Jebel Hafeet

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Jebel Hafeet
Jabal hafeet shahin.jpg
Highest point
Elevation1,249 m (4,098 ft)
Coordinates24°03′31″N 55°46′39″E / 24.05861°N 55.77750°E / 24.05861; 55.77750Coordinates: 24°03′31″N 55°46′39″E / 24.05861°N 55.77750°E / 24.05861; 55.77750
Native nameArabic: جَبَل حَفِيْت‎, translit. Jabal Ḥafīt  (Arabic)
Jebel Hafeet is located in United Arab Emirates
Jebel Hafeet
Jebel Hafeet
United Arab Emirates
Countries Oman and  United Arab Emirates[3][4]
Parent rangeAl Hajar Mountains (sensu lato)[1][2]

Jabal Hafeet[5] (Arabic: جَبَل حَفِيْت‎, translit. Jabal Ḥafīt, "Mount Hafeet"; variously transcribed Jabal, Jabel or Jebal and Hafit or Hafeet – literally "empty mountain") is a mountain in the region of Tawam, on the border of the United Arab Emirates and Oman, which may be considered an outlier of Al Hajar Mountains[1][6] in Eastern Arabia. Due to its proximity to the main Hajar range, the mountain may be considered as being part of the Hajar range, sensu lato. Nearby is the UAE city of Al Ain, in the Eastern Region of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and the adjacent Omani town of Al-Buraimi.[2]

The sole mountain in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi,[6] it has given its name to a period in UAE history, the Bronze Age (3200 to 2600 BCE) Hafit Period, because of the discovery of a cluster of important Bronze Age beehive tombs at its foothills.[7]


The Climate of Jebel Hafeet is Desert weather (Warm and Hot).[8] On Average there is 77mm of rain fall in a year. According to Köppen and Geiger, this climate is classified as BWh.[9] The temperature vary in different months on average but remain relatively cool in the months of October to March where it remains below 25 °C (77 °F). In other months it remains more than 25 °C. The average temperature is 27.1°C. Flow table show the average temperature of 1 year monthly.[8][9]

Scope Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg.  (°C) 20 20.9 23.8 27.8 31.8 33.3 32.2 31.1 30.1 28.3 24.5 21.9
Min.  (°C) 14 15.2 18 21.1 25 26.7 26.4 25.5 23.8 21.5 17.8 15.9
Max.  (°C) 26.1 26.6 29.7 34.6 38.7 40 38 36.7 36.5 35.1 31.3 27.9
Avg.  (°F) 68 69.6 74.8 82 89.2 91.9 90 88 86.2 82.9 76.1 71.4
Min.  (°F) 57.2 59.4 64.4 70 77 80.1 79.5 77.9 74.8 70.7 64 60.6
Max.  (°F) 79 79.9 85.5 94.3 101.7 104 100.4 98.1 97.7 95.2 88.3 82.2
Rainfall (mm) 9 36 11 4 0 1 0 2 1 0 7 6

Orography and geology[edit]

Aerial picture of Jebel Hafeet from the east

A limestone-marl mountain, Jebel Hafeet is about 26 km (16 mi) long and 4–5 km (2.5–3.1 mi) wide, extending from north to south. The range is asymmetric, and the eastern part is much steeper (25 to 40 degrees) than the western side. Dwarfed by Jabal Yibir and Jebel Jais of the Ru'us al-Jibal near Ras Al Khaimah in the north, both of which measure over 1,500 m (4,900 ft),[10][11] the mountain rises 1,100–1,300 m (3,600–4,300 ft),[1][12] and offers a view over Al-Ain. Jebel Hafeet was a well-known landmark throughout the area's history, and is a contemporary tourist attraction. An extensive natural cave system winds through Jabal Hafeet.

The mountain is composed of many distortions of individual layers of rock rich in fossils of plankton, while at the foot of the mountain it is possible to find various marine fossils, including coral or crabs). Jebel Hafeet is crossed by a system of caves, some of which have been explored to a depth of no more than 150 m (490 ft). In the caves there are well-preserved stalagmites and stalactites. Access to the caves is partly natural, while in other parts of the city of Al Ain, the entrance is blocked. At the foot of Jebel Hafeet lies a tourist attraction with hot springs and a lake.[13][14] To the northeast is the mountain's largest wadi,[15][16] Wadi Tarabat.[17][18]

Flora and fauna[edit]

Adesmia cothurnata at Wadi Tarabat
A captive Arabian leopard at a nearby zoo. Wild leopards had been seen in this area in the 20th century.[3][4]

The mountain is home to endangered species of flora and fauna,[19][20] particularly at Wadi Tarabat.[15][16][17][18]

On the mountain has been observed the yellow bloom of Acridocarpus orientalis.[17] Numerous other plants have been seen around caves in the mountain.

