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The former ruler of Abu Dhabi, late Sheikh Zayed’s home, Al-Ain has geography that’s distinct and markedly different from the town of Abu Dhabi. Al-Ain is much greener and the Jebel Hafeet is located on Al-Ain’s outskirts on the southeastern side.
Jebel Hafeet means ‘the barren mountain’ in the Arabian language and the mountain truly is barren. It’s a protected natural asset under the 2018 Environmental Protection Act. Abu Dhabi’s highest peak and the third highest in all of UAE, the Jebel Hafeet also has beautiful serpentine roads leading to it. The mountain’s summit is 4,000 feet above sea level.
Jebel Hafeet is a part of the Hajar Mountains, much of which lies in Oman. It’s this mountain range that’s behind the vast difference in climate between Oman and the UAE. While one half of Jebel Hafeet is in the UAE, the other half is in Oman. However, the highest point of the mountain falls in Abu Dhabi.
Once you’ve reached the top of the mountain, you get to see the Al Ain city spread out down below. Tourists and motorists just love making it up to the mountain top through the long winding roads of Jebel Hafeet which was once only a mountain trail. There’s a large parking lot at the mountain top. You can gaze far into the horizons from there.
The Jebel Hafeet Tombs in Al Ain
The eastern side of the mountain is home to Abu Dhabi’s oldest archaeological site. These tombs date back to the Bronze Age a long 5,000 years back. Interestingly, artifacts excavated here have proved that trade links existed with India and Mesopotamia. The tombs have earned the name ‘beehive tombs’ because of their unique hexagonal shape. It’s because of this discovery that UAE’s Bronze Age is referred to as the ‘Hafeet Age.’
The historic discovery of this site was first made by a team of Danish archaeologists. This was followed by many experts visiting the place for more studies. In the present day, Jebel Hafeet has established itself as a very popular tourist spot.
The Mountain Roads of Jebel Hafeet
The winding road that leads to the top of Jebel Hafeet Mountain is 11.2 kilometers. The road has as many as 60 turns! Driving on this road is a thrill as this road is challenging to maneuver with its numerous hairpin bends and steep gradient.
There are viewing points that fall on the way where you’ll find cafes serving refreshments. The road is a favorite among cyclists who love taking up the challenge of riding up the road in the winters. You shouldn’t miss the experience of taking in the spectacular views of the surroundings while driving up the road.
Jebel Hafeet’s Weather
The weather in Jebel Hafeet isn’t as harsh as it is in the UAE. Temperatures here are consistently below 40 degrees Celsius. The best time to come here is the winter when the temperatures are even lower and it can get a bit hazy occasionally.
- Green Mubazzarah: This is the UAE’s greenest zone just by the Jebel Ali. It’s a place with lush greenery and it’s surrounded by rugged mountains. The Green Mubazzarah Park is just perfect for a picnic. There are steaming hot springs, the reason behind the place’s greenery.
- Al-Ain Zoo: Founded in 1968, this was an initiative by the then ruler, the late Sheikh Zayed. It’s ten kilometers to the Green Mubazzarah’s north. It’s a large zoo, home to 4,000 animals of 200 species.
- Al-Ain Oasis: The UAE’s first UNESCO Heritage Site, the Al Ain Oasis stands out as it’s not a modern construction built to emulate the heritage style. Saved from the wave of modernization, this protected zone still features the Falaj irrigation system that dates back 3,000 years. There are innumerable date palm trees in the lovely gardens of the 12,000 hectares oasis.
- Al-Ain Museum: The Al Ain Museum showcases Al Ain’s history beginning from the Bronze Age. It’s a long history of 7,500 years. This attraction was also built by the late Sheikh Zayed in 1969 and the museum shifted to its new premises in 1971 from the Eastern Fort.
- Mercure Jebel Hafeet Hotel: Located atop the Jebel Hafeet Mountain, this opulent hotel offers spectacular views of the valley. The rooftop swimming pool is simply spectacular.
Tips for Visiting Jebel Hafeet
- While there are no specific opening hours, it’s best to schedule your visit between 11 AM and 11 PM
- Hiring a taxi or a renting a vehicle is an economical option if you are traveling in a group
- Make sure that you carry water bottles and some snacks. Take hiking poles with you if you plan to hike
- It’s best to start early in the day especially if you are hiking
How Should You Reach There?
- By the metro: Take the metro to Deira City Center. Walk to the bus terminus and take a bus to Sharjah’s Al Jubail Bus Station.
- By bus: Get off at the Al Ain bus stop after taking a bus from Sharjah.
- Buy using our private transfer service: We can arrange a private tour that includes the private car and guide.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What’s the length of Jebel Hafeet?
The Jebel Hafeet Mountain stretches through 11.2 kilometers and has an elevation of 1249 meters above sea level.
- Why is the Jebel Hafeet so popular among tourists?
It’s popular because of the spectacular views one gets to enjoy from the top and the archaeological discoveries. The road that leads to the top of the mountain is very beautiful as well.
- Is it safe for hiking?
Yes, the mountain is safe for hiking. Just make sure to carry the necessary equipment and be a bit careful about the steepness.
- What’s the height of the Jebel Al Hafeet Mountain?
The Jebel Al Hafeet rises up to a height of 1249 meters making it the UAE’s second tallest peak.