In the heart of the United Arab Emirates, away from the bustling streets of metropolitan cities, Ras Al Khaimah unfolds…
Ras Al Khaimah is like no other emirate in the UAE. It boasts endless nature, the ever-moving sands of the desert, verdant mangroves, towering mountains, seemingly endless goat-worn pathways, ancient forts, and miles of pristine white sandy beaches. Instagram is forever at the back of everyone’s mind, and Ras Al Khaimah has infinite locations for you to take that perfect holiday shot. Don’t forget to hashtag #VisitRasAlKhaimah!
Camels, known as the ships of the desert, are also surprisingly ships of the sea! Swimming with camels in the Arabian Gulf is an extraordinary experience undertaken by very few. Watching them swim gives you an insight into their strength, stamina and manoeuvrability. Adventure company, Adventurati Outdoor allows you to paddle and swim alongside a caravan of camels as they swim and float in front of you. When they have tired of their aerobic water antics, you’ll have the opportunity to wander in silence along the shallow shores of the beach whilst they dry. You can ride alone or with a guide if you’ve never ridden a camel. Not only will you take some unique content for Instagram, but you’ll also be able to learn more about these fascinating animals that are only really known as desert dwellers.
Camel racing is an extraordinary sight. The races take place on winter Friday mornings in the Digdaga and Hamraniya areas of Ras Al Khaimah. Glorious dunes and ancient ghaff trees surround the racetrack. Between 50 and 100 camels usually lumber around, waiting for their call to race. The races start at 6.30 am, so be prepared to get there early. It’s worth arriving at the crack of dawn to experience the mesmerising energy and excitement of the owners and trainers as they battle for luxury cars, trophies and monetary compensation, adding up to millions of dirhams. Enjoy the long shadows cast by the rising sun as you wander around the dusty race track and immerse yourself in ancient traditions that very few have the opportunity to see.
Camel Races Track, Ras Al Khaimah, https://visitrasalkhaimah.com/discover/activities/al-sawan-camel-race-track/
Dhayah Fort, a castle-like structure, is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List and stands proud amidst the arid mountains and fertile date wadis of northern Emirate Ras Al Khaimah. The fort forms the centre of this lush oasis and boasts spectacular views from the mountains across palm trees and verdant lands to neighbouring Oman and down to the sea. The fort stands on a 70-metre-high hill that rises grandly between the date palm gardens and the Jebel Jais mountains to form the central hub of the verdant lands. At the base of the hill lies a slightly larger fort used by people that lived and worked in the palm gardens. They would retreat here with their animals in times of danger. Single watchtowers are peppered throughout the fertile oasis of Dhayah to ensure optimal defence and communication.
Dhayah Fort, Al Rams, Ras Al Khaimah, https://visitrasalkhaimah.com/discover/attractions/dhayah-fort/
Jais Flight, the eponymously named longest zipline adventure in the world, is located in the cloud-piercing Jebel Jais mountains in Ras Al Khaimah. If you are a thrill-seeker, you will enjoy the adrenaline-fueled experience that takes you at knee-trembling speeds of between 120 kilometres per hour and 150 kilometres per hour for almost three hair-raising minutes across deep ravines, canyons and through jagged peaks that lie 1680 metres above sea level. The Jais Flight gives you extraordinary opportunities to fill your Instagram feed with impressive images of the ancient history and nature around you. You’ll be fitted with a special superman-style horizontal harness that streamlines you for extra speed. The flight takes three rip-roaring minutes from 1,680 metres above sea level to a 9-tonne glass-bottomed platform resembling a hovering bird of prey.
Al Jazeera Al Hamra is on the UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Tentative List. It represents thousands of years of classic social strata architecture and town planning in the Middle East. The village includes all the traditional elements expected in such a neighbourhood, including a fort and watchtowers, a mosque, a souq and extensive courtyard houses of various designs. There is a mix of dwelling styles from tiny, simple houses, courtyard homes, two-story buildings and a large courtyard residence that belonged to the wealthy pearl merchant. Its inhabitants left the village between 1968 and 1971 with the discovery of oil.
