Thrills and spills
By Andrea Anastasiou, Staff Writer GULF NEWS Published: December 18, 2007, 22:59
From riding the dunes to skimming the skies and diving into the azure blue of the Arabian Sea, the Top 10 list of outdoor activities in the UAE is a thrill fest.
The end of another uncomfortable UAE summer signals the start of the season for people to enjoy the great outdoors. During the next few months, there is an abundance of outdoor activities and events to be enjoyed by families, thrill seekers and sports enthusiasts alike. Here are ten of the absolutely ripping best.
Seawings offers you the opportunity to enjoy and marvel at the ever-changing Dubai skyline from a Cessna 208 Caravan Seaplane. There are three tours to choose from, and some of the sights that are to be enjoyed from 1,500 feet are the Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab, Downtown Dubai and Dubai Creek.
Location: Jebel Ali Hotel
Cost: Starts Dh795 per adult
Contact: Seawings (+97148832999) or visit: www.seawings.ae
Movies under the stars
Every Sunday from 8 pm you can enjoy some of your favourite movies under the stars at the Wafi City garden rooftop. There is a different theme every week, with Ghost, Seven and American Pie being some of the past movies shown. Giant beanbags, popcorn, pizza and hot dog stands heighten the chilled out ambience.
Location: Wafi City Rooftop, entrance through Carters
Contact: Wafi City (+971 4 3244555)
Absolute outdoor adventure
For true outdoor activity enthusiasts, Absolute Adventures offers all types of experiences at its beachfront facility in Dibba.
The centre is set among the region’s best trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, rock-climbing, diving and sailing areas, and is equipped with quality outdoor gear. For the full experience, take a group of friends and spend the weekend here and indulge in a fun list of outdoor activities.
Location: Karsha, Oman, on the UAE-Oman border
Cost: By quotation
Contact: Absolute Adventures (+9713459900)
Dubai Surf School
Take to the azure blue waters with Dubai’s first surf school, Surf Dubai, and learn how to ride the waves with the professionals. Dubai’s coastline suits the novice surfer due to the manageable waves. Lessons are offered daily, and specialised learner surfboards are provided.
All lessons are subject to sea conditions; you can receive daily Wave Alerts by signing up on the company’s website, (www.surfingdubai.com) and then call to book lessons at your convenience.
Location: Sunset Beach, Near Ladies Club, Dubai.
Cost: Starts Dh175 for adults, and Dh150 for children
Contact: Surf Dubai (+971505043020)
A popular outdoor experience is the desert safari; trips into the extensive desert are the ultimate UAE pastime. Many companies offer these excursions, with camel riding, dune bashing and safari skiing just some of the activities that are on offer whilst in the desert, in addition to the 4×4 wheel drive to reach ‘camp’.
Some packages include overnight stay with traditional Arabic entertainment in the form of belly-dancing, henna painting and shisha smoking.
Some companies that offer desert safaris are Arabian Adventures (+97143034888), and Desert Rangers (+9714 3402408)
Hot air balloon flight
You can now experience the moon-like landscape of the Hajj mountains, the Dubai skyline, and the giant dunes of the UAE from a hot air balloon. The trip lasts for approximately an hour and is suitable for most people, making it possible for families with children over the age of five to have an adventure in a safe environment.
Contact: Balloon Adventure Dubai (+97142854949)
Dhow boat cruise
Take a dhow cruise on the Dubai creek to marvel at the city’s architecture and changing skyline. Many different tour companies offer cruises with some offering packages including food and beverages and live entertainment such as belly dancers and Arabic music. Some companies that offer Dhow Boat Cruises include Creekside Leisure (+971 4 3368407) and City Smart (+971 4 2246 181).
Tandem Sky Dive
The thrilling experience of a tandem sky dive from 12,000 feet is a must for adventure seekers, and this can be done at the UAQ Aeroclub in Umm Al Quwain. Accelerated free falls are also on offer for the extremely brave.
Location: Umm Al Quwain
Cost Tandem sky dive with an instructor, Dh1000.
Camel racing is a deep-rooted traditional sport that finds its origins in the desert culture of North Africa and the Middle East. The UAE has 15 racetracks with spacious and well-kept stadiums for viewers. Camel races take place from late October to early April, and periodically throughout the rest of the year. The races generally take place on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays throughout the winter season or on five-day events held in the UAE’s larger centres.
Contact: Nad Al Sheba Racecourse (+9714322277)
Dubai International Marine Club is a beach resort that offers a large variety of water sports and pastimes including windsurfing, sailing, fishing, and scuba diving. There are also the Beach Olympics for incentive and corporate groups. The DIMC also hosts a number of racing events for vessels ranging from traditional dhows to modern yachts.
Contact: Dubai International Marine Club (+97143994111)