Wet and wild – top 3 watersports in the UAE
I love being outdoors and doing something active with my free time, the only issue with this is the climate of the place I call home. Desert dwellers are not usually spoilt for choice when it comes to watersports, however this being Dubai, anything is possible!! I have tried many different watersports over the years, but for the purposes of this post, will limit them to my three favourites, all based here in the UAE (and not including my ultimate watersport – diving – that subject already has posts all of its own!)
1. White water rafting in Al Ain
The opening of Wadi Adventure in Al Ain had been much-anticipated, and did not disappoint. We went as a group of ten for my birthday just a few weeks after opening and had a fantastic day out. We started the day with a couple of hours of white water rafting – moving quickly from the beginners to the more advanced rapids. We took two rafts between us and spent the entire time laughing and squealing (even the guys had their moments!) The memories still make me laugh now! After a bite to eat and some time by the wave pool watching the surf school in action, we spent the afternoon in the air park, challenging ourselves with the two aerial obstacle courses, zip wire and 14 metre giant swing. The staff were amazing, the healthy and tasty food options were excellent and the activities were great fun – making it a top activity centre for the UAE.
2. Kayaking in the mangroves
I have kayaked in several places across the UAE – Khor Kalba in Fujairah on the East Coast with Absolute Adventure (Desert Rangers also offer a similar trip by canoe), the wildlife reserve of Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi as a tour with Anantara’s Desert Islands Resort & Spa, and in the Eastern Mangroves of Abu Dhabi with Noukhada Adventure Company as part of a full moon kayak trip. My favourite location was easily Khor Kalba as it was an incredibly calm and peaceful spot where you could see the fish and crabs in the water beneath and birds waded through the shallows between the ancient mangrove roots.
3. Wakeboarding in Dubai
A relatively new activity for me, I have been learning to wakeboard for several months intermittently but am finally getting the hang of it and understanding what all the fuss is about! Now that I am not permanently taking nosedives into the water and indulging in the painful salt water flush that accompanies each one, I am really enjoying it, especially as it’s one of the few watersports that can continue through the summer months (you don’t feel the 45 degree temperatures on the speedboat). My first few lessons were off the beach with the Habtoor Grand hotel watersports team, using vouchers from the Dubai Entertainer family coupon book, however the latest lesson, which took place in Dubai Marina through Bristol Water Sport Academy, definitely had the best results.