Last year, I planned a little staycation to Hatta which is located just outside of Dubai in the UAE. Hatta is a well known spot due to its impressive scenery and list of outdoor activities. The Hatta Dam is probably the most popular site where you can kayak, surrounded by the most incredible backdrop of mountains. As it was Mamdouh’s 30th birthday, I wanted to do something a little bit special, so I booked us a night in a hotel so we could have two full days exploring Hatta.
Dubai – Hatta: 1.5 Hour Drive
It took us around an hour and a half to drive to Hatta, but this can vary depending on your location in Dubai. We rented a car from ekar which is a pay-per-minute carshare app which also allows daily rental bookings. The drive from Dubai was really nice as it is mainly one straight, flat road on a highway. It was very scenic and there were several places to stop along the way to grab a snack or refuel.
We arrived at Hatta Dam around 3pm as we thought it would be cooler around this time. It costs 60 AED (£13/$16) to rent a single kayak, or 120 AED (£26/$32) to rent a double one. We decided to rent a single one each. There is no time limit on how long you can rent the kayak for which is great as the Dam is huge! It is such a fun activity and felt great to be outdoors doing something different. We visited in the winter which was ideal – I cannot imagine what it would be like in the summer, probably unbearable!
We kayaked for around an hour. It was one of the best activities I have done in Dubai and it felt so relaxing – at one point, I put my oar down and just laid back. It was very quiet and felt like we had the whole Dam to ourselves! We found a great car parking spot just down the hill from the Dam which had an impressive mural built into the mountain of the nation’s late legendary leaders – Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
JA Hatta Fort Hotel
I booked to stay one night at the JA Hatta Fort Hotel which is just a short drive from Hatta Dam. This particular hotel also provides discount for Emirates staff which was a bonus! The hotel was absolutely beautiful. We were greeted by a peacock strolling the grounds upon check in, and then we were taken to our lovely room. The hotel has amazing facilities such as a swimming pool, tennis courts, archery, ping pong and shooting. I also told the hotel when I booked that we were celebrating a birthday, and they decorated the room and provided a cake which was a lovely touch.
Lots of Outdoor Activities
We decided to make use out of the tennis courts and play a game of tennis. We saw a beautiful sunset and in the background you can see the ‘Hatta’ sign in the mountains, just like the famous Hollywood sign. The hotel grounds are so green and colourful, it felt like we were somewhere in the Mediterranean! I cannot believe this place is just an hour and a half away from Dubai!
The next morning, after our breakfast, we went shooting in the hotel. We shot tin cans which was surprisingly really difficult, but a lot of fun!
After lunch, we wanted to go for a hike so I googled a hiking trail nearby. We drove around for ages but we couldn’t find the start. We ended up finding our own one, off the beaten track. After parking up in a random area, we walked for hours in a secluded mountain range. We came across camels and ostriches too! It was such a lovely walk, with stunning scenery. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too hot either as it is cooler in the mountains.
I would highly recommend Hatta to anyone who fancies a day outside of Dubai and some fresh air. I would love to come back here and bring my family next time too! Living in Dubai, you can sometimes get caught up in the glitz and glamour, so it was really nice change. It was a beautiful staycation and the perfect way to celebrate Mamdouh’s 30th birthday.
Thanks for reading.