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“Pic of the Week”, October 26, 2018: Jebel Hafeet

14 Trip up Jebel Hafeet (1)

Jebel Hafeet is a mountain near the desert city of Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates. It’s an impressive peak, rising 1,249 m (4,098 ft), and is easily accessible. While many credit Jebel Hafeet as being the tallest mountain in the UAE, that honor belongs to Jabal Jais at 1,925 m (6,316 ft). The mountain straddles the border of Oman, and views of that country are easily seen from the summit (although some what hazy because of blowing dust).

Jebel Hafeet has an extensive natural cave system which has only partially been explored to a depth of about 150 m.  The caves show nicely preserved stalagmites and stalactites, but they are not open to the public.  Marine fossils (plankton, coral, crabs) are found within the mountain.  Tombs dating as far back as 3200 BC are present near the base which contain important historic artefacts of Mesopotamia.  These caves are part of the reason UNESCO World Heritage site honor was bestowed on this region.

A steep winding road was completed up the mountain in 1980, rising to 1,200 m (3,900 ft).   The road is well constructed and offers wonderful views as it ascends the mountain.  The road ends at a parking lot. 

From the parking lot those willing to brave the wind and heat can take a trail to the top of the mountain.  Most just enjoy the views, then head down the mountain.  There is a hotel and a newly built royal palace near the summit as well.  

At the foot of the mountain is a hot springs which provides the water the oasis city of Al Ain is known for.  


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