is a relatively easy trekking adventure suitable for all ages. Here, you will encounter some of the local wildlife such as goats and camels and come across some pebbly paths and natural water bodies.

Al Rabi Mountain trail is another hiking trail to add to your list. Located in Khor Fakkan, the trail is well-marked and suitable for families. Plus, you can even take your dogs with you! The best part is that you can take a dip in the ocean after your hike. For more advanced hikers, the Jebel Hafeet trail is definitely worth a visit. The rough terrain makes the climb tougher, but once you reach the top, the view will not disappoint.

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Horseback Riding

There are multiple ways to explore the desert in this country, but horseback riding is perhaps the most beautiful way to do so. Many stables across Dubai offer sunrise and sunset desert rides for riders of all levels, including beginners. Journey out into the desert on a cool winter evening and experience the most magical sunset. If you're lucky, you may see camels grazing in their natural habitat or even come across an Arabian oryx. Choose between a relaxing walk, a trot, or a canter depending on your level of experience.

We highly recommend Al Jiyad Stables, owned by an Emirati family in the heart of the Sieh Al-Salem nature reserve. The location is just one kilometer from Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa. Their desert hacks are the most renowned in the city, where you will experience the best of nature with magnificent views of the lake, birds, and oryxes that will cross your path. You'll thank us later.


Hot Air Balloon

No, you don't need to go to Cappadocia to take those Instagram-worthy hot air balloon photos you see all over social media. In fact, you can do it right here, just 45 minutes outside of town. Balloon Adventures Dubai will take you to an altitude of 4,000 feet, where you can witness the most spectacular sunrise over the desert and the Hajar Mountains. Admire the rolling sand dunes and keep an eye out for local wildlife as you're floating in the air. Also, after the balloon ride, you can enjoy a desert drive to breakfast in a vintage Land Rover. The company has the world's largest collection of active museum-quality vintage Land Rovers in the world, making this experience truly one-of-a-kind.

You can even book an overnight package and spend the night at a heritage camp. Last but not least, you can also opt for the private balloon basket, where you will be picked up in a luxurious Range Rover and also get to witness an in-flight falcon experience, which is only available with the private charters. 

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If water sports are your thing, and you're looking to get away from the city's crowded beaches, then kayaking should definitely be on your list. Located just outside the historic city of Khor Fakkan, this lesser-known kayaking destination is truly a hidden gem. Alkhor Kayak is situated at the Al Rafisah Dam, which was built in the 1980s and is surrounded by scenic natural beauty. Despite not being as well-known as other locations like the Hatta Dam, it has everything it takes to give visitors an unforgettable experience. It also has a cute cafe overlooking the lake and the surrounding mountains, making it a great place to grab a leisurely bite.



Simply put, there's nothing quite like a freefall from 13,000 feet up in the air to get that adrenaline pumping. Well, that's what you get at Sky Dive Dubai and with two unbeatable locations to choose from: The Palm Jumeriah and the Desert Campus Drop Zone. Soak in an aerial view of the iconic archipelago in the shape of a palm tree and the deep blue of the ocean. Alternatively, you can also marvel at endless sand dunes and desert landscapes while experiencing a freefall at a top speed of 193 km/h. Although the experience is relatively pricey, it is definitely one you'll remember for a lifetime.



If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then you’re in for quite a treat. The UAE offers two spectacular ziplining experiences – one urban and one in the middle of the mountains. XLine in Dubai Marina boasts the world’s longest urban zipline and unforgettable views. Hold on tight as you zip through the Marina skyline at a speed of 80 km/h while documenting your journey on camera, of course. If you want something more, take a trip to Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain in Ras Al Khaimah, also home to the world’s longest zipline. Here you’ll fly at speeds of up to 150 km/h and a height of 1,680 meters above sea level while enjoying the most breathtaking views of the mountain.

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