Hiking the Summit of Mt. Rabi
Located on the east coast of UAE (opposite Dubai) and facing the Gulf of Oman, is small strip of land called Khor Fakkan. Despite being surrounded by the municipalities of the Fujairah emirate, Khor Fakkan is actually an exclave of the emirate of Sharjah.
Khor Fakkan (or Creek of Two Jaws), has a beautiful coastline and a rich history. In their quest to control the Persian gulf, the Portuguese Empire, invaded the city in the 16th century and made it part of a series of fortified cities starting from Oman.
Despite visiting this place numerous times in the past to take a break from the city and relax at one of their many resorts lined up across the coastline, we had never imagined that this place had so much more to offer. The area is surrounded by the mighty Hajar mountain range and while driving through them to reach the city, we both always imagined the prospect of hiking these mountains someday. That day finally came earlier this year when we packed up our bags & hiking gear and headed toward the Al Rabi hiking trail in Khor Fakkan.
Al Rabi is a new and safe hiking trail developed recently that is suitable for all ages and novice hikers. The best part about this hike is that it fuses both history and exercise together, which means both of us (antiquity obsessed Sharib and nature/health loving Saba) couldn’t wait to start climbing.
Overlooking the Indian ocean and with forts along the way, the trail itself starts from Al Rabi Tower, a 100 year old fort, built as part of the defense system for the city. There are few parking spots at the entrance to the trail but for long term parking, there is separate space at the base (clearly marked).
With its zigzag trails and not so steep elevation gain, right from the beginning the trail offered panoramic views of the ocean on one side and the mountain range on the other. The path has been clearly marked for directions and there are various vantage points & rest stops along the way. Our favorite spot was the resting area overlooking the infamous hidden beach.
The trails ends with UAE flag at the summit, the highest point of this route. The total hiking distance is 3km one way and a total elevation of 395m, it took us 2.5 to 3 hrs to finish the trail (round trip).
Although the hike was technically not difficult, it should not be underestimated, especially by beginners. Make sure to wear appropriate footwear and stay hydrated.
If you are planning to go, below is quick summary we prepared for you:
Difficulty Level: Beginners
Distance: 3 km (one way) Elevation: 395 metres Cellular Service: Available Shops / Restaurants: No Direction Signs: Yes
Distance From Dubai: 1 Hr 45 Mins (We would highly driving here yourself)
What to wear
Shoes: Hiking shoes are one of the best pieces of gear you should bring on any hike. They provide more support and durability then regular runners. We both wore our Salomon X Ultra 3 hiking shoes, which are specifically designed to grab terrain aggressively.
Saba: "Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid Gore-Tex" which are slightly raised with ankle support, for people prone to trips or foot injuries.
Sharib: "Salomon X Ultra 3 Gore-Tex" which are lightweight, sturdy & perfect for rugged terrain.
Bag pack: Light backpack suitable to hiking. We took our "Run All Day Backpack II" from Lululemon. This lightweight backpack is perfect for short runs, hikes, and commutes. It is made with fabric that is durable, water-repellent and easy to wipe clean. It is a 13L backpack, great for short hikes, highly recommended by us.
And finally, remember:
To bring at least 1 litre of water per person, as you will get thirsty and there are no shops along the trail.
Few quick light snacks like protein bar, fruits or nuts.
Sunblock, as the desert sun is at its brightest during the day.
Be considerate, do not leave your garbage / litter behind on the trail. Help keep our planet clean.