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Dubai - A pot pourri of Adventure



Dubai - A pot pourri of Adventure

Sporting and recreational facilities in Dubai are exceptional and major international sporting events are staged at various times of the year. As spectator or participant, you can indulge any or all of your sporting passions in the UAE. Languid days by the pool or beach can be interspersed with a huge range of sporting activities, including adventurous exploration of mountains and desert. Your travel agent or hotel can assist in purchasing tickets or planning an itinerary of activities. Alternatively, you can contact one of the tour providers based in the UAE. If you are feeling really fit, you can even run in the Dubai Marathon!

Described below in this article are five of the most popular adventure activities in Dubai. Read on and choose your kind of adventure.

Desert Safari

This off-road Arabian adventure takes you from the bustle of Dubai city to the desert of golden sand dunes. You will travel to the desert from your pick-up point in a luxury 4WD (Toyota Land Cruiser) and reach there in around 45 minutes. Next, the Arabian roller coaster ride known as dune bashing (desert driving) will begin, where you will shriek and laugh with excitement as the car goes up and down the dunes.

As the sun descends into the horizon, there is a stop to allow you to take sunset photographs, while standing on top of the fading desert dunes. You now head to the campsite where a convoy of camels awaits your arrival for short camel rides. After returning, you can purchase some souvenirs before relaxing on a majlis (low cushions) in traditional Bedouin tents. Enjoy an Arabian BBQ (barbeque/barbecue) buffet dinner beside a blazing bonfire with traditional cups of coffee and dates, underneath the pitch-black night sky. You can also get more dressed for the occasion by dressing in traditional Bedouin male or female garments, and also have Henna (temporary tattoo) decoration on your hands, legs and feet and smoke flavored sheesha (hubbly-bubbly/water pipe). Before you head back to Dubai, you will be entertained by the dancing of a belly dancer to traditional Arabic music, and you are welcome to join along.

Horse Riding

Horses and riding have been an integral part of the local tradition and is upheld today by several active riding centers including the Dubai Equestrian Centre (04 3361394), The Jebel Ali Equestrian Centre (04 8845566) and Jebel Ali Hotel Riding Stables. Rides through the desert are organized regularly. Dubai is also famous for its world famous and the richest Horse race known as the Dubai world cup.

As you might expect from a country enamoured with all things equine, recreational riding is well catered for in the UAE. Lessons suitable for all abilities are available and desert rides are popular for the more experienced. Most enthusiasts have their own equipment but you can usually purchase or hire a hat if necessary. Rates vary depending on your requirements.

Water Sports

With naturally clear water beaches and high temperatures all year round, Dubai is a centre for water sports par excellence, and is the perfect spot for any activity, from scuba diving to game fishing or any of the following pursuits: Wet 'n' wild water sports are what Dubai is all about! Whether you're a family who longs for an action packed day of family-fun in the sea, or a speed demon who wants to blast away the cooler months on the back of a jet ski, Dubai can entice you with water sports experience that will certainly wet the appetite of those special people in your life.

Dubai International Marine Club (Tel: 9714-3994111) is a spectacular beach resort. The club offers a large Variety of seaports, including windsurfing, sailing, fishing, scuba diving and Beach Olympics for incentive and corporate groups, as well as a magnificent pool and private Beach front. The DIMC also hosts a number of racing events for vessels ranging from Traditional dhows to modern yachts and is the home base for the Victory powerboat Team.

The Arabian Gulf offers a wide range of water sports opportunities. Jet-skiing is available at many of the beach hotels for around Dh100 per half hour, water-skiing is also available, and scuba diving can be organised with Al-Boom Diving, Al-Wasl Road (tel: 04 342 2993), or Scuba International , Diving Village, Shindagha (tel: 04 393 7557).

Swimming

With pristine beaches and landscaped swimming pools in every hotel, with water chilled in summer, swimming is an all-year-round pastime in Dubai. The four-hectare (12-acre) Wild Wadi Waterpark is part of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel complex, Al-Jumeriah Road (tel: 04 348 4444). This is a paradise for adults and children alike, with a thrilling array of 24 interconnected water rides, including the terrifying 'Jumeirah Sceirah' which hurtles the brave at speeds of up to 80kph (50mph). Reduced rate 'Sundowner' admission is available after 1600 hrs. Most hotel pools are open to the public for a day rate.

Sailing

For a truly wonderful experience you can watch traditional sailing dhows, graceful craft from an earlier age when great wooden trading dhows plied the Indian Ocean, or traditional longboats powered by up to 100 oarsmen, race off the Abu Dhabi Corniche and other venues throughout the Emirates. These events usually coincide with one of the local festivals, especially National Day (2 December). Races for toppers, lasers, catamarans, cruisers are also held every weekend at Jebel Ali Sailing Club, Mina Seyahi, Dubai (04 3995444). Situated close to Mina Seyahi harbour, this club has an active programme of marine activities, including kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, power boating, snorkeling and diving, as well as many land-based activities such as hiking, archery, overnight camping and climbing.

Golf

Thanks to advanced irrigation techniques, Dubai boasts a wide range of world class golf courses, featuring excellent facilities. The UAE is blessed with more than a dozen golf courses; three challenging PGA championship golf courses and five additional courses which are open to visitors. Six of the golf courses have lush fairways and exquisitely manicured greens.

Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, Al-Garhoud Road (tel: 04 295 6000), is currently host to the Dubai Desert PGA Classic and welcomes guests on a pay-and-play basis. Green fees are from Dh 370.

The Montgomerie, Emirates Hills, off Sheikh Zayed Road (tel: 04 399 9955, website: www.themontgomerie.com), designed by renowned Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie, opened in 2002 and charges Dh 550 per round. Non members are welcome.

Robert Trent Jones II has designed a new course at Dubai Festival City, and South African golfer Ernie Els is designing a course for the upcoming Dubai Sports City. It is important for golfing visitors to note that all golf courses in Dubai are spike-free.

Ice-skating

In a country where the sun always shines you can enjoy an activity that is more typical of colder climates but bring along a sweater! Dubai has two ice rinks located at Al Nasr Leisureland and the Hyatt Regency Galleria which are open all year round. In the newly opened Mall of Emirates, is the world's third-largest indoor ski slope, measuring 400 meters and using 6,000 tonnes of snow.

The Dubai Sunny Mountain Skidome is planned to open in 2006, featuring a revolving ski slope, an artificial mountain range, an ice bridge, a cable lift, a snow maze, an ice slide, polar bears, cold-water aquaria and special sound and light effects. Skates may be hired and timetables should be consulted. The rinks are closed to the public during special instruction periods.


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