A desert oasis strategically designed along the Oman boarder surrounded by sharp, jagged mountains and scorching, dry heat is pretty hard to believe. Well, with a quick 128 kilometer drive (around 80 miles) from the center of the glamorous and booming city of Dubai such an idea exists.
Wadi Adventure is the Middle East's first man made whitewater rafting, kayaking and surfing facility located in the city of Al Ain, the birth-city to some of the United Arab Emirates most influential leaders.
I found Wadi Adventure through a video showing off this incredibly lavish looking experience in the middle of nowhere. With some quick research (thank you to my dear friends at google, I discovered a few things - other than the fact that it is in the middle of the desert) -
Wadi Adventure is home to a few of the "world's largest" for adventure enthusiasts including the longest man made white water channels (1.2km) along with the largest surf pool for advanced and beginners where surfers have the opportunity to choose their perfect break every time.
From small rolling waves to 3 meter lefts, rights, a-frames and closeouts it is the ideal location for carefree surfing - no sharks, no reefs and no swells. I knew I had to drag my family along to see this place before it got too discovered.
We arrived to Wadi Adventure around 11 in the morning, it was a breezy 90 degrees if I may add, and we must have been 4 of 10 people in the entire park. I thought to myself "I think I found Michael Jackson's theme park, Neverland..." It was a really relaxed and international crowd including a few die hard surf bums from France, Australia and Japan along with a lovely indian family who joined our group in our (not so little) white water rafting adventure.
The park facilities include everything from locker rooms, showers, a pool, restaurants, a juice bar, etc. For the water rafting I would suggest to bring shoes (I did not) as the bottom of the raging river is concrete - not natural sediment.
As you can see from the video and images below the water rafting is an absolute riot. Wadi Adventure provides all of the gear along with a wonderful and patient instructor to help -- as much as humanly possible -- families like my own frolic through the raging white waters that man has created to play in.
My dad got cut and bruised, and my mom was slightly frightened to say the least (sorry guys, but it was worth every penny).
cheat sheet: 1:50 adventure begins
END OF VIDEO BREAK -- TIME TO SURF.
... but first we lunch.
After a delicious arabic lunch of hummus and pita, my brother and I indulged in an hour of intermediate surfing to help cool off. The atmosphere is rather relaxing since 2 surfers can ride one wave at a time, one right & one left, while the others have a chat and wait their turn. It's a luxury to not worry about anything other than my bum cheeks getting a little rosy from the sun.
Overall? The perfect day trip from Dubai or Abu Dhabi along with an even better family affair. Well done, UAE, well done. If only we knew the cost to keep a place like this open... What do you think?
Speak soon ,