Al Jazeerah Al Hamra, https://visitrasalkhaimah.com/discover/attractions/al-jazirah-al-hamra/
Ras Al Khaimah boasts 65 kilometres of coastline, much of which is the bird and fish-filled mangroves. Paddling through the inner city mangroves is a unique experience, with nature and man-made structures uniting to offer the best of both worlds. Once scorned as swampy wastelands, mangroves are now valued for providing the Emirates’ shorelines with a diverse and safe ecosystem. The Ras Al Khaimah mangroves are home to pastel pink flamingoes who spend their days with their heads upturned, feasting on shrimp, plankton, algae and crustaceans. An abundance of life is just waiting to be explored by kayak or paddleboard. Various guided tours depart from the corniche so you can journey through these ancient ecosystems’ rare and glorious beauty. Lose yourself in nature as you traverse nature’s waterways and appreciate the silence.
Challenging Adventure, Wadi Khdda, Ras Al Khaimah,
Discover Ras Al Khaimah from the skies as you fly at 5000 feet above the ground in a hot air balloon. You’ll bear witness to a view of Ras Al Khaimah, the white sandy shores, turquoise waters, and to the north, the striking Jebel Jais Mountains. See with wonder the world from the eyes of a soaring bird as you glide above the estuaries that flow from the Arabian Gulf to meet the mangrove swamps that team with life.
#actionflight #balloonflight #visitrasalkhaimah
Action Flight, Ras Al Khaimah, https://actionflight.ae/
+971 58 550 9022
The Jebel Jais mountains are a collection of formidable and challenging peaks that attract visitors worldwide. The massive band of jagged mountains is indiscreet and packed with exciting history, forts, traditional Bedouin and shepherd communities, and rare flora and fauna. The mountains are also home to gulleys and wadis that provide exciting camping, hiking and mountain biking adventures. A well-laid road takes you through a dizzying array of hairpin bends and glorious viewpoints for photographs. The mountain and desert plants only flourish after the rare rains and become a mass sea of colourful blossoms. Purple lilies, wild irises and white daisies paint the rugged mountains in glorious fleeting colour.
#jebeljais #adventurati #visitrasalkhaimah
Mountain hikes are organized by various operators, https://visitjebeljais.com/essentials/partners/
The two-seater sleds are designed to seat two people comfortably, one in front and the other in the back. You’ll reach up to 40 kilometres per hour as you hurtle down the Jebel Jais mountains, swerving through glorious panoramas with spectacular coastline views. The fully-controllable ride takes approximately seven minutes to cover 1,885 exhilarating metres of hairpin curves and undulating waves. The speed seems amplified because you are sitting so close to the ground! You can share the exhilarating experience with a friend or family member or go superhero solo.
Jais Sledder, https://visitjebeljais.com/adrenaline/jais-sledder/
At the northernmost tip of Ras Al Khaimah is the old fishing village of Al Rams, its beautiful beaches and Saraya Island. The pristine waters are shallow, calm, and perfect for peaceful watersports like kayaking and paddle boarding. You’ll be able to watch camels taking themselves for an early morning swim to rid themselves of the desert sand and pesky bugs. There is a horse stable on the island. So why not take a leisurely walk on horseback through the warm shallows or thunder along the beach in full gallop? Now and then, a pink lake appears, and a phenomenon known as a sabkha forms on the shore.
#alrams #sarayaisland #visitrasalkhaimah
Al Rams Beach and Saraya Island, https://visitrasalkhaimah.com/discover/attractions/al-rams-beach/
The palace was built by Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Humaid Al Qasimi almost four decades ago. The breathtaking building has been unoccupied for many years. It houses fascinating interiors such as chandeliers, artefacts and paintings of Islamic, Moroccan and Persian heritage. You’ll find beautiful crystal chandeliers imported from Europe, lifelike murals of far-flung places and cooling marble floors. The palace has only recently opened to the public and holds a sense of mystery. Explore 35 rooms over four storeys and the expansive grounds. It appears slightly macabre, especially if you listen to the local tales that the Sheikh and his wife only occupied the palace for one night.
