Facing Fears in RAK

If you’ve lived in Dubai for more than a year then it’s likely you’ve driven outside the emirate to one of the many neighbouring options. Ras Al Khaima also known as RAK is around an hour and a half drive just outside Dubai, depending on which area you are coming from. It makes a weekend stay-cation in the UAE easily accessible with plenty of affordable hotel options to stay in.

RAK is surrounded by a rugged mountain range which you can hike, climb and now even zip line down. As my friend likes to get adventurous for her birthday celebrations, the latter is what she organised for a Saturday in January although we were under the impression it was more of a hike.

Little did we realise we would be wearing a harness and helmets and be mountaineering, scaling and climbing up and down Jebel Jais; the UAE’s largest mountain, with the highest point reaching 120 metres. Fine if you love heights. Not so fine if you are petrified of heights like me.

Luckily the team at Jebel Jais made us feel very safe. A team of 4 professional climbers with heavily experienced backgrounds were there to help us along the way. After signing a waiver, the safety brief shows you how to clip your carabiners then we are on our way to start the 4 hour journey.

The first part of the climb is challenging to say the least. At one point I’m that scared anxiety takes over and I have a mini melt down/panic attack and I start crying and hyperventilating. My body whole body is shaking from nervousness and I consider backing out of the rest of the journey. My friend and one of the tour guides help me to calm down and advises me to take some deep breaths so I can try to relax. My friend even suggests that I put some music on my phone, so I switch on some hip hop and rap music on Spotify so I can calm down and focus on the task ahead.

We finally reach the first zip line and although I’m hesitant, it’s the part I like the most. Mostly because I’ve done a few zip lines before and I actually find them quite fun.

As we move around the cliff side, the support and encouragement from everyone is overwhelming. We were all working as a team and helping others in front or behind of us.

By the time we reach the second zip line most of us find it to be a breeze as we know what to expect and more importantly we know how safe we are. So most of us are letting go of the ropes and lettings our hands fly through the air. Watch the zip lining vid here.

The last challenge is scaling down a mountain front. Unable to see where your next step will be I was thankful to be first in line with an instructor in front of me to reassure me and help to keep me calm as we edge our way down the mountain front to the final zip line.

The last zip lines spans over 300m and down below you can see the winding road. Some cars have pulled over to watch and cheer us on. That feeling you get as you are released is so carefree; as well as a mixture of thrill and excitement. As you fly through the air you simply cannot stop smiling.

After everyone’s completed the final zip line we start our small descend to where we started. Everyone is on a high. The greatest sense of achievement comes over us as to what we’ve all just completed and this day will definitely go down in the memory bank for years to come.

On that note, I can’t recommend this trip enough to the fit and able. Even if you are a little scared like I was. If I can do it, you can too!

If you’re looking for more information or wanting to book yourself then click on the link below.

Jebel Jais Via Ferrata.

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