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Pervez Saleem


Go beyond the bling to Dubai’s natural side in Hatta

Courtesy: Dawn News/Image

Check out our four reasons to visit Hatta — a spot that offers history, culture and natural beauty and is just two hours out of the city center.

hen most people think of Dubai, the most obvious images that pop up are of the slick Burj Khalifa, exceptionally expensive cars, and giant malls where you could intentionally or unintentionally get lost for hours. ‘Bling’ has always been part of Dubai’s persona and with Netflix’s Dubai Bling, the city’s reputation as glamorous, dramatic and OTT has solidified even further.

But those who venture beyond the swanky high-rises and posh neighbourhoods will see a city that also has to offer history, culture and natural beauty — and by natural we mean actual nature here, not snow inside a mall as is famously available in this desert city!

Among Dubai’s natural offerings is Hatta; less than a two-hour drive from the city centre, it is surrounded by the Hajar Mountains and has been a go-to picnic spot for residents of the country for years.

The rocky mountain range, shared between Oman and the United Arab Emirates, is more than a sight for eyes looking to get away from the shiny steel buildings; it’s now an activity hub as well as an ideal spot for glamping (no, not camping — it is still Dubai after all).

So the next time you find yourself in Dubai, take a detour from the mall-hopping and embark on a more scenic route. Here’s what you’ll see along the way if you do:

Towering peaks

The mountain range, one of the most known in the Arabian peninsula, surrounds this exclave of Dubai. Those who like hiking can explore it on foot and others can take the bike trail. At sunset, the rocky mountains paint a beautiful picture to unwind from city life or just be with nature.

All blue everything

Hatta has ​​freshwater springs for those who may want to take a dip but the real visual treat is the Hatta dam, where blue skies and blue water contrast beautifully with the rugged mountainous backdrop. A number of options are available to move about on the man-made water body, including kayaking or canoeing, or a donut if you want to just simply float.

Zipline, anyone?

Hatta Wadi Hub is the place for anyone who wants to do more than just lounge by the dam and take in the view of the mountains; among our group of four, two of us opted to zipline and the other two decided to test our aim (and upper body strength) with archery and axe-throwing. We would strongly suggest keeping these activities for a winter holiday as opposed to the sweltering summer of Dubai.

Glam camps

Since Hatta is very much part of Dubai, it’s only fair that the camping there be a little upscale. Whether it’s the Sedr Trailers or the Damani Lodges, they’re both categorised as resorts so you know there won’t be any roughing it out. Think personal al fresco dining areas with barbecue pits, plush amenities and starry skies amid the mountains — not too shabby for an overnight trip!

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