Al Qassimi Palace, https://visitrasalkhaimah.com/discover/attractions/al-qassimi-palace/
The souq is named eponymously after the Kuwaiti-built hospital that stands in the middle of the bustling market. Established half a century ago, it is still a popular haunt. Locals go about their daily lives, and customers seek an exciting shopping experience. The best time to visit the souq is in the early morning or late afternoon when you can join the busy streets and hunt for a bargain. The narrow roads have a slightly timeworn feel. The juxtaposition of the shops overflowing with synthetic fabrics and pashminas, arty nik-naks and souvenirs give it a fun and surreal appeal. Shops with sacks of colourful herbs and spices attract restauranteurs, whilst mops, alarm clocks and other household goods entice homemakers in their droves.
Kuwaiti Souq, https://goo.gl/maps/Dguu8WF5nwSvrotc9
The waters at Ras Al Khaimah beaches are nice and shallow, ideal for learning swimmers, paddlers and those wanting to play in the shallows. For example the section of Jazirah Al Hamra beach beach next to the Al Jazeerah Al Hamra village has been known to host thousands of great cormorants and other birds that use Ras Al Khaimah as a stop-off point from the cold Baltic seas to North Africa on their annual migration. The Arabian Gulf waters are historically crucial for fishing, pearling, building dhow boats, sailcloth making, camel breeding, reed mats and date growing. Today the coast is lined with lavish hotels, watersports facilities, pleasure activities, fishermen and bustling waterways.
Jazeerah Al Hamra Beach, https://visitrasalkhaimah.com/blog/five-best-beaches-in-ras-al-khaimah/
Enjoy back-to-nature eco-accommodation in the flame-coloured dunes in Ras Al Khaimah’s desert lands. It is an otherworldly experience being in the desert with nothing but the sounds of the moving sands under a bright full moon. The moonscape deserts have been home to Bedouins for centuries as they moved around the region in nomadic cycles to find cooler weather, water and fertile land for their animals. Even though they constantly moved, they would secure comfortable accommodation, plentiful food, and entertainment. You’ll find Bassata Desert Village deep in the terracotta desert, where you can experience traditional Bedouin and Arabic activities, including camel riding and watching the lythe tanora dancers. Listen to stories of 1001 Arabian nights as you dine around the open fires in the evening and feast on delicious Bedouin-inspired cuisine as thousands of twinkly stars appear in the night sky.
Bassata Desert Village, https://visitrasalkhaimah.com/discover/activities/bassata-desert-village/
Locals will tell you that Corniche Al Qawasim is the most beautiful road in the Emirate. The three-kilometre waterfront esplanade is lined with luxury apartments, restaurants, local cafes, access to various water activities and a children’s play area. The wide walkway allows for unhurried families, walkers, cyclists and joggers. The corniche comes alive at night, so ensure to get there before the sun sets and enjoy the gloriously unique offerings that the promenade offers. The RAK Eye is a grand 37-metre Ferris wheel that boasts extraordinary views over the Grand Mosque, corniche, lush mangroves, and the city’s skyline to the Arabian Gulf. Take note of the mighty flagpole that proudly flies the Emirati flag 120 metres above the ground.
Corniche Al Qawasim, https://visitrasalkhaimah.com/discover/attractions/al-qawasim-corniche/
Spend a day with Adventure Sports! The Arabian Gulf boasts calm, warm seas. It is ideal for visitors who want to enjoy the waters on the shores of Ras Al Khaimah. For over three decades, Adventure Sports has been providing watery fun for families worldwide in and on the temperate Arabian Gulf. Their impressive range of activities includes parasailing, jet skiing, waterskiing and wakeboarding, flyboard and fly fish, kayaking, boat cruises and snorkelling trips, not to mention deep sea fishing adventures and SCUBA diving trips. Their activities give you a healthy dose of vitamin D and endless Instagram opportunities.
Adventure Sports, Ras Al Khaimah, https://www.adventuresports.ae