The Arab farmer’s way of life
We are definitely in the countryside now. Its mild climate makes Hatta a popular summer retreat for Dubai families. It used to be a desert village, and the restored old clay farmhouses, the fort and the ancient mosques are a reminder of what life was like in the Emirates before the oil boom. The desert doesn’t get more authentic than this. Many locals still make a living as farmers, growing dates and offering accommodation for tourists – a real Arab farm holiday!
Hatta’s mountains are a bountiful playground for the Dubai crowd and for the adventuring outdoor enthusiast from abroad. The weather is pleasant and dry outside the peak summer months. You could take a kayak or one of the little blue electric boats out on the reservoir if you’re looking to cool down, but we’d rather explore the mountains: The protected nature reserve offers hiking, climbing, horse riding – and mountain biking. Hatta Trail Center is the first MTB park in the Middle East and offers more than 30 miles of trails in the Al-Hajar range, graded for four different experience levels. Our route loops through wadis and crimson scree slopes as we make our way through gravel and shallow pools, always hoping to spot a rare Arabian leopard in scrawny acacia trees, or one of the equally rare Egyptian vultures soaring high above the peaks. A haven of biodiversity in the Emirates, the Hajar Mountains show a very different side of Dubai.