“There is a very good reason why people enjoy both traveling and extreme activities,” says
Avery Hilland from TheGoodEstate. “Both are exciting and can produce adrenaline, a hormone responsible for increasing your heart rate and boosting energy level. As such, it is not surprising that many are choosing to combine the two.” What may come as a surprise to some, however, is the fact that the Middle East has its fair share of extreme activities. From scaling mountains to jumping off buildings, here are the best destinations in the region bound to get you in touch with your wilder side.
Skydiving, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
There is nothing quite like skydiving above Dubai’s skyline. Home to the 163-floor Burj Khalifa, as well as the tallest hotel and residential buildings in the world, Dubai is a truly unique location to tumble out a plane. The most popular drop zone in the area is the Palm Zone near Palm Jumeirah Island known for its upscale hotels, restaurants, and nightlife. Alternatively, you can drive 35 kilometers to a drop zone outside the city to soar above the country’s famous sand dunes.
Via Ferrata, Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Located in the Al Hajar range, around 150 kilometers from Muscat, the Jabal Akhdar via ferrata delivers heart-stopping adventure and spectacular mountain vistas. Translating to iron path in Italian, the via ferrata involves a combination of hiking and rock climbing, with thrill-seekers attaching themselves to steel cables with clips before traversing the mountainside. At 2,000 meters above sea level, this is the highest via ferrata in the Middle East.
Ziplining, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Purported to be the steepest, longest, and fastest zipline in the world, Xline Dubai Marina takes daredevils from the top of the Amwaj tower, set 170 meters above ground, and ends on the roof of the Dubai Marina Mall. The one-kilometer zipline takes riders over land and water (keep an eye out for the Cayan Tower and the Princess Tower) at an average speed of 80 kilometers per hour and a nerve-jerking incline of 16 degrees.
Canyoning, Wadi Mujib, Jordan
Test your nerves as you try canyoning at Wadi Mujib, a gorge set 400-meters below sea level and the lowest nature reserve in the world. Just east of the Dead Sea, Wadi Mujib offers hiking, repelling, abseiling, climbing, and even swimming (season permitting). Parts of the Wadi Mujib belong to the Mujib Biosphere Reserve, a 212-square-kilometer area that is home to unique wildlife including the Syrian wolf and the caracal mountain cat.
Kayaking, Abu Dhabi Mangroves, United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates has around 150 square kilometers of mangroves, which are home to sea snakes, turtles, and a number of fish species. Both natural and planted, the mangroves prevent erosion due to waves and ocean currents and reduce carbon emissions. Kayaking around the Abu Dhabi Mangroves is one of the best ways of experiencing these serene surroundings, as well as their flora and fauna. Unlike some of the other activities on this list, mangrove kayaking is also a great activity for the whole family.