‘Pack a sense of adventure and get ready to immerse yourself in the rich history and incredible landscapes at the one-of-a-kind Jebel Hafit Desert Park.’ Visit Abu Dhabi
Travel is all about road trips these days and luckily Abu Dhabi has some great place to explore within a two-hour drive. We headed off for a staycation at Jebel Hafit Desert Park in the nearby garden city of Al Ain.
Located at the base of the Emirate’s highest peak Jebel Hafeet near the Oman border, the nine kilometre desert park offers visitors a chance to get back to nature in the foothills of the mountain surrounded by its unique rugged landscape.
We choose to glamp rather than camp because you know, bathrooms are definitely worth the extra cash. The site offers two glamping experiences, the dome tents where we stayed and five futuristic bubble tents (which were all unfortunately fully booked). Located in a little valley near a dry river bed is a cluster of traditional Emirati Bedouin tents and a public camping site where you can pitch your own tent, these accommodations have shared bathroom facilities.
The dome tents bring the glamour to camping, a fully furnished five-star air conditioned space that includes a double bed, lounge area, TV (with Apple TV), ensuite bathroom with rain shower and telescope for some stargazing. Each dome tent has its own wooden terrace and fire pit (top tip: bring your own firewood) so you can relax and enjoy the great outdoors. Stargazing is a little inhibited with the light pollution from Al Ain and the quality of the telescope but can still spot a few of the well known consellations.
Dining is limited as you would expect, just one food truck with adjacent seating areas. Continental breakfast is included in dome and bubble tents room rate, not the largest portions but better than nothing, it can be collected from the truck itself or delivered to your room. The truck is open all day until 10:45pm with the option for in-room delivery available, the menu includes sharwamas, burgers, fries, drinks etc. We called ahead and were informed that the tents had bbq facilties so arrived laden with food only to be told at check-in that this was actually incorrect, luckily they lent us a grill so the setback was averted (top tip: bring a disposable bbq).
The park, which opened last year, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s ripe for exploring with historical and archaeological treasures such as 5,000 year old Neolothic beehive tombs. The family-friendly site offers outdoor activities such as camel and horse rides, mountain biking, guided hikes and for the more adventurous off-road ATV experiences. Explore the area further by taking a drive up Jebel Hafeet, visiting Al Ain oasis or Al Ain zoo.
If you fancy trying somewhere new Jebel Hafit Desert Park is definitely worth a visit, just remember to pack extra supplies as dining options are limited and take some warm clothes because those desert nights are chilly once the fire goes out.
The Nitty Gritty
Jebel Hafit Desert Park, Mezyad District, Al Ain
Telephone: 03 711 8362
Check-out: 12 noon
Fun desert glamping experience
Fully equipped luxury tents
Change of Scenery
The Not so Good…..
Incorrect pre-arrival information about bbq facilities
Limited dining options (take a disposable bbq if you want to cook your own food)
Firewood pricey onsite (take your own at available from Ace)
Service trucks are noisy at night
All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2021. All rights reserved. Bedouin tents photo used with courtesy of abudhabiculture.ae/