Fresh-air fiends escaping the car-exhaust-clogged Dubai streets and sticky humidity of the coast have long made a beeline to this enclave of Dubai emirate on weekends. Scattered with palm trees and cradled by the jagged contours of the Hajar peaks, Hatta is a chilled-out mountain retreat within easy reach of the city. Kayaking on the highly photogenic green-blue waters of the Hatta dam is the main attraction for visitors, though a recently opened series of interconnected mountain-bike trails in the surrounding hills is fast gaining in popularity.
Big plans are afoot to tap into Hatta's tourism potential with the creation of the Wadi Adventure Hub area, just east of town, which promises zip lines, a climbing wall and various other adrenaline-fuelled pursuits. Whether the development is built to harmonise with the majestic mountain environment or ends up having a jarring theme-park quality remains to be seen.