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United Arab Emirates: Jebel Hafeet

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Jebel Hafeet | United Arab Emirates | Asia

[Visited: March 2016]

The drive from Dubai was through flat desert landscape with lovely sand dunes, but when I get closer to Al Ain, I see mountains floating over the desert landscape. After visiting Al Jahili fort, I drive up the mountain for the end of the day. It somehow feels bad - I am used to hiking, or cycling, up mountains, but in this case, I just don't have the time for that. The road is in immaculate condition: black asphalt, two lanes for traffic going up, one for coming down. Fortunately, there are regular stops possible, to enjoy the views. The lower part of the mountain is ragged, with spectacular rocky outcrops. The road lies on the mountain like a snake, and there apparently are 60 turns in the 11,7 km mountain road - I can tell you, I did not count them myself.

Picture of Jebel Hafeet (United Arab Emirates): Mountain road at the lower part of Jebel Hafeet with Al Ain in the background

The higher I get, the better the views, of course. At first, I can see the outline of Al Ain city, and realize again how big it is, in surface. Higher up, the road lies on the east side of the mountain, and the views are straight into Oman. Jebel Hafeet is a lone mountain, and not part of a range: it does not define the border, but it does run right to the east of it. I look across the desert, and see bare mountains in the distance. They are turning red under the late afternoon light. Ah, to travel there right now! But I go ahead, still, and reach a considerable car park with a restaurant, and lots of people. I see a road going still higher, without traffic, so I park my car close to it, thinking I can make it to the real top of Jebel Hafeet from here - at 1219 metres, the second tallest mountain in the UAE.

Picture of Jebel Hafeet (United Arab Emirates): Watching sunset at a platform near the top of Jebel Hafeet

Alas - there is a big fence, with signs saying that photographing is strictly prohibited. I see some installations on top of the mountain, and assume they must be military, given the proximity of the border here. So I am confined to the promenade on the western side of the mountain. The sun is sending orange-red light to the earth, but then sinks into the low clouds at the horizon, giving a great effect. The temperature here is noticeably lower than in Al Ain, and as soon as the sun disappears, it becomes chilly, and it is time to go down. The lights of Al Ain are coming on, and the silhouette of the cragged mountain now contrast with the lights below and the black-deep orange sky in the distance.

Picture of Jebel Hafeet (United Arab Emirates): Mountain road snaking up Jebel Hafeet
Picture of Jebel Hafeet (United Arab Emirates): The lower part of Jebel Hafeet
Picture of Jebel Hafeet (United Arab Emirates): The beginning of the Empty Quarter in Oman seen from Jebel Hafeet
Picture of Jebel Hafeet (United Arab Emirates): Warm sunlight on the upper part of Jebel Hafeet
Picture of Jebel Hafeet (United Arab Emirates): Some of the mountains of Jebel Hafeet at dusk
Picture of Jebel Hafeet (United Arab Emirates): Deep orange sky at sunset seen from close to the top of Jebel Hafeet
Picture of Jebel Hafeet (United Arab Emirates): Distant view of Jebel Hafeet

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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