The caves of Jebel Hafeet are a natural habitat for a wide range of animals,[3][4] including bats, foxes, snakes, rodents, and hyraxes. The lizard Acanthodactylus opheodurus, which until 1982 was considered extinct in the UAE, has been observed in the area. Among the birds, there is the greatest biodiversity of the whole country: a study counted 119 species of birds. Finally, they have been cataloged, with about 200 different insects, and 23 species of butterflies. Recently, seven species of lacewing insects were discovered here. They were previously thought not to have been in this country, but in Saudi Arabia.[20] The Arabian tahr is also found here.[19][21][22]

In 1949, an Arabian leopard was spotted here by Wilfred Thesiger. In 1976, one was shot and wounded, as reported by Hellyer, who claimed another sighting in 1993. The leopard is now possibly extinct in the country's wilderness. In addition, rock hyrax were recently introduced here, and could serve as prey for the leopard, if the latter had to be re-introduced.[3][4]


Cultural Sites of Al Ain
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Alley in Al Ain Oasis.JPG
An alley at the Al Ain Oasis
Official nameCultural Sites of Al Ain (Hafit, Hili, Bidaa Bint Saud and Oases Areas)
LocationAl Ain, United Arab Emirates
CriteriaCultural: (iii)(iv)(v)
Inscription2011 (35th Session)
Area4,945.45 ha (12,220.5 acres)
Buffer zone7,605.46 ha (18,793.5 acres)

At the foothills of the mountain, 500 tombs were excavated that dated to an area named after the mountain, the early Bronze Age Hafit period of between 3200 and 2600 BC. These tombs were firstly discovered in 1950. Later excavations by Danish archaeologists in 1959 found evidence for ceramic vessels and copper artifacts in these tombs. While the graves on the north side have been partially destroyed by construction projects, the southern tombs are preserved. Some of the tombs contain skeletons, some of which are adorned with bronze objects and pearls. Other objects found in the tombs include ceramics from Mesopotamia, witness to trading relationships in antiquity. Because of its exceptional archaeological and historical value, in 1993, the "Desert Park and the tombs" (which includes the Jebel Hafeet) was inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as the "Cultural Sites of Al Ain: Hafit, Hili, Bidaa Bint Saud and Oases Areas".[23]


The Western approach to Jebel Hafit, showing Green Mubazzarah at the mountain's base

Jebel Hafeet is a popular tourist center with a broad view over the whole area from the summit. The touristic attraction at the foot of the mountain is Green Mubazzarah[13] (Arabic: ٱلْمُبَزَّرَة ٱلْخَضْرَاء‎, translit. Al-Mubazzarah Al-Khaḍrā’),[24][25] a well-developed tourist attraction featuring a geyser, a children's play park and a number of chalets for hire, several hot-water springs gushing forth in little streams and forming a lake, and swimming pools and jacuzzis scattered all over the area.[14]

There is also a small dam, constructed in 1955 and restored in 2005, one of the earliest development projects instituted by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was the governor of Al-Ain before becoming the Ruler of Abu Dhabi and President of the UAE. The Mubazzara Dam is freely accessible to the public.[26]

On top of the mountain, there is a military communications outpost and a hotel operated by French hospitality company Mercure,[27] as well as a palace.

Hafeet Mountain Road[edit]

Road leading to the mountain

The Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road,[13] built in 1980, extends for 11.7 km (7.3 mi) up the mountain, rising 1,200 m (3,900 ft). With 60 turns and three lanes (two climbing and one descending), the road was called the greatest driving road in the world by[28] The road scales the mountain and ends at a parking lot with a hotel and a palace belonging to the country's rulers. Part of the climax of the Bollywood film Race was shot on the mountain.[citation needed]

The road was built by Strabag International of Cologne, Germany.[citation needed]

