Last week I visited Hatta for the first time. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Hatta, it is a village south east of Dubai, approximately an hour and a half away from the city center. The small town is at the foot of Hajar mountains and has something to offer to everyone. Keep reading for proof!
I woke up really early and got ready but as usual was still running late, I quickly gulped down an americano at the Zabeel House by Jumeirah and a not so healthy breakfast. The barista at 42 Midtown was kind enough to hand me another to-go americano (Yes, I am addicted to coffee and donuts)
The journey to Hatta was just an hour and a half and thankfully the traffic wasn’t so bad. Very soon I got to see the Hajar mountains, slightly darker and distinct than the mountains in Pakistan. My first stop was the Hatta Honeybee Garden and Discovery Center. Although appearing underwhelming from the outside, it made me believe in never judging a book by its cover once again. Upon entering the center and sorting out the entrance requirements, I was made to watch a safety tutorial which gives out basic information and an overview of the upcoming experience. Soon after, I was handed the Beekeeper’s suit by the guide and he helped me get into it.
Once our group was ready we were taken outside to the garden and the tour started with an introduction of all the trees and flowers native to the UAE and that are able to survive the hot climate. Some of them were the Ghaf tree, Sidr tree and some beautiful blooming wildflowers. Then we were introduced to the different types of bee hives and their distinct functions. The next part of the tour was the most exciting part, where one gets to be up close with the bees. Some people were hesitant but we quickly learnt that not all bees are stingers and they only sting if they sense danger.
The tour guide burnt some paper and moved it close to the beehive and the bees sensed the smoke and started collecting the honey and got busy. We then examined the bees closely and identified the queen bee while being blown away with all the information being given to us. There were lots of questions we all had and they were answered in a lot of detail. We also got to hold the hive and take a picture!
The last part of the tour was honey tasting, where we got to taste all the honey they produce in Hatta, my favorite one was Ghaf honey – the right amount of sweetness and smoothness!
Our next stop was Hatta Lake, just a couple of minutes from Hatta Honeybee Garden and Discovery Center. With mesmerizing turquoise water and chilly wind, it was everything one needed to relax and process the overload of honeybee information! At the lake, one could get a Kayak, a paddle boat or a canoe. We chose an electric donut boat, which seats four people and takes minimum effort to manure it around with an electric staring stick, because we were lazy and wanted some shade. The ride was really relaxing and fun and the best part (not so best) our boat ran out of battery and we had to be rescued by the speed boat. They ensure everyone’s safety thoroughly and the cutest part is that they have life jackets for pets as well!
After soaking in some sun and the cool breeze of the mountains, I was starving. Although there are some snack vendors right next to the lake, our group chose to eat at the Alhajarain Restaurant. Located another 5 minutes away, Alhajarain offers both indoor and outdoor seating. We chose to sit outside. We ordered Hummus (a must at any middle eastern restaurant), Chicken Makboos, Arabic Mix Grill and Lamb Chops. I couldn’t resist but order the Daal Makhani with Butter Naan (you can judge me). The food was well cooked, I found the Makboos to be very different than Biryani, which I had in mind while ordering. I ended the meal with another hot cup of an americano and a few scrumptious bites of their strawberry cheesecake.
After eating so much we all felt really full and I wasn’t looking forward to our next destination: Hatta Wadi Hub, however once we got there, the bustling energy changed my mood. There is something for everyone there, it was pretty full for a weekday with adults, kids and families mostly. I opted to try my luck at Archery and Axe throwing, quickly realizing attacking is not my strongest pursuit. While my other two friends tried zip lining for the first time. The staff was really sweet and encouraging and didn’t make me feel bad about being so bad with the aim! I would strongly recommend visiting during the evening instead of the afternoon so get the best weather.
Once we were exhausted, we made our way back to Dubai and I napped all the way back in the car, rejuvenating myself for the very exciting dinner!