Dubai is known for its flashy modernity and high capitalism, but just a 90-minute drive away lies a different side of the United Arab Emirates experience: Hatta Mountain Reserve. Formerly known as Hajarain and once a territory of Oman, Hatta has always been valuable due to its relatively high altitude, fertile soils, cooler temperatures, and plentiful rainfall. Today, it is a protected area and one of the Gulf’s most biodiverse destinations, with 19% of the country’s known plant species, 44% of its native mammalian population, and 27% of its birds, among other wildlife.
Despite its proximity to urban hubs like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Hatta has long been a prime vacation spot for local Emiratis and their fellow residents. Recently, tourists have also been attracted to the area’s nature-focused activities, prompting the UAE government to invest 1.3 billion AED to support housing, green areas, bike paths, and more. In 2019, Hatta Mountain Reserve was designated a Ramsar Site, a protected class marking it as a Wetland of International Importance.
Today, Hatta is a world-class eco-friendly adventure destination, offering activities such as kayaking, mountain biking, axe-throwing, and archery. Roudi Soubra, the executive director of asset management for ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum’s global investment company, Dubai Holding, notes that Hatta has transformed into a key tourist attraction and continues to grow and develop with numerous initiatives to support the local Hatta community, socially and economically.
So, if you’re looking for a captivatingly beautiful expedition to the UAE’s natural crown jewel, Hatta Mountain Reserve is definitely worth the trip.