Hafeet Mountain Road is a challenge for cyclists who frequently use the route to train. The Jabal Hafeet Mercure Challenge is an annual road cycling competition taking place in January. National and international riders take part in climbing the 8% average ascent of the mountain.[29] In 2015 it hosted the arrival of the third stage of first edition of Abu Dhabi Tour, a cycling race organized by RCS Sport, won by Colombian Esteban Chaves.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Gardner, Andrew Somerville (January 2004). "The reptiles of Jebel Hafeet". ADCO and Emirates Natural History Group: 149–168. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  2. ^ a b The Report Abu Dhabi 2010. Oxford Business Group. 2010. p. 171. ISBN 978-1-9070-6521-7.
  3. ^ a b c d Edmonds, J.-A.; Budd, K. J.; Al Midfa, A. & Gross, C. (2006). "Status of the Arabian Leopard in United Arab Emirates" (PDF). Cat News (Special Issue 1): 33–39.
  4. ^ a b c d Spalton, J. A. & Al-Hikmani, H. M. (2006). "The Leopard in the Arabian Peninsula – Distribution and Subspecies Status" (PDF). Cat News (Special Issue 1): 3–47.
  5. ^ McMorrow, Brian. "Jabal Hafeet".
  6. ^ a b Salama, Samir (2011-12-30). "Al Ain bears evidence of a culture's ability to adapt". Gulf News. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  7. ^ 1968-, Magee, Peter,. The archaeology of prehistoric Arabia. New York. ISBN 1316003183. OCLC 879421807.
  8. ^ a b "UAE Tours - Jebel Hafeet". Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  9. ^ a b "Jebel Hafeet climate: Average Temperature, weather by month, Jebel Hafeet weather averages -". Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  10. ^ "Jabal Yibir". Retrieved 2019-02-12.
  11. ^ "Jebel Jais". Jebel Jais Ras Al Khaimah. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  12. ^ Lieth, Helmut; Al Masoom, A. A., eds. (2012-12-06). "Reclamation potentials of saline degraded lands in Abu Dhabi eastern region using high salinity-tolerant woody plants and some salt marsh species". Towards the rational use of high salinity tolerant plants: Vol 2: Agriculture and forestry under marginal soil water conditions. 2: Agriculture and forestry under marginal soil water conditions. Springer Science+Business Media. pp. 271–274. ISBN 9-4011-1860-4.
  13. ^ a b c "II: Africa & the Middle East". Epic Drives of the World. Lonely Planet. 2017-08-01. ISBN 1-7870-1002-3.
  14. ^ a b Al Ghalib, Essam (2011-03-17). "Park is a welcome haven of green". Al-Ain: The National. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  15. ^ a b "Jebel Hafit flora and fauna to get due attention". Khaleej Times. 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  16. ^ a b "Jebel Hafeet to be monitored by EAD". Khaleej Times. 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  17. ^ a b c Reimer, Bob (2004-04-16), Wadi Tarabat Survey, Emirates Natural History Group, retrieved 2019-02-11
  18. ^ a b Kazmi, Aftab (2013-06-27). "Unique insects discovered in Jebel Hafeet wadis". Al-Ain: Gulf News. Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  19. ^ a b WAM (2017-09-13). "EAD raises awareness on Abu Dhabi's natural heritage at ADIHEX 2017". The Gulf Today. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  20. ^ a b Al-Wasmi, N. (2017-02-15). "Jebel Hafeet boost for local biodiversity". The National. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  21. ^ De Leon, J. P. (2014-05-26). "100th Arabian tahr, and twin tahrs welcomed in Al Ain". Gulf News. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  22. ^ "Newborn Arabian tahr discovered on Jebel Hafeet". The National. 2015-03-12. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  23. ^ "Cultural Sites of Al Ain (Hafit, Hili, Bidaa Bint Saud and Oases Areas)", Unesco, 2011-06-27
  24. ^ ‘Abd Al-Nūr, Wadī‘ (2017-08-02). "المبزّرة الخضراء واحة سياحة ... ومقصد علاج" (in Arabic). Al-Ain: Al-Hayat. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  25. ^ Ismā‘īl, Jamīlah (2017-12-09). "«المبزرة الخضراء» وجهة سياحية في شتاء العين" (in Arabic). Al-Ain: Al-Bayan. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  26. ^ Jordan, Benjamin R. (2013). Special publications, 65 : geotrekking in southeastern arabia (1st ed.). Hoboken: John Wiley. ISBN 1-1186-7128-7. OCLC 927508942.
  27. ^ "Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain". Mercure Hotels.
  28. ^ Gautam Sharma (2015-01-29). "Great driving roads: Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road, Al Ain". The National.
  29. ^ "Jebel Hafeet Mountain Road". 2011-03-29.

External links[edit]