Hurtling down the world’s longest zip line at a staggering 120km/h takes speed sightseeing to a whole new level.
Strapped in, face down, arms and legs at my sides like a skeleton competitor at the Winter Olympics, my cheeks sway in the wind as a spectacular, jagged mountain range rushes past beneath me.
For almost two miles I feel like I’m flying. And I can’t stop smiling.
You may be wondering where I am. New Zealand? Canada? Costa Rica?
All great destinations for adrenaline pumping getaways, but there’s a new adventure playground nearby.
Ras Al-Khaimah is the UAE’s northernmost emirate and home to the world’s longest zip line, Jebel Jais Flight.
It’s only an hour’s drive from the bustling metropolis of Dubai, but the region couldn’t be more different.
Ras Al-Khaimah not only has desert, mountains and sea, it is also a great destination for an action-packed vacation.
And the Jebel Jais Flight, nestled in the heart of the Al Hajar Mountains, offers a unique, exciting view of the unusual landscape.
In classic Emirati style, the attraction breaks the record for any zip line in front of it with an incredible length of 1.75 miles – or 28 football pitches.
I reach the bottom in two minutes and then I’m breathless – partly because of the breathtaking scenery, but also because the fast pace blows you away!
However, there are other ways to get your kicks if jumping head first off the highest peak in the UAE is a little too daring.
The Al Hajar region is also home to a high-speed mountain sled, Jais Sledder, with a 1.2-mile track that allows me to live out my Mario Kart dreams while tackling many hairpin turns, only this time much closer to the Floor.
At 40km/h it’s significantly slower than the tightrope, but in a way it feels even faster when I’m speeding around tight corners.
The fun isn’t just reserved for the big ones either.
Anyone aged three and over can take the newly opened ride under supervision – and at just £8 each, it’s a bargain for families.
After you’ve had your fill of thrills, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the stunning scenery of Ras Al-Khaimah – or RAK as the locals call it – without dropping a mere drop.
However, a 4×4 desert drive through Al Wadi Conservation Area is still exciting enough to get your heart pumping.
Sand swirls up the sides of the jeep as we tackle mighty dunes in search of Arabian oryx and gazelle that roam free on this 1,235-acre estate.
Our guide Javaid’s eyes light up as he watches an Oryx family with their huge horns near a clump of native Ghaf trees.
SAND DUNES BOARDING
Encouraged with a bag of pellets, they crowd closer, mouth open – and I have to remind myself that it’s what’s in the bag they’re after, not me.
This slice of desert sits on the grounds of the flashy Ritz Carlton Hotel, though now there’s none of the glitz and glamor of five-star luxury here — just the raw sights, sounds, and smells of nature.
Once feeding time is over, it’s time for me to eat something of my own at the massive Instagrammable Sonara Desert Camp, where a delicious feast of traditional Arabic cuisine with a Mediterranean twist awaits.
As part of a dinner-and-sunset package, vacationers can take a camel ride and try their hand at sand dune boarding before indulging in quality food while spending the evening enjoying spectacular fire-breathing and live music.
And if after walking, boarding, driving and flying you’re still keen on pushing your limits, a trip to Bear Grylls Adventure Camp, the only permanent camp outside of the UK, could be just the ticket.
It offers primordial survival courses where vacationers can learn to build snares and traps in case they get lost in the desert.
My guide Paige assures me that I don’t need this when I’m with her, but I’ve been told that kids love the thrill of potential danger.
While RAK is a great destination in itself, a real highlight is that you can so easily combine it with a trip to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, where you can relax after your crazy adventures.
All seven emirates are only a few hours apart and can be traveled by taxi or rental car.
But be warned, the UAE is known for its 12-lane highways, so self-driving is not for the faint of heart.
However, if you can handle the world’s longest zip line, huge highways will be an absolute breeze.
GO: RAS AL-KHAIMAH
COVID: The nearest airport is Dubai. Unvaccinated travelers must provide proof of a negative PCR test within 48 hours of arrival.
ARRIVAL/STAY: Five nights half board at the Waldorf Astoria Ras Al-Khaimah is from £979 per person based on two adults staying in September including flights from Gatwick. See emirateholidays.com.
OUT & OVER: A Zipwire ride on Jais Flight costs from £70.60 per person. A Jais sleigh ride costs from £8.56 per adult. See visitjebeljais.com. The Sunset and Dinner Experience at Sonara Camp Al Wadi is priced from £183.92 per adult. See nara.ae. A pet feeding at the Ritz Carlton Ras Al-Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert costs from £35 per adult and £27 per child. Book by emailing email@example.com or calling +97172067777.
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8726403/ras-al-khaimah-adventure/ Why you should leave Dubai for the desert and try a Bear Grylls adventure camp and the longest zipline in the WORLD