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Soaring rockscapes, rugged canyons, winding pathways, and mesmerizing views of the Arabian Gulf – the Hajar Mountains are a breath-taking celebration of nature that makes hiking in Ras Al Khaimah genuinely unforgettable.
From 18 – 20 November, hikers at home and abroad have a unique opportunity to explore the secrets of the mountains with HIGHLANDER Ras Al Khaimah 2022. Taking place on the UAE’s longest developed hiking trail, the first adventure, HIGHLANDER55, is a 55km hike over three days (18 – 20 November 2022), while the HIGHLANDER Experience is a 30km two-day trek (19 – 20 November 2022). Both routes will offer exciting mental and physical challenges and the opportunity to take in the natural wonders of Ras Al Khaimah’s stunning mountain topography.
The second time the event has been held in the Emirate following the sell-out success of the first HIGHLANDER in November 2021, hikers will once again, in a backpacking fashion, carry everything they need to be self-sufficient and navigate through 100 kilometers of stunning hiking trails across Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest peak. Encompassing 14 kilometers of newly developed and more challenging trails, including the new HIGHLANDER trail, which stands as the longest developed hiking trail in the UAE, the route will take hikers through Wadi Ghalila, making their way through the iconic ‘Stairway to Heaven’ trail for the ultimate hiking experience. Designed to be more challenging than the original trails, the new routes are divided into two sections; the lower segment connects the top of Jebel Jais to the lower trails, through the popular ‘Hidden Oasis’ spot, while the upper segment connects the various Jebel Jais trails to extend the longer distance routes. In addition, with safety as paramount, there will be numerous HIGHLANDER checkpoints supported by marshals and medical first aid stations.
In line with Ras Al Khaimah’s vision to become a sustainable tourism leader, HIGHLANDER’s global ethos follows the principles of sustainable tourism through its zero-waste policy. Each adventure will feature a ‘Leave No Trace’ workshop as well as educational sessions on ecology and sustainability to highlight the importance of protecting the Emirate’s natural environment and taking home only memories and stunning photographs. These talks will reinforce the nature-driven aspect of hiking, drawing awareness and appreciation of hikers towards the diverse natural landscape and the need to preserve it, as well as the Emirate’s rich culture.
Raki Phillips, Chief Executive Officer of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “Ras Al Khaimah is well known as the nature Emirate, with its combination of sea, desert, and mountains. Drawing on this natural heritage, we’ve worked closely with the local community to preserve the surrounding ecosystem, resulting in some of the most developed hiking trails in the region. As leaders in global adventure, we welcome HIGHLANDER for the second year to revisit some of their favorite trails on Jebel Jais and discover new exploration paths.”
Fadi Hachicho, Managing Director of HIGHLANDER UAE and Founder of Adventurati Outdoor, said: “Last year’s HIGHLANDER event saw Ras Al Khaimah welcome 158 adventurers from the UAE and other European countries to explore the Emirate’s unique mountain ecosystem. I am so excited to host a second edition where, together with the Authority, we will immerse the HIGHLANDER community in the natural beauty of our Emirate, reinforce the wellbeing attributes of outdoor activities and show the importance of preserving nature for future generations.”