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Arabian Adventures: dune bashing and water sports in Ras Al Khaimah

On the 16th March travel writer Lorraine Karabin flew out to the Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE and an up and coming under-the-radar travel destination. Here she tells us about her Arabian adventures…

Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, and is popular with local Emiratis looking to escape the city life of Dubai. With so much to discover about RAK, we jumped at the chance of uncovering the unknown. With a desert climate, the year-round warm weather is perfect for searching for some winter sun and November to March is the ideal time to visit with temperatures averaging 18-25°C, before the summer where temperatures can soar to 45°C.

Spending a week in the sun at the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa we experienced a blissful balance between chilling out and partaking in some more adrenaline-fuelled activities with some water sports and dune bashing in the desert.

Water sports Arabian style

watersports

The Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa has a water sports centre, and so it was only right to check it out being that we were to spend a whole week in these desert lands. I have always wanted to try out jet skiing but never really had the opportunity – until now. Following some instruction from the team, it wasn’t long before I was out riding the open waves and laughing at the prospect of being thrown off – which fortunately I wasn’t! After 15 minutes out on the water, it was time for the donut ride which I was not prepared for. Being pulled along by a speed boat at seemingly breakneck speeds was certainly an adrenaline rush, good to experience but not something I would rush to do again – but any thrill-seekers out there will absolutely love it!

Sea

To slow the pace down to something a bit more sedate, I was pleased to take to the water by kayak, navigating the creek which divides the old city of RAK and Nakheel. Judith from Challenging Adventure was our guide for the morning, and following a short demo we were quickly practising our skills on the water. Having been kayaking before, I am always amazed at how peaceful it is out on the water, and spotting the local wildlife is always good fun – and this instance was no different.

Seeing the majestic flamingos as well as herons in their natural setting was a sight to behold, and observing fish jump out of the water by our kayaks was rather amusing.
As part of our tour, Judith educated us on the resident wildlife, landscape and Emirati way of life, making a unique way of learning about the culture and landscape we were immersed in for our stay.
With three hours out on the water and having experienced a variety of water sports, it was high time to dry off for some desert adventures.

Dune bashing and the Bedouin Arabian camp

Dune Bashing RAK

Desert

Dunes

Going to Ras Al Khaimah and not seeing the desert would be like going to London and not seeing a black cab – you can’t escape it. Visiting just before sunset was the ideal time for dune bashing. Picked up from our hotel in a Toyota Land Cruiser, it took us less than 30 minutes to reach the dunes for our thrill-seeking ride. With a stop off to release some air out of the tyres, it wasn’t long before we were sliding down the sands to the latest club tunes on the driver’s radio. As we climbed further up the dunes, I couldn’t help thinking that what goes up must come down, and that was where all the fun was to be had.
Stopping off to admire the views, the ripple effect along the sands stretching for miles were incredible, and it’s amazing to think how nature can create something so wonderful.

Desert camp

RAK camp

Arabian Camp
Over far too soon, we headed over to the desert Bedouin Arabian Camp to enjoy an evening of Arabian entertainment with camel rides, fire acts, belly dancers as well as a BBQ meal cooked in the underground pit – a traditional form of cooking. And I ate like a queen. There was plenty of salad, pasta, curry, rice and tasty chicken skewers to feast on while watching the hypnotic fire act hula hoop with fire.
With cushions and tables scattered throughout the camp, tents were laid out with shisha pipes and there was even a stall for getting henna tattoos as a memento or you could even dress in traditional Arabian garb. All in all, it made for a glorious evening under the stars.

Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa

Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa

Spending a week at the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa, it was easy to see how it is the ideal place for some R&R with the whole family. My suite was huge, so plenty of room for everyone to have their own space to read, watch TV, relax or catch some sun on the balcony or patio. When I did decide to venture out, there was plenty to keep me entertained.

Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa views

RAK hilton

With 14 bars and restaurants, numerous pools to take a dip and a spa for some much-needed pampering, a week’s stay soon flew past and the breakfast buffet each morning fuelled me up for the day ahead. Meanwhile, the water sports team add some more energy with more than 17 activities to book, while the restless little ones will find entertainment at the kids club. A five-star hotel with lots of amenities to show for it, the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa is the perfect option if you like your breaks away relaxed in the main, with a side order of adventure!

Holiday Offer – a great deal on Ras Al Khaimah!

Ras Al Khaimah Holiday offer

Ras Al Khaimah is an up and coming destination for those seeking guaranteed sunshine, fun water sports, fine cuisine, unique desert adventures, relaxing spa treatments, and uncrowded luxury resorts. Perfect for a winter’s sun break, Arabian Adventure Travel is offering some really great value package deals where prices start from just £385 which include flights with Royal Brunei Airlines, a five-star hotel (with breakfast included) and free transfers. Children also stay free! To find out more check out their great deals now. (Travel dates include August – September but there are further travel dates available in October – November, although prices increase slightly).

See for yourself why it’s so special

All words and images by travel writer Lorraine Karabin. This post was brought to you as a result of the #DiscoverRAK project.

19 Comments

  • Avatar

    Clairy R

    21 April, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    I have to be honest I’ve not considered the UAE as a holiday destination but looks like a great place to visit, the desert adventures especially!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Lorraine

      22 April, 2016 at 10:20 am

      I was the same as you Clairy, it was never at the top of my travel list before but I now see the appeal. Great weather and activities – you can’t go wrong!

      Reply
  • Avatar

    Emma B

    14 April, 2016 at 10:12 am

    I’m based in Doha at the moment so this kind of scenery looks very familiar indeed! Looks like a great holiday resort I think we’ll try and get there one day seeing as though it’s so close!

    Reply
  • Avatar

    Scott Balaam

    14 April, 2016 at 10:02 am

    I have to admit I’m a huge fan of the Middle East and there’s something very special about a trip there. Hope to make it over to RAK one day soon!

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Lorraine

      22 April, 2016 at 10:17 am

      Hi Scott, being my first time in the Middle East I can understand why you love it so much. There’s something quite enchanting about it isn’t there?

      Reply
  • Avatar

    Suze - Luxury Columnist

    10 April, 2016 at 12:25 am

    The dune drive must have been so much fun, I’d love to experience that and I’ve heard great things about Ras Al Khaimah

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Lorraine

      22 April, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Exactly Linzi, having a nice balance is always a good thing for your travels and it got me out of my comfort zone, which is never a bad thing!

      Reply
  • Avatar

    Jason Mullin

    9 April, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Great overview of an area I know little about. I spend a day in and around Abu Dhabi shortly and reading this got me that much more excited for it.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Lorraine

      22 April, 2016 at 10:11 am

      That’s great Jason – glad it helped to give you an overview of this little-known region as there is so much to see and do. Enjoy your time in Abu Dhabi, look forward to hearing all about it.

      Reply
  • Avatar

    Marc

    8 April, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Great post. I have never done this but it seems exciting to do all these activities in the desert. And the jet skies are always fun regardless where you do that. BTW, those pictures are stunning and the dunes look amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Lorraine

      22 April, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Thanks Marc, to see it is to believe it as they say! Totally agree – it’s good to have some desert based activities too to get the adrenaline pumping!

      Reply
    • Avatar

      Lorraine

      22 April, 2016 at 10:05 am

      It was so warm there Katie, perfect time to visit for a beach break before the unbearable summer heat, and with lots of activities and cultural things to do in between it made it a nice balance.

      Reply
  • Avatar

    Anca

    7 April, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Those photos od the dessert and the bedouin oasis camp are breathtaking! Sleeping in the middle of the dessert is something I long for for a very long time. I need to find my way of getting there as soon as possible.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Lorraine

      22 April, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Now is definitely the time to visit Anca! Unfortunately we couldn’t stay overnight at the camp but what a wonderful experience it would be! Such a mystical place, you won’t be disappointed.

      Reply

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