Kayaking in Hatta Water Dam

Hatter Dam from the Viewpoint

Hatter Dam from the Viewpoint

So, it turns out, there are in fact lot of outdoorsy things to explore in UAE. One of the most beautiful natural sights (yes, instagram-worthy too) I’ve ever visited to in Dubai is the Hatta Water Dam. An enclave of Dubai, the fresh blue-green waters surrounded by Hajar Mountains in Hatta create for a serene atmosphere to relax in on a one-day or a weekend trip. While outdoor activities include paddle boating, water biking, donut boating and tour boating, I chose to kayak whilst taking in the surreal views.

As shown in the map above, the Hatta Dam is approximately 137 km (85 miles) east from Dubai and it takes about 1.5-2 hours to reach there.

While it is far from Dubai and can usually take up an entire day or even a weekend (if you decide to stay overnight), there are various things you can do to keep yourself entertained:

On the way to Hatta Dam is a 15 minute detour drive called Wadi Shawka, which is a 10 km hiking loop off the Sharjah-Kalba Road. It is the place that receives maximum rainfall in UAE and fills up the wadi with water from October to March. The hike usually takes 4-6 hours which I wasn’t able to complete due to the scorching June heat. Either way, the sunset views are breathtaking  and can be enjoyed by even just picnicking at the starting point of the dam.

Wadi Shawka

Wadi Shawka

40 minutes from Wadi Shawka is the Hatta Reservoir Visitor Point, where the mountains encircle the water where Hatta Kayak runs it’s successful water sports business. Before you head up to the Reservoir Viewpoint, you come across a beautiful humungous mural commemorating the UAE’s founding fathers, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.


Kayaking in the Hatta Dam

Kayaking in the Hatta Dam

Once you park your car (for free), you take pictures of the scenic view from the view point and head down for the water sports. It is a bummer that you aren’t aloud to swim in the fresh waters, else I’d have dived without a doubt. Nevertheless, I kayaked for two hours, and still got to enjoy the evening breeze and the sunset. Believe it or not, kayaking out there was only 60 AED ($16 USD) for unlimited time, which isn’t expensive at all. The timings are 8 am to 7 pm, seven days a week. For overnight stays, a lot of mountain lovers either camp out in the mountains or stay at a nearby hotel.

Kayaking at Hatta Kayak

Kayaking at Hatta Kayak

My brother and I asking not to get photographed

My brother and I asking not to get photographed

While Hatta Hill park offers panoramic views of the mountainous city, there is also a Heritage Village, which has an antique collection of reconstructed traditional mountain dwellings. For those interested in larger road trips, further down is the gate to Muscat, Oman (make sure you have your passport with you in that case).

Want to know more about the culture in Dubai? Click here!

For a rad gallery of all my adventures, follow me on Instagram: @trotwitharushi

Until Next Saturday,

Arushi S.

*All pictures are original*


  1. Gajraj Singh Sachan says:

    Great write-up, your language is so good that the place you describe looks truly great n worth visiting. I do remember, it was a beautiful place with natural surrounding particularly during rainy season, when greenary is around.


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