After months of summer, when there is not much choice but to stay mostly indoors, winter in the UAE (from October to March) is a sweet taste of freedom with unlimited hours of fun in the sun.
During winter, the average daytime temperature is 25°C (77°F), and at nighttime, it varies between 12°C (54°F) to 15°C (59°F) near the coastline and reaches 5°C (41°F) in the desert.
Here are five outdoor activities for you to experience in the cooler months of the year:
- Go camping
The UAE has beautiful deserts where you can try stargazing, enjoy a great barbeque, or sit on a dune and watch the setting sun. From Dubai, popular spots to camp include, Al Aweer, Al Khawaneej, the Al Qudra Lakes and Lehbab.
From Abu Dhabi, you can enjoy camping on the way to Al Ain, Liwa and even on Dalma Island. The Liwa Oasis spot located after Mafraq is best suited for those who are experienced in desert driving routes. You can also camp at the Long Beach Campground in Ras Al Khaimah and try your hand at kite flying, kayaking or beach volleyball.
Remember to carry all the camping essentials such as tents, sleeping bags, food and water. Always inform a family member or a close friend about your whereabouts.
- Enjoy a desert safari
Desert safari is a wonderful way to experience the beauty of the desert. You can go for a morning, evening or overnight safari, ideally in a group rather than on your own. Always research your route thoroughly and take necessary precautions. You can also ask certified tour operators to organize a safari for you.
While you are out there, enjoy some dune bashing, have a barbecue dinner at a desert camp, enjoy a camel ride, watch a falcon fly and apply henna on your hands.
Remember to carry child car seats, in-car safety equipment and make sure your 4x4 drive is in top gear with sufficient fuel.
In Dubai, the popular spots are the Al Aweer area, and Margham area. In Sharjah, Bidayer on the Hatta/Oman highway (E44), Fossil rock on the Sharjah/Kalba road, and Al Faya Desert on the Sharjah/Al Malaiha road (E55) are good options. In Abu Dhabi, there is Sweihan on the Abu Dhabi/Sweihan/Al Hayer road, and the epic Liwa desert trail in Rub Al Khali.
- Unwind at the green zones
UAE’s beautifully landscaped green zones are a treat during winter. There are beautiful parks and gardens to play, relax, and enjoy a barbeque.
The parks have great walking, jogging and cycling tracks, slides and swings; some even have outdoor gyms, boating facilities and lakeside restaurants.
Spend weekends in Dubai at the famous Mushrif Park, Zabeel Park, Safa Park, the Dubai Creek Park, and the Barsha Pond Park. For dog lovers, there is the Bark Park.
To understand the Islamic heritage, you can visit the Quranic Park in Al Khawaneej. The popular Ripe Market in Academy Park, Umm Suqeim houses organic food from Dubai’s local farms.
You can also choose to visit the Dubai Miracle Garden to enjoy the brilliant flower structures. The Butterfly Garden next door houses different species of butterflies.
If you are fond of the films, Motiongate Dubai, a Hollywood-inspired theme park in Dubai Parks and Resorts, is a popular entertainment spot.
The other popular green spots are Al Mamzar Park near Sharjah with a beach; Sharjah’s National Park with giant slides and cycling fun, and Al Ain’s Green Mubazzarahis with hot springs, streams, man-made lake, and chalets.
In Abu Dhabi, you have Yas Gateway Park, Khalifa Park, Delma Park, Reem Central Park, Heritage Park and Al Khalidiya Park, offering fantastic facilities to relax. Abu Dhabi’s Capital Gardens is another spot of tranquillity with a lake and children’s play areas. For those of you who love speed, Ferrari World has many rides.
- Get some marine adventure
The Gulf’s brilliant coast and crystal clear waters are a huge draw for tourists and residents. You can set sail on your yacht with some training, or can opt for a guided tour. The area around the Palm Jumeirah and the Atlantis is a great sailing spot.
In Dubai, you can also take a ride on the dhow cruises with beautiful sights of the Dubai Marina and the Creek. Cruises at Dubai Canal will take you on a journey dotted with beautiful architecture along its banks. If you prefer roller coaster rides, head to the Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park, Wild Wadi, Legoland and the Laguna water parks in La Mer, Dubai.
In Fujairah, snorkel at Snoopy Island and kayak at the Hatta Dam. In Abu Dhabi, study the mangroves and spend a weekend on BaniYas Island. The Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi is also a great spot for water adventures. The Al Wathba Wetland Reserve in Abu Dhabi is also a great place to spend the weekend while viewing ongoing preservation of endangered species and natural reserves.
In Sharjah, you have the Al Montazah Water Park, perfect for a day out with kids. If you prefer the calmness of nature, head to the Al Zorah Natural Reserve in Ajman. You can explore this beautiful ecosystem on a kayak.
- Scale the heights
If you love climbing heights, the UAE has many mountain ranges to get started. Study the terrain well and learn carefully about descent routes. Ideally get trained at an indoor climbing venue where you learn how to use the ropes, harnesses and other safety equipment.
UAE’s highest mountain - Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah – is a great place to experience the heights. While there are several routes for trekkers, most begin from WadiGhalilah Dam. Jebel Jais also houses the longest and highest zip line in the world. You can also try the Hatta Crag Rock climbing for some adrenaline rush.
Gather your friends and family and make the most of the gorgeous weather for the next few months.