Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 29 September 2020

Glamping in Al Ain: New accommodation camp offers bubble pods and Bedouin tents in World Heritage Site

Located at the foot of Jebel Hafeet mountain, campers can pick from tent plots, Bedouin canvasses or glamping pods

A new camping and glamping site at the foot of Al Ain's Jebel Hafeet has opened in the UAE's first World Heritage Site.

The Jebel Hafit Desert Park campsite is set in the nine-kilometre park that surrounds the base of Al Ain's tallest mountain. It has four different levels of camping accommodation, meaning there's something for every kind of visitor.

Dedicated adventurers can book a plot at the site where they can pitch their own tents. Campers seeking a taste of Emirati culture can opt for a serviced stay in a Bedouin-style tent, while glampers can opt for the air-conditioned bubble or dome tents that come fully equipped and with amazing views of Jebel Hafeet.

The campsite is accepting bookings from now until May. It will close for the summer months and is expected to reopen in October this year.

Here's what to expect if you want to spend a night there:

Desert glamping

A dome tent at Jebel Hafit Desert Park campsite. Courtesy DCT Abu Dhabi
A dome tent at Jebel Hafit Desert Park campsite. Courtesy DCT Abu Dhabi

For a five-star stay in the heart of nature, the air-conditioned luxury dome tents have everything needed for a swanky weekend away with a stunning view of Al Ain's most famous mountain.

Far from getting back to basics, these tents come with all the amenities of a hotel room including a television, coffee table, wardrobe and in-room fridges that guests are welcome to fill with snacks and drinks. Room service is also available. An outdoor terrace and firepit make for a great stargazing spot and a telescope is provided for perusing the night sky. The eight dome tents each have fully equipped private bathrooms and showers with hairdryers and toiletries provided.

Dome tents sleep up to four people, check-in is from 2pm and rates start from Dh900

Room with a view

Each bubble tent comes with an outdoor terrace and a firepit. Courtesy DCT Abu Dhabi
Each bubble tent comes with an outdoor terrace and a firepit. Courtesy DCT Abu Dhabi

If having the best mountain view is high on your agenda, book one of the five bubble tents. Sleeping up to four people, these tents come with a canvas that has a fully transparent ceiling so that you can lie in bed and look up at the sky in all its glory. And when you get bored of the views inside, head outdoors where there's a small terrace and a firepit. Well-equipped for a glamping experience, the air conditioned tents have a minimalist vibe and come with fridges, hairdryers and bathroom amenities for the private bathroom and shower located just outside the tent.

Check-in is from 2pm and rates start from Dh700

Bedouin tents

Traditional tents at Jebel Hafit Desert Park campsite. Courtesy DCT Abu Dhabi
Traditional tents at Jebel Hafit Desert Park campsite. Courtesy DCT Abu Dhabi

There are nine traditional tents at this oasis camp, all designed to give visitors a glimpse into the Emirati way of life. Sleeping up to four people, the tents have shared toilets and everything you need for a comfortable stay. An in-tent cool bag is a good place to store food and drinks and room service is available. Torches, gloves, foldable chairs and tables and a stone firepit right outside your Bedouin tent mean you'll have everything you need once the sun goes down. And come morning, you can tuck into a traditional Emirati breakfast.

Check-in is from 3pm and rates start from Dh500

The campsite

Campers can also book bike-rides, horseriding, desert treks and more. Courtesy DCT Abu Dhabi
Campers can also book bike-rides, horseriding, desert treks and more. Courtesy DCT Abu Dhabi

There are three different plot sizes available at the campsite – the one you book depends on how big your tent is. Small plots are ideal for four-person tents, medium for six people and large plots are good for tents that sleep up to eight people.

You can start putting up your tent from 3.30pm and the campsite will give you a toolbox to help you do so. Bring your own food and drinks or head over to the food truck where you can buy a selection of bites. There's a communal area for eating, public toilets and firepits with stone seating areas to give you a traditional campfire experience.

Plot rates start from Dh100

Jebel Hafit Desert Park

A new camping and glamping site has opened at the base of Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain. (Sarah Dea / The National)
A new camping and glamping site has opened at the base of Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain. (Sarah Dea / The National)

The Unesco-recognised Jebel Hafit Desert Park has plenty of on-site activities to keep campers entertained. Additional activity packages can be booked at the same time as your accommodation. On offer are guided hiking trails that will take guests through the Jebel Hafit area, a place that's home to several archaeological and historical remains and unique wildlife.

Bikes are also available for rent with prices starting from Dh60. Horse-riding treks through the mountain and its surrounds can be booked on an hourly or half-hourly basis, with rates starting from Dh180.

Adrenalin seekers can book a 45-minute guided buggy ride complete with an expert driver from Dh50 while for those wanting a taste of tradition, camel rides are also available from Dh100 for a 30-minute trek.

Activities and accommodation can be booked online at jebelhafitdesertpark

Updated: February 4, 2020 11:57 AM

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