Jebel Hafeet

Top choice in Al Ain

This jagged 1240m-high limestone mountain rears out of the plain south of Al Ain. Its arid crags are home to red foxes, feral cats and the rock hyrax, which resembles a large rabbit but is, improbably, related to the elephant, as well as 5000-year-old single-chamber domed tombs, which are part of Al Ain's Unesco World Heritage sites. A 12km-long paved road – completely lit after dark – corkscrews to the Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet hotel and a couple of coffeehouses at the summit.

There are several pullouts to admire the views along the way. The virulently green slopes at the bottom of the mountain are fed by natural hot springs emanating from the mountainside. A small resort with a lake and giant fountain has grown up around the springs, with segregated bathing, camping and picnicking opportunities.

The top of Jebel Hafeet is about 30km from central Al Ain, including the 12km stretch of mountain road. From the town centre, head west on Khalifa Bin Zayed St towards the airport, then follow the brown signs.

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