The United Arab Emirates is emerging as one of the top global destinations in the Middle East. The country is dotted with a lot of people’s favourite destinations and Jebel Hafeet is surely one of them.
Jebel Hafeet is the highest mountain peak in Abu Dhabi and the second highest in the UAE. Rising to a height of 1.249 metres above the ground, this mountain is located in the Tawam region in Al Ain.
The towering presence of Jebel Hafeet or otherwise known as ‘The Barren Mountain’, looks like a desert and features a series of long stretching roads luring people to go for a fascinating drive. If you’re planning to explore this precious gem of the UAE, then read on for our guide about everything to do with Jebel Hafeet.
Where is Jebel Hafeet?
The gorgeous terrain of Jebel Hafeet Mountain lies in the Al Ain region and although close to the border of Oman, still lies within UAE territory.
If you visit Jebel Hafeet from Dubai, it will take about 1 hour 50 minutes to reach via Al Ain-Dubai Road. From Abu Dhabi, it is almost a 2 hour 15 minute road journey to reach this stunning destination.
There is no specific hour to visit Jebel Hafeet. You can visit this splendid mountain terrain any time of the day. However, if you are planning to visit the Jebel Hafeet Desert Park, then you must schedule your visit between 11.00 AM – 11.00 PM throughout the week.
How to get to Jebel Hafeet
Visiting Jebel Hafeet from Dubai? Nothing to worry about regarding the transportation, including the public one. While driving your own vehicle (or a hired one) is the best way to get there, you also have the opportunity to use the efficient public transport of Dubai.
First you need to take the metro to Deira City Centre. After reaching the station, walk to the bus station and take a bus from there for Al Jubail Bus Station, Sharjah. Now board the bus for Al Ain Bus Station from Sharjah. Once you reach the Al Ain Bus Station, you can board a bus to reach Jebel Hafeet.
For a full in depth breakdown of reaching Jebel Hafeet from Dubai or Abu Dhabi visit Rome2.Rio.com
How Much Does it Cost to Reach Jebel Hafeet from Dubai?
If you choose the public bus to reach Jebel Hafeet from Dubai, then it will cost approximately AED 50 per person. Hiring a taxi for Jebel Hafeet will cost you anything between AED 250 to AED 300. If you are travelling in a group or with family, then hiring a taxi or taking a rented vehicle is more economical. So, taking a bus is a much cheaper option but hiring a car is certainly the fastest way to get there.
How High is Jebel Hafeet?
The height point of Jebel Hafeet Mountain is as high as 1,249 metres above the ground.
Jebel Hafeet is often wrongly perceived as the highest mountain peak in the UAE but Jebel Jais is the real one with a staggering height of 1,919 metres. So, Jebel Hafeet is the second tallest natural feature in the UAE. It was essential to mention the word ‘natural’ as UAE has so many of man-made structures higher than its mountain peaks!!
Best Time to Visit Jebel Hafeet
September & October are the best months of the year to schedule your Jebel Hafeet trip. The temperature during these months are not at all extreme and it remains pleasant mostly pleasant as autumn starts to approach the region.
Jebel Hafeet is not just a spectacular tourist attraction with loads of natural treasures. This place is a wonderful spot to go back in time.
Nestled right in the foothills of Jebel Hafeet mountain, you can spot more than 500 ancient tombs dating back to 5,000 years. This means, the area bears a strong historical reference from the beginning of Bronze Age in the UAE. After excavations in 1959 done by Danish archaeologists, it was indicated the importance of maritime trade across the Arabian Gulf through the discovery of copper artifacts and ceramic vessels at Jebel Hafeet Tombs.
You will be amazed to know that Jebel Hafeet Desert Park is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the UAE. This park exclusively preserves the enriched history and unique biodiversity of this area. The dynamic landscapes of the park give you a glimpse to the changes occurring over millions of years.
How to Climb and is it Safe to Climb?
The mighty Jebel Hafeet is the 2nd highest peak in the country and one of the favourite weekend destinations to city-dwellers. This mountain terrain is known for its sweeping views and rich history of fossils. Spotting some fossils in its surrounding is actually pulling more adventure enthusiasts and history lovers to this place all of the time.
Jebel Hafeet Al Ain hiking trail starts from Green Mubazzara Park, sitting at the foot of Jebel Hafeet and goes up to the Phone Tower. Technically this hike is rated as a moderate activity but we will suggest the first-time hikers to stay away.
Total distance you have to cover is about 5 kilometres and it takes around 4 hours to cover the distance. Because of inclines, this short distance may feel like a 10 kilometre long stretch of hiking. The highest elevation of the trail is 2,670 feet while the lowest elevation point is 952 feet. There is no U-turn but there are 21 sharp corners to challenge your skills.
Jebel Hafeet Hiking Tips
If you are interested in climbing the slopes of Jebel Hafeet, we have some handy tips for you. Follow these tips and surely you can enjoy a more blissful and less exhausting hiking trip.
- Carry a hiking pole. This can save you from exerting too much effort in climbing.
- Always wear hiking gloves. It is important to protect your hands from injury when you need to do scrambling. Hiking at Jebel Hafeet comes with lots of scrambling parts over sharp edged rock which can severely injure your hands.
- Never ever go on a hiking without proper hiking shoes. You must invest in a pair of good hiking shoes, not just regular running or walking shoes.
- Don’t forget your sunglasses and hats. Bright sunlight can give you some trouble during the hike. This is when your sunglasses and hat will help you to keep it cool and comfortable.
- As you climb the steep terrains of Jebel Hafeet, it is quite normal to feel thirsty and hungry as you are burning extra calories than usual. So, carry at least 3 litres of drinking water along with some light snacks.
