15 reasons why you need to get outside before the heat is on

It’s getting hot! But wait, summer’s not here just yet so there’s still time to make the most of the weather before the scorch arrives. Here’s how…

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We don’t mean to sound ominous, but whether you’re ready or not, summer is definitely coming.

But just before you go into hibernation mode with the air conditioning cranked
up to full, it’s time to make the most of  the beautiful weather and have one last hurrah outside.

From outdoor sports to family adventures, here are our top tips to enjoy Abu Dhabi before the heatwave hits…

Family fun

Take your pick

Want to teach your kids that veggies aren’t grown on a supermarket shelf? Enjoy a family day out and some homegrown organic goodness in one with a day picking your own fruit and veg at Al Rahba farm. Options and prices depend on the season, but expect things like peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes, all grown on local soil. Free to enter. Al Rahba Organic Farm, Street 15, off E11, Al Rahba. Open Saturdays from November to May, 6am–5pm. Visit: igruae.com

Park life

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Now’s the best time to take advantage of the capital’s parks, so grab the family and a blanket and lie back in the grass. With a train ride, splash park and library, Khalifa Park is
great for whiling away the hours with little ones in tow. Other great green spaces include Umm Al Emarat, Yas Gateway, Heritage and Corniche Parks. Prices and opening times vary.

Market price

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For some delicious treats, head to RIPE, held weekly at Umm Al Emarat Park. There’s organic fruit and veg, local crafts and tasty dishes to sample while you’re there. The market also hosts pop-ups around the city. Free but AED 5entry to park. Al Mushrif. Sat 3pm–10pm. Visit: ripeme.com

On safari

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Get up close and personal with flora and fauna with a nature safari on Sir Bani Yas Island. This rugged island is home to lots of wildlife, with cheetahs, giraffes, ostriches and Arabian oryxes among the creatures to discover. For some gentler beasts, saddle up for a horse ride around the island, with all levels catered for. Prices vary for horse riding, safari AED 500++ for adults, AED 330++ for children. Sir Bani Yas Island. Times vary. Visit: sirbaniyasisland.com

Outdoor types

Get pedalling

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The weather’s never better to take in Abu Dhabi’s scenery on two wheels.

For a picturesque ride, head to the Al Wathba Cycle Track, which takes keen cyclists on a long-distance route meandering through the desert dunes. The path features five different loops ranging from 8km to 30km, and for the best views, go at sunrise or sunset.

For a short haul closer to home, head to the iconic Yas Marina Circuit for free access to the track three nights a week. Don’t forget to register online first. Free. Yas Island. Sun, Tue and Wed (ladies only) 6pm–10pm. Visit: yasmarinacircuit.com

Come on in, the water’s fine

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For the adventurous of heart, head to Al Ain for white-knuckle action at Wadi Adventure. Try your hand at kayaking, white water rafting, surfing and wakeboarding or scale new heights at the air park. AED 50 entry for adults, AED 25 for kids. Supplement for activities. Off E95, Al Ain. Sun-Thu 11am–6pm, Fri-Sat 10am–7pm. Visit: wadiadventure.ae

Fancy a more sedate adventure? Grab a paddle for a moonlit kayaking tour through the mangroves with Noukhada. You’ll get a unique look at the local flora and fauna from an LED-lit kayak. AED 210. Contact: 02 558 1889, noukhada.ae

If you’re content to let someone else captain the vessel while you relax – and we don’t blame you – then board Belevari Marine’s island catamaran cruise. This two-hour tour takes you to a desert island for a day of relaxation, dolphin spotting and sailing. AED 349 for adults, AED 299 for children. Saturdays, times vary. Visit: belevari.com

Tee time

With some beautiful greens in the capital, it’s a great time to make the most of the weather for one last tee off. With views over the Gulf waters, Yas Links is a great spot to get in some good swings, and we also love Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Abu Dhabi Golf Club and Abu Dhabi City Golf Club. Little ones can even get in on the action with the Future Falcons golf programme, hosted at clubs across the city.

Dining out

Fire up the grill

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With warmer weather comes that unmistakable aroma of barbecue, and if you’re in the mood for a feast then head to the terrace at Nahaam in Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. Enjoy tasty burgers, grilled meats and a salad bar with a breezy view of the water. AED 165+++. Corniche West, opposite Emirates Palace. Sat 5pm-8pm. Contact: 02 811 5666, jumeirah.com

Catch a sunset

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There’s no doubt the capital loves a good sundowner, so grab a glass of something cool for a breezy evening on the terrace. Check out the creekside location of Barfly at the Venetian Village; Beach House at the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi; BOA Steakhouse on the Eastern Mangroves Promenade; Asia de Cuba at Nation Riviera Beach Club (pictured) or Pacifico Tiki at Al Muneera.

Cruise control

Cast away for dinner on the water with a dhow cruise. Set aboard a traditional local yacht, and feast on great food adrift on the Arabian sea while watching the skyline light up after dark. AED 200 for adults, AED 120 for children. Mina Zayed. 7.30pm–10pm. Visit: dhowcruiseabudhabi.ae

Dine and dive

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Don’t want to choose between brunch and a lazy day at the pool? You don’t have to because there are some great brunches with inclusive pool access to make the most of the weather before the heat hits. We love Las Brisas at Emirates Palace; Sofra bld at Shangri-La and the rooftop pool at Aloft Abu Dhabi.

Grand days out

Garden variety

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Take a trip up the E22 and explore the capital’s quieter little sister, Al Ain. Known as the Garden City for its lush greenery, it boasts some amazing landscape to explore. Take a stroll through the oasis – the UAE’s first UNESCO heritage site – then conquer Al Jahili Fort and cool your heels in the hot springs at Green Mubazzarah before heading up Jebel Hafeet to watch the sun set.

Don’t forget, there are a range of cultural activities going on outdoors as well. See the schedule at visitalain.ae

Lucky stars

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Before the haze hits, take advantage of the clearer skies for one last glimpse of the stars with a trip to Al Sadeem Observatory. This tiny celestial hub based in Al Wathba is the perfect place to take a look through the telescope to see the skies brought
to life. AED 75, prior booking required. Al Wathba. Daily from 6pm. Visit: facebook.com/alsadeemastronomy, alsadeemastronomy.ae

Action stations

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So you want something higher octane? Grab a gaggle of your best mates and get on the battlefield for a day of action paintballing at Wonderland Paintball. This outdoor arena features bunkers, trenches, bridges and huts for ultimate sniping. From AED 75. Al Rahba, behind Al Rahba Hospital. Contact: 02 564 3449, wonderlandpaintball.com

Into the desert

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If you want to get back to some Bedouin roots, now’s the perfect time to grab your tent and sleeping bag for a night on the dunes. If you’re not confident at finding your way, try a desert safari service for a fun experience – Desert Rose Tourism and Al Badeyah Eyes Tourism offer packages for adventure-seekers. And if you’re not a fan of roughing it, make a beeline for luxury desert resort Arabian Nights Village (pictured).

WORDS Camille Hogg
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