• Tom Bushell

Kayaking // How to get the best from Hatta Kayak including unlimited time on rentals // UAE

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

A big body of water is not what you often expect in the middle of the fifth largest desert in the world, but Hatta Kayak is different…

  • Brilliant adventure in the UAE mountains

  • The Arabian Desert is the fifth largest desert in the world

  • Value for money with unlimited kayak hire available

  • Go early to get the lake to yourself

  • Opening hours 7am - 9pm

  • Hatta formally belonged to Oman until it changed hands to the UAE

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Welcome to Hatta Kayak. Now, you may well be thinking to yourself, ‘how do you kayak in Hatta? A United Arab Emirates mountain town which sits in the middle of the world’s fifth largest desert. Asia's biggest desert. I can't imagine there are huge bodies of water to go kayaking in? Unless you’re kayaking on sand, I’m confused.’

I understand your confusion; the words desert and kayaking don’t often appear in the same sentence. But that all changes when you visit Hatta in the UAE, a town that sits on the border with Oman.


Hatta Kayak is a hugely popular tourist destination for UAE residents and tourists alike but if you get there early then you’ll often have the lake to your self.


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Hatta Kayak is all possible thanks to the Hatta Dam, which was built in the mid-nineties to generate power for the local Hatta area and the subsequent reservoir now provides a great escape from rolling sand dunes.


The history of Hatta


Hatta is about 130km away from the city of Dubai and is a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life found in the likes of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.


The town sits in a tiny exclave in the emirate of Dubai that is bordered with Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman and Oman to the south.


RELATED ARTICLE: WATCH - 5 must-do amazing adventures to do at Hatta Wadi Hub


Hatta actually used to be in neighbouring Oman, but the sultan of Oman at the time, Turki bin Said transferred the territory to Dubai around 1850 when the Omanis realised they could not protect it from Buraimi tribes who had settled near by.


Since it’s been with UAE territory, it has become a popular destination for Dubai residents during the summer months for its slightly cooler temperatures as it sits around 1000m above sea level.


Once a sleepy mountain town, with only one hotel – the Jebel Fort Hotel, it is now an adventure playground with endless activities to enjoy amongst stunning natural scenery, history and discoveries. UAE residents and tourists now flock to Hatta to enjoy thrill-seeking adventures.


RELATED ARTICLE: WATCH - Exploring Hatta on horseback


There is now even more in the way of accommodation options for those wishing to spend a few days nestled into the Hajar Mountains and extend the adventure beyond one day.


To continue the adventure feeling overnight options such as Sedr Trailers Resort, Damani Lodges Resort, or Hatta Camping are my tips.


Not only is Hatta Kayak a must-do, but mountain biking, as I tried out recently - check the link below - and also hiking and even zorbing are all available to do from Hatta's Wadi Hub. .


RELATED ARTICLE: WATCH - How to explore Hatta whilst mountain biking


How to kayak in Hatta


To kayak in Hatta, it’s very simple. You’ll park underneath the Hatta Dam in a car park that is large and has toilet facilities – don’t worry, there is no chance of an overflow and the car park being washed away. You can find directions below.


You’ll then walk up a long roadside staircase to reach the water level and on your right you’ll find the Hatta Kayak kiosk. You can pay by cash or card.


Hatta Kayak is open daily from 7am until 9pm.


How much does Hatta Kayak cost?


  • Single kayak’s cost just AED 60 for unlimited time.

  • Double kayaks cost AED 120 for unlimited time.

  • Single water bike's cost AED 60 for unlimited time.

  • Double water bike's cost AED 120 for unlimited time.

  • Triple water bike's cost AED 180 for unlimited time.

  • A yellow boat that seats a family of four is AED 150 for one hour.


Once you have paid for you kayak, or one of the other water activates on offer you’ll walk down the ramp towards the pontoon. Here you’ll be given lifejackets and there are some lockers to take advantage of.


You will then be directed to the water's edge where you will board your vessel!


Explore Hatta Kayak


The lake is around 30m deep at its deepest and 1.5km long. The Hatta Dam will be on the left as you set off but there are loads of areas to venture off to and the surrounding mountains cascade down to the water’s edge meaning you can get right up close to the base of the mountains.


For the best weather, go in the cooler winter months. You are not allowed to get out of the kayak to swim in the reservoir so in the summer, it could prove to be a little frustrating.


All in all, Hatta Kayak is a wonderful change from life in Dubai, whether you live in the city or on in the UAE on holiday. Either way, a day trip to Hatta is well worth it. Hatta Wadi Hub is an adventurer's playground with heaps of activities to do and after a morning kayak you can head to Wadi Hub to tackle another adventure such as mountain biking through the Hatta Mountains or explore Hatta on horseback - both of which I highly recommend!


Extra Tips:

  • Have a morning kayak and head to Jebel Fort Hotel for lunch afterwards.

  • Try out more adventures at Wadi Hub in the afternoon.

  • Take a camera for brilliant pictures from within the kayak and looking down to the water from the top of the Dam.

  • For Hatta Kayak enquiries call: +971 (0) 56 616 2111


How to get to Hatta Kayak:

  • *Hatta Kayak is available on Google Maps

  • Take the E44 out of Dubai towards Hatta.

  • Turn onto the E611 heading towards Sharjah.

  • Turn onto the E102 heading towards Kalba/Eastern Region

  • Turn right towards Hatta at the junction after the Swowka junction. This road is currently being constructed so doesn’t have a name yet (but it is open) and expect some delays if you get stuck behind a slow truck.

  • At the roundabout turn back onto the E44 and follow signs towards Hatta.

  • At the main Hatta roundabout take the first exit.

  • At the roundabout take the first exit.

  • Turn left at the next roundabout next to the Emirates NBD branch.

  • After the Hatta Grand Mosque turn right.

  • At the top of the road turn left.

+You can no longer drive the E44 all the way through from Dubai as the Oman stretch is now restricted to cargo traffic.


Covid-19:

Face masks must be worn in all public areas. If you are on a single kayak, you can remove your mask, but keep it near by incase you come close to other members of the public on your water.


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