Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road is a cool drive in the desert

Located on the outskirts of Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jabal Hafeet Mountain Road is one of the greatest driving roads in the world.

Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road

Where is the Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road?

The road is located on the western side of Tuwwam region of the UAE, on the outskirts of Al Ain, near the border with Oman.

How long is Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road?

The road is totally paved and the surface is really smooth. It’s 10.7 km (6.64 miles) long, starting at Al Ain, an inland oasis city. 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. The road is very steep, hitting an 11% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The elevation gain is 771 meters. The average gradient is 7.20%. The road climbs up to Jebel Hafeet Mountain, the second-tallest mountain in the United Arab Emirates. at an elevation of 1.219m (4,000ft) above the sea level. The road is a challenge for cyclists who frequently come over to train.

How many turns has the Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road?

The road boasts 60 corners (ranging from tight hairpins to fast sweepers) and three lanes (two lanes in the upwards direction and one coming down.). 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 road winds through the craggy limestone making up the mountain until it reaches the summit. A contender for motoring journalists’ ‘greatest driving road in the world’, it measures just 6.6 miles and climbs 4,000ft in its ascent, finishing in a hotel car park across the way from the ruler’s palaces. 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.

When was Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road built?

The road was built in 1980 by Strabag International of Cologne, Germany. 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.

Is Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road worth it?

The drive offers scenic views. It has many places where you can stop and take pictures. Along the way you’ll feel like driving in another planet, with the dramatic Arabian landscapes seen in their finest. The views, once you reach the top of the sandstone mountain, are well worth the journey.

When is the best time to drive the Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road?

Plan about 20 minutes to complete the drive. The climate of the area is typical of the desert environment (warm or hot). It can be pretty chilly on the top plateau but it is best to avoid driving in the road in the height of summer. March to September might be the hottest. Try to take this drive in late afternoon so you can catch the sunset from the top of the mountain. The road scales the mountain and ends at a parking lot with only a hotel and a palace belonging to the country's rulers. On top of the mountain, there is a radar station, a hotel and a palace belonging to the country's rulers.
Pic: Lloyd De Jongh