14 Abu Dhabi Adventures you need to experience
While many travellers enjoy holidays spent on sun loungers, there are a ton of individuals and families who crave an adrenaline rush of the adventurous kind. Starting from the desert, through the city and into some of the best entertainment hubs, Abu Dhabi is overflowing with thrill-filled pit stops for all ages, personalities and moods. Go on an Abu Dhabi adventure by scrolling through this hand-picked list of ultimate fun.
1. Dune Bashing
With an expansive desert landscape, it’s not difficult to find tour operators who can give you a fun experience of dune bashing. Hop into a sturdy 4x4 and watch as your trusted driver seamlessly navigates through the curves and drops of the dunes. You can also take advantage of various dune bashing packages available when you check into any of the serene desert resorts, such as Tilal Liwa.
2. Off-Road Desert Driving
Taking the wheel in your hand has its rush, especially when you swap the road for dunes. To make the most of the exhilarating desert adventures Abu Dhabi has to offer, take your pick between the 6 off-road desert driving routes while using your car. Through the journey, you will pass by abandoned vehicles, remote campsites, some of the highest dunes and camels! These self-drive trails are meant for adventure-seekers who are looking for a blend of dune bashing and exploration, but if you are a complete newbie and just want to experience something different, then tag along with a larger group.
3. Al Ain Safari
One for the album, Al Ain Safari is a must-see attraction when you are staying in or visiting Abu Dhabi. Home to the most incredible African animals, spend a day observing and learning about these majestic creatures while being accompanied by a knowledgeable Emirati guide. The safari experience is ideal for all ages and gives you the option to ride in a 22-seater truck or book a private tour while using your car. How about tucking into dinner by the lions' den? That’s a possibility too!
4. Falcon and Saluki Show
Dating back decades ago, Arabian Saluki dogs were used primarily for hunting - but they didn’t work alone. Teaming up with the fierce falcons of the desert, the birds would swoop down on their prey and the speedy Saluki's would capture it. Taking place twice daily at the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, make sure to catch this wondrous display of speed, loyalty and acumen at the Falcon and Saluki show.
5. Jebel Hafit
From skyscrapers to mountain tops, Abu Dhabi doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sights. Serving up the most stunning views, be it at sunset or sunrise, the beautiful Jebel Hafit mountain (or Jebel Hafeet) in Al Ain is a popular spot for hikers, long weekend drives and Instagrammable shots. If you can’t get enough of the mountain air, you can reserve a 5-star bubble tent and spend the night under the stars.
If you are a water baby, then Abu Dhabi’s waves have plenty to offer you. Try your hand at wakeboarding, a cool way to surf while being towed by a motorboat. One way to give it a shot is by visiting the Al Forsan International Sports Resort where an overhead cable will pull you across the water. You could also pop over at any of the watersport centres that offer wakeboarding facilities and learn a new skill on holiday.
7. Snorkelling and Diving
Not many people realise that the city of Abu Dhabi is made up of hundreds of islands, making it a prime spot for snorkelling and diving. From wrecks to deep dives, you don’t have to be a pro to see the sea; there are many PADI-certified courses available with Sea Hawk Water Sports and Adventures in Abu Dhabi that you can take advantage of. Ease your nerves and explore the captivating underwater world.
A unique way to start your day is by kayaking through Abu Dhabi’s lush mangrove forests. While on the water, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the local wildlife that may be casually lounging around. Reach out to any of the city-based tours such as The Desert Islands Watersports Centre to book a kayaking expedition. Whether you are on a romantic date or enjoying a family outing, kayaking is a sure way to create memorable moments with your loved ones.
9. Sea Safari Cruises
Explore Abu Dhabi’s glorious seaside with the help of Sea Safari Cruises. Giving you seamless access to fishing trips, sea excursions and yacht charters, you can enjoy a fun day out with the whole crew without having to worry about the details. Activities include watching the sun set into the sea, sailing up close to the corniche, cooking up a BBQ feast by the beach or hopping between different islands.
10. Yas Waterworld
Slide, drop, splash and chill! This is pretty much how your day will go when you are hanging out at the exciting and massive Yas Waterworld. You can go from ride to ride the entire day at this family-friendly waterpark designed for all ages. With the most dare-defying attractions that take your breath away to carefree poolside lounging, a day at Yas Waterworld is worth every moment (and fils).
Theme park adventure
11. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Speed through the day most unconventionally on the ‘World’s Fastest Roller Coaster’. Located in the heart of Yas Island, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is known for its monster roller coaster that can go up to 240 km/h and travel 52 metres upward in just 4.9 seconds. Sound thrilling? You have to ride it to believe it!
There are 40 other attractions too that will induce palpitations of the good kind but if you are more of an onlooker, check out the shopping facilities and dining venues sprinkled across the theme park.
12. Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
The fun world of Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi is worth a visit, especially when you have grown up watching these animated characters. With 29 rides and attractions to try, gear up for action, adventure and excitement all in a day. Divided into 6 different lands, you could be in the Flintstones’ Bedrock at one moment and in Gotham City the next.
Skydive and rock climb indoors? When in Abu Dhabi, anything is possible! If shopping at the extensive Yas Mall isn’t compelling enough, get your adrenaline fix at CLYMB Abu Dhabi. Get blown into the air - literally - at the world’s biggest indoor skydiving flight chamber that teaches you how to balance. From 3-year-olds to professional skydivers, these chambers are open to everyone. If you prefer staying closer to the ground (sort of), then check out the region’s tallest climbing wall - the SUMMYT™. At a whopping 138 feet tall, you could easily burn between 500 - 900 calories just ascending and descending this wall.
14. Jebel Hafit Desert Park
In the garden city of Al Ain and at the base of Jebel Hafit mountain is the timeless destination of Jebel Hafit Desert Park - a haven for adventurers, explorers, trekkers, and venturers. If you love the euphoria of an outdoor adventure, stay overnight between the mountainscape with three styles of camping options: basic, fully-serviced or glamping. Not only will the expansive desert landscape fill you with awe, but coming across archaeological remains from 8,000 years ago is a true source of wonder. That’s why in 2011 UNESCO recognised the Jebel Hafit Desert Park area as being a vital component of the World Heritage Site of Al Ain, the UAE’s first World Heritage Site.