After a busy week in the city, you might want to head to the mountains for some outward-bounds activities. In the far north of the United Arab Emirates lie the highest summits in the country, the Jebel Jais mountains. The millennia-old peaks attract nature and adrenaline lovers from across the world. Whether you seek a leisurely walk in the wadis or camping in the wilds, the impressive range has something for everyone.

The mountains gain their inimitable beauty from their time-worn ruggedness, ancient forts, abandoned villages and inhabitants. It’s worth bearing in mind that although the mountains form breathtaking landscapes, they can be dangerous for unprepared or inexperienced hikers and climbers. Whilst Ras Al Khaimah is relatively temperate throughout the year; it’s been known to experience unexpected weather fronts, which can play havoc with even the best-laid plans. Hajar Mountain Adventures is making the mountains safely accessible with various training programmes and guided walks, hikes and canyoneering.

Hajar Mountain Adventures safety tips

The Hajar Mountain Adventures team has put together some valuable tips to ensure that you, your family and your friends remain safe and in good health whilst spending time in the mountains. It’s important to remember that many parts of the mountains are inhospitable and only accessed by costly air rescue teams.

Before you leave home

Never leave home without a plan, don’t hike alone and always inform someone where you are going.

Getting there

Plan your route and allow yourself plenty of time to get to the mountains without rushing. The roads into the mountains are exciting hairpin bends and require cautious driving.

Transportation

Bring your own car or hire a driver or taxi for the day.

Confirm your bookings

If you are going on a Hajar Mountain Adventures guided hike, always remember to confirm your booking in advance. Consider the essential information they give you to ensure you are prepared.

Hiking

There are various self-guided and professionally guided hiking trails in the mountains. Download the map of your hiking trail if you are going it alone. Remember that you’ll unlikely to get internet coverage in the mountains, so do not rely on in-phone navigation. It’s vitally important never to leave the mapped routes, so you don’t get lost. Here are some tips to ensure that you stay safe:

  • Plan your hike, use your common sense and do not exceed your and your fellow hiker’s limitations
  • Research the downloaded self-guided trail and make notes. Do not rely on GPS; the signal may be poor in the mountains. Charge your smartphone before you set off
  • Know the trail’s regulations and note the opening and closing times of the route. Do not attempt to hike the trail if it is closed
  • Understand how long the route should take you and the various potential challenges you may face
  • Water is not available on the trail, so take your own. You should drink about one litre of water each hour
  • If you drive to the start point of a trail by car, leave a note inside the windscreen stating details such as the route taken, size and name of the group, contact number of the hike leader and time you expect to return
  • Save the emergency numbers on several phones
  • Try and hike at times when there are likely to be other people around, such as in the early morning or late afternoon
  • Always keep track of time, and if necessary, turn back with ample time to finish your hike before dark
  • Never hike alone

Ensure to always tell a family member or a friend where you are going and never go alone. It is always more fun if you have a hiking companion! They can raise the alarm in the event of an accident.

If there is an emergency, call 999 for Police and  998 for Ambulance.

Altitude

It’s impossible to get altitude sickness in Ras Al Khaimah because the mountain is only 1,934 metres above sea level. The Jebel Jais mountains, whilst the highest in the UAE, are well within the 2,500-metre limits of safe altitude.

Weather Conditions

Before setting off on your hike, check the weather forecast for the day. It will likely be consistent, calm and pleasant; however, it’s well-known that the weather conditions in mountainous terrains can change quickly and without warning.

Stay hydrated

Remain adequately hydrated. Drink at least one litre of water each hour. Always take more than you think you will need. As a precaution, take some rehydration salts to drink to replace essential minerals.

Appropriate clothing

Wear thin layers to maintain your optimal body temperature if the temperature rises or falls. It’s essential to wear appropriate footwear such as walking boots or trainers with a sturdy sole with good traction to help prevent you from slipping. Do NOT wear heels, open-toed sandals or flip-flops on your hike.

First-aid kit

Carry a basic first-aid kit  and ensure that you are familiar with the contents and how to use them.

Protect the environment

The mountain’s flora and fauna is fragile so please respect the environment by practising the following RAKTDA rules:

  • Do not carry prohibited items
  • Do not disturb the environment
  • Do not interact with the animals or wildlife
  • Do not litter. It is your responsibility to help preserve the area of natural beauty.
  • Do not pick any plants or flowers; they are considered very rare
  • Do not trespass; stay off private land and farms
  • Alcohol, loud music and drones are strictly prohibited

Safety Courses

Hajar Mountain Adventures are licensed operators. They offer various guided hikes, canyoneering and walking activities for hikers and intensive courses for those who want to make a career from outward-bounds activities in the mountains.

Disclaimer

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has licensed Hajar Mountain Adventures; they strive to ensure a safe environment for every visitor. Do not use any companies that are not licensed by RAKTDA. If in doubt, ask to see their license.

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