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Al Ain, the oasis town

By Ethan Hews

Pick up your Luxury Minivan in Abu Dhabi and set off for a scenic drive through the sandy desert to the oasis town of Al Ain. The trip will take about an hour and a half and will be a delight in our air conditioned, fully equipped van.

Head east towards this ancient settlement which is a Unesco World Heritage site.

As you approach, you will see the stunning Mount Jebel Hafeet, the second tallest mountain in the UAE, at 1350m. The mountain is surrounded by flat plains on three sides. Drive up to the top around the hairpin turns and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views.

Then visit the Al Ain oasis made up of 1000's of date palm trees. It offers cool, shady walkways and a 3000 year old falaj irrigation system. Enjoy the relaxing vibe and then visit the famous Camel Souk, attracting breeders and buyers from all over the UAE, where bartering takes place in a fun noisy fashion.

Settle down for lunch at Makani, translating into ‘my place’ in Arabic. Enjoy the palms and comfortable rattan-style furniture while a traditional Arabic speciality is prepared at your table.

After lunch take the family to the Zoo and Safari Park. It is home to over 4000 animals and the kids can feed the giraffe and ride on a camel.

History boffs must see the Al Ain Museum and Fort. This fort was built to protect the oasis from raiders and was used as the headquarters for Sheikh Zayed. Wander through the interesting museum that recreates the way people of the region lived in ancient times.

Back in your Luxury Van, head off across the sandy dunes and return to Abu Dhabi.

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