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Camping in Hatta Dubai

Hatta is a town in the UAE located in the foothills of the Hajar Mountains. It is an exclave of Dubai and is located about an hour and a half from the city center. It is separated from the main part of the emirate by Sharjah (which is part of the UAE), and Oman. It is the town Emiratis escape to in respite from the heat in the city during summer.

I thought I would never be able to visit Hatta. Every time we plan to go, there's always some hold up. I'm glad we finally visited and actually camped out there for real.

The main reason we are drawn to Hatta is because of this jewel.

The Hatta Dam


*please click on the image to enlarge

The Hatta Dam is the main source of water and electricity in the area since it was built in the 1990s. 

We were there in April this year (2019). From Sharjah where we live, we drove via Road E102 passing Maleha to Shawka to Hatta which is about one and a half-hour drive. For what I know as of this writing (20/10/2019), the other route via Al Madam is not accessible for reasons I am not very much well aware of.


There are plenty of rest areas (campsite) in Hatta but the only one we saw with lighting and electricity is the Hatta Camping Area (Google name). It is actually called Jabal Al Meraya Rest Area which is a hill exactly opposite Hatta Police Station.

From there, Hatta Dam is just five minutes away by car.


We set up camp here since we were not familiar with other rest areas in Hatta until the next morning.


Some went to rest a little while others started the fire going,


to grill some fish


and some steak


I took charge of the table setting. We brought steamed shrimps, saute veggies, salted egg and tomato salad and some sliced papaya.


And then we dig in.


had a little bit of camping dessert after with these two in charge.



Yes, that's skyflakes crackers, the marshmallow is already too sweet when roasted and will only get sweeter if I use graham or chocolate cookies so I chose a salty cracker to go with it.

That is s'mores, Filipino style, my style.


Probably a couple of hours past midnight, we turned the lights off for bedtime and kept just one, just in case (lol)


Waking up to this view in the morning.






Breakfast was...I actually don't remember. Hahaha, probably coffee and pandesal.


In a while, we were back on the road leading to the reservoir.


We turn left in this t-junction with a Hatta Kayak Instagram handle signage and drove up to the Hatta Dam parking lot.  Parked our car and walk down to the bridge.


and was greeted by the still turquoise water of the dam, mirroring the mountains and the sky.


We were here really early, between 6:30 and 7 am. Others were probably still sleeping or just waking up on a peaceful Friday morning.



Hatta Kayak opens at 8 am so while waiting, we explored the area.





The other dam, an extension of the bigger dam is empty at the time of the visit.


and it is where the giant mural, an 80m x 30 m artwork of the founding fathers of UAE - Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan and the late Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum is painted. It is also a camping site.




By 8 am, we're back at the Hatta Kayak's gate. We didn't want to waste time. It was April and it gets hot at noontime so better finish before it gets really toasty. When we saw the staff of Hatta Kayak arrived, we followed them to the ticket booth, bought our tickets, put out bags in the locker and boarded our kayaks.


The price for unlimited use of single kayak is AED 60 and a double kayak is AED 120. Small kids must be accompanied by adults. Their contact number +971566162111 but this is #notsponsored. I'm just sharing the information that I already have.


There are lockers you can use to keep valuables safe. In case you want to keep some of your things with you, be warned. We were told to hold on to our dear phones, keys, sunglasses or whatever lose items we wanted to carry with us while kayaking because if it goes down into the water and sinks below, there's no way of getting it back. The dam is so deep, it needs professional divers to get your stuff back or another way is to empty the reservoir of water, which is not an option.



Nope, swimming is not allowed, if you're thinking to ask.





As soon as the sun was too hot to handle, we went ashore.



and continue for lunch at the Hatta Dam Rest Area. This rest area has several open cabanas with palm-frond roofs, barbeque tables and swings for children.



We reheated our leftovers from the night before and ate kamayan style, boodle fight it is, sans the banana leaf.

Water coolers are installed outside in most villas in Hatta where visitors can come to refill empty bottles with chilled water free of charge. It is a kind gesture of locals here in the UAE.


It was time for Friday prayer and my brother went to pray in the nearby mosque while some of us snooze out our lunch.

It was already too hot to walk around Hatta Heritage Village so we decided to check on Hatta Wadi Hub instead. Most activities are outdoor but it is such a promising new development with plenty of things to do. I am looking forward to coming back here now that it is cooler.



It would be nice to go glamping with hubs in one of these Hatta trailers and go trekking or cycling maybe.


It was a lovely first here in Hatta. We enjoyed so much.

For UAE residents, don't wait too long before you visit. Why not go this weekend?

For the tourist, it would be a great experience if you get to see this other face of Dubai.

For us, we have two activities lined up already in the next couple of weekends so see you when we see you again Hatta.

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Cheers
Carla