The Jebel Hafeet, the famous Al Ain Mountain, located about 180 km from Abu Dhabi, is considered one of the most scenic places to see in the United Arab Emirates.
Located along the border with Oman, the Jebel Hafeet offers breathtaking views of Rub ‘al-Khali, the largest sand desert in the world, and the city of Al Ain, one of the most underrated cities in the UAE, which rises in the heart of a wonderful oasis in the desert recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Jebel Hafeet is also very famous for its mountain road that allows you to get to the top, where there are several viewpoints. This scenic winding road is very popular with cyclists and motorcyclists, and should be a must-see on your UAE road trip.
5 Curious Facts About Jebel Hafeet
1. Jebel Hafeet is the second highest mountain in the UAE
The Jebel Hafeet is a 1249 meter high mountain, located just behind the city of Al Ain, an ancient desert oasis, dotted with picturesque sand fortresses and located along old caravan routes.
The rugged Jebel Hafeet mountain, which is considered to be part of the Hajar Mountains, marks the border between Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The Hajar Mountains are one of the major mountain ranges in the region, and also include Jebel Jais, the highest peak in the UAE, located in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
2. The Jebel Hafeet mountain road is one of the most scenic in the UAE
You can get to the top of Jebel Hafeet by driving on a steep and winding mountain road. The road, which is wide and in excellent condition (which is why it often attracts motorcyclists and super car drivers), starts from Al Ain and leads up to the Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel, from where you can enjoy a crazy view!
This scenic mountain road is often chosen as a film location, and attracts many travelers especially at sunset or early in the morning.
Along the way you will find many viewpoints where you can stop to admire the breathtaking view over the city of Al Ain, with its green oases and the hot spring area called Green Mubazzarah. The view from the top extends to the horizon over the vast Rub ‘al-Khali desert.
This road is particularly popular with road travel enthusiasts and cyclists, who come from all over the world to train on the challenging climb.
3. The area around the Jebel Hafeet is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The area around Jebel Hafeet and Al Ain has been inhabited since prehistoric times. This was the site of the first human settlements in the region, dating back to the Neolithic. The archaeological sites of Al Ain, located right at the foot of the Jebel Hafeet, show the remains of ancient settlements and tombs dating back over 8,000 years.
The foothills of Jebel Hafeet can be explored by hitting the desert trails with a 4WD car, mountain bike or horseback.
The archaeological area of Jebel Hafeet stretches over 9 kilometers in length, is now a family-friendly attraction, attracting visitors from all over the globe. The excavations began in the mid-1900s and in 2011 their importance was recognized by UNESCO, which included the Jebel Hafit Desert Park and its incredible landscape in the list of World Heritage Sites.
4. On the slopes of Jebel Hafeet you can see one of the most important prehistoric necropolises in the world
The highlight of the Jebel Hafeet archaeological site are the ancient tombs dating back to the Neolithic, between 8000 and 5000 years ago. You will feel like an explorer wandering around these ancient settlements once inhabited by the first desert tribes who colonized this region.
Fans and scholars from all over the world come here to visit these well-preserved tombs, located in a very scenic area, reachable by a good 4WD vehicle. Most of the archaeological finds from the Jebel Hafeet, such as artifacts dating from the Bronze and Iron Ages, can be seen in the interesting museums of Al Ain.
5. Be sure to visit Al Ain, one of the UAE’s most hidden gems
To visit Jebel Hafeet you have to head to Al Ain, a city of over 600,000 inhabitants located in the middle of the desert.
Al Ain is located in a beautiful desert oasis, surrounded by dusty sand dunes and the rugged mountain of Jebel Hafeet. The border between the UAE and Oman runs right along the city center of Al Ain, and this allows us to understand the importance and vitality that this city has had since ancient times.
Al Ain is located along ancient caravan routes, and the Bedouins used to stop here to rest their camels and stock up on water and dates. Even today in Al Ain you can breathe the ancient charm of the old days.
You can visit marvelous fortresses that look like mysterious sand castles in the desert, take long walks in fascinating oases, in the shade of over 150,000 palm trees. Al Ain is the ideal place to enjoy a few days away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai or Abu Dhabi, or even just a day trip to admire its wonderful landscapes.
Staying on top of Jebel Hafeet: the Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Hotel
Many travelers choose to stay a few days in Al Ain and its beautiful surroundings, due to the calm and relaxed atmosphere and breathtaking landscape, among the most beautiful you can see in the UAE.
One of the most scenic places to stay in Al Ain is right on the summit of Jebel Hafeet, over 900 meters high. Here, next to palaces belonging to the ruling family of Abu Dhabi (Al Ain is located in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi), is the Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel, one of the most famous hotels in Al Ain.
This hotel offers stunning views over the entire region, and is particularly popular with couples and families, who can enjoy its swimming pools, spa and enjoy a cocktail while relaxing on the terrace with stunning views of the city of Al Ain.
The Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel offers spacious, comfortable and well-equipped rooms, three excellent restaurants serving local and international cuisine and free private parking.
A great alternative in the Al Ain area is the Telal Resort Al Ain, an amazing resort located in the middle of the desert, in a breathtaking setting. It is approximately 30km from Al Ain and is perfect for couples and travelers looking for an unforgettable place to stay.
How to get to Jebel Hafeet
To get to Jebel Hafeet from Dubai or Abu Dhabi you have to head to the city of Al Ain, located inland towards the border with Oman.
The most convenient, fun and economical way to reach the Jebel Hafeet is to rent a car and drive through the scenic roads (paved and in excellent condition) that cross the desert and from Dubai and Abu Dhabi lead to Al Ain. From here it is about 50 km, including 11 km of scenic mountain road, to reach the summit of Jebel Hafeet.
Many visitors choose to visit Al Ain and its surroundings on a guided day trip from Dubai or from Abu Dhabi. With local guides you can discover Al Ain’s most interesting places to see, including the Jebel Hafeet, without having to worry about a thing, as round-trip transportation from Dubai and Abu Dhabi hotels and a great, hearty lunch are usually included.
Places to visit near the Jebel Hafeet
At the foot of the Jebel Hafeet is the city of Al Ain, with its ancient fortresses, its fascinating oases, the last authentic camel market, and the famous hot springs. In Al Ain you can also find shops, supermarkets and excellent restaurants.
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