Ras Al Khaimah is located in the north part of the United Arab Emirates. It shares its border with three other Emirates which are Umm Al Quwain, Sharjah, and Fujairah and Sultanate of Oman. In land area, Ras Al Khaimah is the fourth largest Emirate covering an area of 2,486 square km, which is about 2.97 percent of the total UAE land area.
With its varied landscapes, Ras Al Khaimah is an interesting and attractive area to visit. The waters of the Arabian Gulf and 64 km of sandy coastline form a natural border in the West. The Eastern part has a spectacular mountain range called the Ru’us Al Jibal, which is part of the Hajar Mountains, starting in the Musandam Peninsula and running as far south as Sur in Oman.
Formed more than 70 million years ago, the Hajar mountain range incorporates Jebel Jais, which at 1,934m is not only the highest peak in Ras Al Khaimah but in the entire UAE. The Emirate is also famous for its palm gardens and fertile grounds, which have provided food and shelter in the region for many centuries.
Traditional villages such as Julfar and Al Jazirah Al Hamra can still be found – the emirate is divided into two parts by a natural creek connecting the souks and old town with the modern city. Al Hamra and Al Marjan Island in the south of the Emirate are mixed developments of residential and tourist facilities.
Ras Al Khaimah offers a wonderful climate all year round. Summers are hot and winters are mild. Due to a combination of the region’s coastal and mountainous geography, winters are also wetter than the other Emirates. With up to 12mm of rainfall in December and January, this contributes to the lush green plains and diverse scenery that surprises many visitors. However, summer months see rainfall drop to 0mm from May to July.
A welcome cool breeze from the Arabian Sea helps offset some of the higher temperatures, which often reach as much as 45°C during the summer months. Typical January temperatures are 18-25°C (64-77°F) rising to 29-43°C (84-109°F) in the summer. As a result, water temperatures range from a pleasant 19°C in January to 34°C in July. Daily hours of sunshine vary little throughout the year – from 8 hours per day in winter to 10 hours per day from June to September.
In a land of surprises, it also occasionally snows in Ras Al Khaimah! Around once every five years, the peaks of Jebel Jais see snowfall, so it’s a relatively rare occurrence.
64km of unspoiled coastline and the turquoise waters of the Arabian Ocean make Ras Al Khaimah the ultimate destination for nature lovers and water sports enthusiasts alike.
The natural coastal environment is breathtaking. Crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and mesmerizing stretches of open coastline as far as you can see… Ras Al Khaimah is truly a feast for the senses. Lush green coastal plains and dense mangroves provide contrast and a fascinating environment just waiting to be discovered.
For many, of course, the coast means water sports and activities. Ras Al Khaimah doesn’t disappoint. From canoeing, sailing, boat tours and deep sea fishing to windsurfing, banana boat rides, wakeboarding, water skiing, parasailing and scuba diving, the emirate is a hotspot of fun for all ages on the waves.
Come to Ras Al Khaimah and make a splash!
With endless views of towering peaks and spectacular valleys, the mountain regions of Ras Al Khaimah attract visitors from around the world. The mighty Hajar Mountains extend from the Musandam Peninsula as far south as Sur in Oman. They were formed some 70 million years ago and include the awe-inspiring Ru’us Al Jibal range in the eastern part of the emirate.
Also in the Hajar Mountains, and standing at some 1,680 meters, Jebel Jais is the highest peak in the entire United Arab Emirates. With wadis (ravines which are dry except in the rainy season) hiking and mountain bike trails, this is the ultimate location for adventure and exploration. An hour’s drive from Ras Al Khaimah City, with three coaches per day operated by the Jebel Jais Shuttle Bus, it is also easily accessible. The mountain roads of Jebel Jais, with hairpin bends and breathtaking views at every turn, are a must-drive for all visitors on four wheels.
Having reached the top of Jebel Jais, if you fancy a different way back down, how about the world’s longest zip line? Travelling at speeds of up to 150kph, it is a bucket list thrill ride like no other.
Remote, isolated, inspiring… there’s no experience quite like watching the sun set over the dunes, with terracotta sands stretching as far as the eye can see.
However you experience the desert landscapes of Ras Al Khaimah, you will return home with incredible memories. Experience the authentic Bedouin lifestyle, eating around a campfire, stargazing and sleeping under canvas. Trek across the magnificent dunes on camel or horseback. Or, in winter and spring, gaze out across a sea of blossom as desert ephemerals, hyacinths and thumbs flourish. Higher rainfall in the winter months due to the region’s unique climate make the deserts of Ras Al Khaimah more fertile than any other in the region.
Alternatively, experience the desert from the magnificent surroundings of a five star hotel resort. Experience world class service and genuine Arabian hospitality at its most authentic. For those seeking action and adventure, explore the desert by dune buggy or four wheel drive safari.
For a taste of traditional heritage and culture visit the annual festival, held in the Awafi region of the desert. Every spring, the festival celebrates the Emirates’ ethnic and cultural heritage. Theater performances, sports, arts and crafts make this a great opportunity to experience authentic local culture.
A result of the region’s unique geography and climate, coastal mangroves extend right into Ras Al Khaimah City. A rich contrast with the terracotta desert sands, this lush green environment has a magical calm all its own.
Explore by kayak, paddling through still, quiet waters amongst dense foliage. These beautiful habitats are truly peaceful and exotic. They are also home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including flamingos. One of the biggest surprises from your visit to Ras Al Khaimah, a visit to explore the mangroves is unmissable.
Ras Al Khaimah consists of sandy deserts, coastal strips, salt flats, mangroves and mountains. All these areas have different eco-systems which makes it a fascinating place for nature lovers. Apart from cultivated plants there are three categories of flora – the salt loving vegetation of the mangroves and mountain and desert plants, which are plentiful after rainfall. The emirate is also home to a number of reptiles, camels, foxes, jerboas or wildcats as well as hundreds of bird species.
A large diversity of plants have adapted to Ras Al Khaimah’s climate. The desert vegetation consists largely of shrubs, bushes and trees. Of the trees the most common are Ghaf trees, acacias and so called desert thorns. The desert is also home to many plants such as desert ephemerals, hyacinths and thumbs, which flourish mainly during the winter and spring season turning the desert into a sea of blossoms.
The most common mammals in Ras Al Khaimah are camels, goats and feral donkeys. However there are also wild mammals that choose the desert or mountains as their habitat but they often go unseen, as many of them are nocturnal. Rodents are the largest group and include jerboas and a few species of gerbils and jirds.