- Early morning (soon after the sunrise) hour is the best time to kick start the hiking at Jebel Hafeet. Starting early will help you to cover most part of the trail in shade.
Cycling Opportunities at Jebel Hafeet
If you are a cycling enthusiast, then you must be looking for some good hills to train on. Well, Jebel Hafeet mountain can cater to your dream with a hint of challenge and loads of excitement.
Starting at the Green Mubazzarah Park at the base of Jebel Hafeet mountain, the cycling road stretches for 11.7 kilometres up the mountain. This road was built in 1980 particularly for cycling. Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road features three lanes – two for ascending and one to descend.
With 60 corners, this immaculate mountain road rises to a maximum height of 1,219 metres. This cycling road ends at a parking lot after scaling all through the mountain. Cycling the Mountain Road offers amazing views of Al Ain nestled amidst the desert sand.
While cycling along the challenging slopes of Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road, you can behold the magical hues of sunset or sunrise. This experience is indeed very surreal and pristine.
There are sufficient lights along the road to illuminate your way in case you prefer to climb at night to avoid the scorching sun. No wonder, why Edmonds.com declared the Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road as “The Greatest Road in the World”.
You will be glad to know that this marvellous mountain road has often included in the UAE Tours (previously known as the Abu Dhabi Tour) since 2015.
Important Cycling Data for Jebel Hafeet
- FIETS 5.1
- Distance 11.5 kilometre
- Elevation in feet: 952 start, 3451 peak, 76 descent, 2575 gained
- Gradient 6.7% in average
Reasons to Visit Jebel Hafeet
Crafted out of weather-beated limestone, Jebel Hafeet unfolds the untold history of UAE’s fast-pacing transformation from Bronze Age to a cosmopolitan culture. The Jebel Hafeet mountain area is well-known for some significant fossil discoveries too. This place is not just a well-deserved respite from glittering city life but also a brilliant gateway to the fascinating roots of the country.
Things to do at Jebel Hafeet
Jebel Hafeet Mountain is a perfect place to indulge yourself into so many fascinating things to do. Below are the top things to do in and around this mountainous area to make most out of your day.
1. Drive your Heart out Along Jabel Hafeet Mountain Road
The first thing that Jebel Hafeet is all about is its 11.7 stretch of motor road along the slopes and curves of the mountain. This road was built only in the year 1980 and since then it has been a paradise for driving and biking enthusiasts. Thanks to captivating panoramic views and impeccable road conditions, Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road has been featured in many road shows and advertising shoots. There is nothing better than this road to take the control of your wheel – be it a car or a bike.
2. Explore the Tombs at Jebel Hafeet Desert Park
Sitting at the foothills of the mountain, Jebel Hafeet Desert Park is a majestic natural surrounding where you can enjoy mountain biking, horse or camel rides. Spreading across a 9-kilometre stretch, this family-friendly park boasts plenty of historical and archaeological remains. This is the place where Danish archaeologists excavated tombs of more than 5,000 years old. They are believed to belong to the Bronze Age. In 2011, Jebel Hafeet Desert Park was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as it preserves the unique biodiversity and dynamic landscape of the area.
3. Take a Tour to Al Ain Zoo
Curious about the desert animals in Jebel Hafeet? Take a tour to the Al Ain Zoo which is in close proximity to Jebel Hafeet Mountain. This zoo features spacious enclosures to shelter tigers, rhinos, lions, hippos, lemurs, giraffe, African gazelles, Barbary sheep and of course, the Arabian Oryx. The zoo comes up with the world’s largest man-made safari to give you an immersive walk-through tour of the whole park. The five interactive galleries of the zoo include Abu Dhabi’s Living World, Abu Dhabi’s Desert over Time, People of the Desert, Looking to the Future and Sheikh Zayed Tribute Hall.
4. Understand History Al Ain Palace Museum
It is always enthralling to take a look at the past from where we emerged and flourished. At Al Ain, you can go back to the old days with help of the Al Ain Palace Museum. The museum itself is a part of the Al Jahili Fort, often considered as the cultural centrepiece in Abu Dhabi. Established in 1890s, this fort was the first royal residence of the ruling Al Nahyan family. This museum narrates the philosophy and heritage of Al Ain.
5. Visit Al Ain Oasis
When you are close to Al Ain, you must not miss the Al Ain Oasis. This gorgeous place offers you a respite from the blistering heat waves with the shades of date palm plantations. Take a leisure walk on its footpaths and watch these palm grooves swing in the breeze. They’re even still watered by using the traditional Falaj irrigation system adopted more than 3,000 years ago.
6. Learn About Local Heritage at Hili Archaeological Park
Hili Archaeological Park is another great place to explore the mind-blogging heritage of Abu Dhabi. This archaeological park showcases a series of monuments dated back from 2500 BC to 2000 BC. The most eminent one from them is the Hili Grand Tomb which is beautifully engraved with human and animal figurines. There are also remains of Bronze Age settlements in the park to enhance your understanding of ancient times.
7. Relax at the Hospitality of Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Hotel
After a long day at Jebel Hafeet, you can end it on a relaxing note with Mercure Jebel Hafeet Hotel. This spectacular resort flaunts a very modern interior with spacious rooms. The hotel also houses three restaurants and an expansive swimming pool. Your stay at this hotel will treat you with a fine spread of Moroccan, Italian and French cuisine. Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Hotel looks like a sparkling oasis right in the heart of the barren lands of Al Ain.
Prices start from as little as 200AED per night.
Jebel Hafeet is a great destination for hikers, sightseers, cyclists and even motorists looking for a different back drop! There is also plenty to do and see in the local area of Al Ain too. We recommend visiting Jebel Hafeet should you be close by, you’re sure not to be dissapointed.