The Jabal Hafeet Mountain Road is one of the greatest driving roads in the world. Located on the outskirts of Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the road extends for 7.3 mi (11.7 km) up the mountain, rising at an elevation of 4,000 ft (1,219 m) above the sea level. Thanks to the two lanes going up the mountain, you can take the 60 bends as fast or slow as you like, enjoying views of the desert.
The Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road boasts 60 corners and three lanes (two climbing and one descending), the road still remains an adrenaline-pumping journey. The road leads to Jebel Hafeet Mountain, the second-tallest mountain in the United Arab Emirates. The road winds through the craggy limestone making up the mountain until it reaches the summit. Try to take this drive in late afternoon so you can catch the sunset from the top of the mountain. A quick glance at the map, at its sheer drops and serpentine twists and turns, confirms that this is no hype. A contender for motoring journalists’ ‘greatest driving road in the world’, it measures just 7.3 miles and climbs 4,000ft in its ascent, finishing in a hotel car park across the way from the ruler’s palaces.
There are sheer drops virtually along the entire route and enough hairpins to make a whirling dervish dizzy. A quick glance at the map at its sheer drops and serpentine twists and turns, confirms that this is no hype. Built so that rich residents can get their kicks in their million-dollar toy cars, this road doesn’t take you anywhere -- except to a private palace and an exclusive hotel. Carved into the desert, the road is worth the journey up and back for the smooth surfaces and 60 race-track-worthy corners that snake around the Hafeet mountain. “This is a cracking stretch of road for driving enthusiasts,” explains Phill Tromans from Evo magazine. “There’s a fast section and slow sections, it’s just perfect for technical driving.”
The road scales the mountain and ends at a parking lot with only a hotel and a palace belonging to the country's rulers. Some vehicles drive very fast, and the main risk on this road is coming around a blind corner to discover a vehicle proceeding toward you at high speed. So, use caution and enjoy the magnificent scenery. The road was built by Strabag International of Cologne, Germany. The road is a challenge for cyclists who frequently come over to train. The road climbs up the 8% average ascent of the mountain. On top of the mountain, there is a radar station and a hotel.
The majestic journey up the rocky pass, the second highest peak in the country, is said to be one of the world’s best drivings. There are two lanes in the upwards direction and one coming down. It boasts 60 corners ranging from tight hairpins to fast sweepers. The surface is really smooth. The views, once you reach the top of the sandstone mountain, are well worth the journey. The road is a mixture of fast straights and sweeping curves that merge perfectly from one to another forming this amazing driving road in the middle of the desert.
Pic: Lloyd De Jongh