Just a little FYI, this blog links up with ‘Sand dunes, fossil rocks + Camel race training’.
Part 2 covers the city of Al Ain, which is the second biggest city in Abu Dhabi, behind, well, Abu Dhabi. The drive from downtown Abu Dhabi takes 2 hours, give or take, depending on how much of a rev head you are. The speed limit is a shocking 160km an hour the majority of the way, but most cars tend to stick around 120-140km.
The Hidden Oasis
First things first, yes there is a Hidden Oasis in the desert. In fact, there is actually a lot of forests in the desert. Abu Dhabi is just full of surprises and I am sure you will realise this the more ‘Off the beaten track in Abu Dhabi’ blogs I do. The Hidden Oasis in Al Ain is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is such a valuable aspect to the ecosystems in the desert. We arrived before midday and unfortunately weren’t able to get around to all of the sites as they opened later in the afternoon when the temperatures are cooler. There are a lot of different paths to follow which take you through the different ecosystems in the desert and you’ll see enough date trees to last you a lifetime.
As it was still hot when we visited in October, we got hangry pretty quick fast, so we only spent about 45 minutes in total at The Hidden Oasis.
The Camel Market
I didn’t realise how many camels there were in the UAE until I visited both the race training and markets. It was slightly overwhelming, but super cool and something I never really thought I’d get to see for myself. The Camel Market is the place to be if you want to buy yourself a camel. Given the travel aspect of my life I definitely opted out, but it was a sight to see. We didn’t realise it, but we visited on the one day it is closed to the public. This led to some unwanted male attention from the sellers and a mild case of sexual harassment.
I’m not too sure if I was targeted because of the lack of people nearby, but it’s just a little warning to keep to your gut instincts and avoid taking photographs with the locals even if they insist. The camel markets are open every day BUT Friday (of course when we went) and is unique experience that not a lot of travellers have. The camels that are on for sale are typically used for racing, all ranging in different shapes, colours and ages.
You can always count on me for a scenic drive, especially when I can be the passenger and take it all in without having to concentrate on the road. Jebel Hafeet is the only mountain in The United Arab of Emirates and straddles the border with Oman. The bendy range takes about 15 minutes to get to the top, which provides you with undisturbed, 360-degree views over both The UAE and Oman. The mountain is unlike any other mountain I have ever been on and I can assure you that it will feel like you have stepped foot on Mars. It’s really quite cool. I definitely would put Jebel Hafeet up there with some of the best drives I have ever been on.
After a stop at the top viewing both Oman and the UAE, we headed back down the range and onto the highway back to downtown Abu Dhabi. Mum snoozed away in the back of the car, whilst Dad and I ate all of the bliss balls and talked the hours away.
I’m so excited to be able to explore Abu Dhabi for another month before I move back to Australia. I’d love to know if you have been to Abu Dhabi and if so, if there are any really cool, unique things that you’d advise me to do.
All the love in the world,