At the Hatta Honey Bee Discovery Centre, you can don beekeeping suits to get hands-on with real working hives, and taste honey made from ghaf pollen – the UAE’s national tree. Soon, Al Mutuwaiee’s Hatta Strawberry Farm will offer pick-your-own organic fruit, plus farm tours and a coffee shop selling homemade preserves. There are endless hiking trails through the peaks, ancient tribal forts to explore, and almost 40km of graded cycling routes.

Another newbie is Hatta Kayak, a watersports base at Hatta Dam. This vast, tranquil reservoir is surrounded by mountains, its water sparkling like diamonds in the abundant sunshine. It is genuinely stunning, yours to explore by kayak, pedalo or cruise boat, with only a few elegant grey cormorants for company.

Peak-perfect camping

You’d think that, in this nation of five-star hotels, a tent wouldn’t hold much allure, but demand for the area’s campsites is high – little wonder, because they’re utterly beautiful. Mountain vistas, secluded pitches, excellent facilities: a rainy Dorset weekend this is not. Bathrooms and shower blocks are squeaky-clean, and trendy food trucks sell proper coffee, hot dinners, and Arabic specialities such as sweet syrup-drenched luqaimat dumplings. 

“The first time I visited, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” confided Rania Jabar, a Canadian living in Dubai for 16 years, while watching her kids scale Wadi Hub’s climbing wall. “Dubai had a whole new side we never knew existed! Three years later, we come all the time. My children had never camped before, but they love it.”

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