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It’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s Superman! Fancy becoming a comic book hero? Well, get on over to Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in Ras Al Khaimah’s (the most northern Emirate), off the northern coast of Arabia.
Embarking on the world’s longest zip-wire flight of nearly three kilometres, you will need to prepare yourself for one heck of a whirl. Starting from a platform perched at 1,680m, the breath-taking ride takes you across a jaw-dropping 2.83km wide mountain gorge, at speeds of between 120-180kph.
Zoom like a human bullet vapour-trailing across the blue, straight towards the waiting bullseye of the space age suspension platform. The horizontal, ground-facing flying position makes it all the more fantastic as it offers sweeping views across the wild and rugged landscape. The astonishing views disappear beneath you into the deep desert abyss.
As you take off and accelerate over the cliff at the pace of a high-octane rodeo, the mountain road below soon takes on the shape, size and stature of a scalextrics set. It’s hard to focus, but as you gaze down on the valley, the feeling of flying is simply tremendous. Soaring in a dream-like state, I found my repetitive ‘wow, wow, wow’, soon turning into a cheek-flapping flutter, as the windspeed made even the broadest of smiles look like an out of control blancmange.
You’ll never again cover the distance of 28 football pitches in quite such style.
Although short in flying time, it is a great day out. The road up from the Strait of Hormuz, through the mountainous desert-scape is impressive, with horizon-stretching views which illustrate how tough an environment this area is. The slickly-cut mountain road finally takes you past the suspension platform, from where you descend on a sitting zip-wire to the land base below.
Costing Dhs450 (approximately £100), it’s easy to book online, or through a tour operator or local travel agent. Easily accessible by road from Dubai in under 2½ hours.
Expect a well-organised and friendly reception, with the provision of a mountain of zip-wire equipment including helmet, goggles, flying suit and more karabiners than you can shake a camel bag at.
Go for it. You’ll revel in the comic book character of it all. It is without doubt a super-human flight trajectory experience.
Photographs I took earlier this month – in chronological order (from top to bottom) – with video of two friends (Juliet Dennis – Travel Weekly Chief Reporter – and Kate Kenward – AITO Chief Executive – flying high:
Reception Center and kit hand out zone (with sound system banging out Queen’s “Another one bits the dust“)
Safety briefings and Launch Platform:
Sitting zip-wire down to finishing base:
Human bullets in action – Juliet Dennis (Travel Weekly Chief Reporter) – Kate Kenward (AITO Chief Executive).