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Jebel Jais is an extraordinary destination. At first sight, it would appear barren, bleak and inhospitable, but the more you explore its history, the more fascinating and full of life it becomes. The Hajar Mountain range is one of the most impressive destinations on the Arabian Peninsula and spans from Ras Al Khaimah on the eastern side of the United Arab Emirates to the Musandam Peninsula on the northeastern side of Oman. It is 100 kilometres wide and 700 kilometres long. The continental collision near the Arabian–Eurasian convergent plate boundary shaped the mountains more than 70 million years ago, forming the highest peak in the UAE, 1,934 metres above sea level.
The Jebel Jais is 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 hiking adventures. A well-laid road takes you through a dizzying array of hairpin bends and glorious viewpoints for photographs.
An impressive collection of diverse plants have adapted to the climate of Ras Al Khaimah. The mountain and wadi vegetation are mainly shrubs, trees and bushes. The most well-known trees are ghaf and acacia trees. After the winter rains, desert ephemerals, hyacinths, and thumbs turn into a mass sea of colourful blossoms. Purple lilies, wild irises and white daisies paint the rugged mountains in glorious fleeting colour. The wadi-grown sidr tree is known and still used for medical purposes. Its pollen attracts the bees for the rarest and finest mountain honey.
Fadi Hachicho, the founder of Adventurati Ras Al Khaimah, is a passionate certified guide and mountaineer from the leading school of mountaineering, ice climbing, and rock climbing in Alaska. His Adventurati team has been exploring the mountains and their remote communities and discovering rare plants, mammals, birds and other mountain-dwelling nature. Through dialogue and many years of building trust with shy Indigenous tribes, Fadi is slowly bringing some inimitable and fragile experiences to a limited number of visitors visiting Ras Al Khaimah. He introduces over 100 kilometres of breathtaking world-class hiking to the mountains and wadis. Walkers and hikers can enjoy overnight homestays in simple lodges owned by shepherds or Bedouins. His guided hikes show the utmost respect for the environment and the unique mountain culture. Fadi works closely with local families and inspires them to share their unique lifestyles with interested travellers. The Adventurati programme sensitively protects their heritage and provides for the future generations of mountain people.
Adventurati understands the fragile microclimate of the nomadic community and has encouraged them to share unique insights into how they live, raise livestock, grow crops, nurture honeybee colonies, practise medicine and eat. Exploratory hikers can have lunch prepared by Bedouin or shepherd families; it’s a unique experience that is fiercely protected and respected.
Visitors can hike through the complex network of trails which make up varying routes, so no matter how many times a trail is walked, it appears different. Adventurati has cleverly developed each trail so that walkers of different levels can efficiently complete a route. Hikers can access various points within the mountains and walk down pathways passing through old settlements and hidden oases.
Surrounded by giant boulders and scattered trees, the Wadi of Giants offers an exciting trail that leads to a spectacular hidden oasis. As you hike through settlements that are home to farmers, shepherds and apiarists, you’ll appreciate the rugged and barren beauty of the seven-millennia mountain range. Adventurati recently sympathetically upgraded the trail making it less technical. The intermediate 6-hour, 6-kilometre hike requires a good fitness level and is ranked 6/10 in difficulty level. The Wadi of Giants comes into its own during the winter months, with smatterings of rain encouraging plant growth and a carpet of lush grass peppered with rare mountain flowers. Expect curious mountain goats to play in the grass and the rocky outcrops.
The Adventurati concept is strictly sustainable and protects the privacy and heritage of the mountain tribes. Whether visitors seek a short afternoon walk or a serious multi-day hike, Adventurati has various support systems for mountaineering gear, food preparation, and accommodation on local farms. Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority only grants permission to fully licensed tour operators to ensure hiking tourism is positive in terms of experience and sustainability.
Hiking the Jebel Jais mountains is like no other experience in the region, if not the world. The sensitivity of creating these extraordinary trails is a testament to the Emirati’s respect for the nature surrounding them and the guardedness of their tribal fathers.
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