“Look! Up in the sky…”
When you are in the UAE, it’s hard NOT to become accustomed to the ‘Superlative” edition of life.
You have the ‘oldest international chain hotel’ in Al Ain, the ‘tallest building in the world is in Dubai, and it just happens to sit next to ‘the largest mall in the world’ which also happens to contain the world’s ‘largest acrylic panel’ at the Aquarium. And in the Capital, the world’s fastest roller coaster is just a few miles from the most expensive hotel.
So it was no surprise that on February 1, 2018, Guinness World Records was back in the area, this time in Ras Al Khaimah, with the launch of the tallest and longest zipline in the world.
Suspended just over 1 mile above sea level and covering 1.75 miles in length, the zipline spans the rocky chasm of Jebel Jais offering participants, or “pilots”, an unprecedented view from above as they zip along at over 75 miles per hour.
The zipline is operated by Toroverde Ras Al Khaimah. They manage and operate ziplines all over the world, including the previous record holder, the ‘Monster’, in Puerto Rico.
I found the entire experience to be very straightforward. We were given the body harness and helmets in the welcome center with the available option of a GoPro if we didn’t have one. Along with it came a backpack for each pilot, which carried all of the gear we needed for the first run.
They don’t allow you to take anything with you, however, if you do want to take a mobile phone, it can be concealed and kept safe in the small pocket of your backpack. Just remember to have a friend zip it completely closed when you’re done with your selfies.
Outfitted with safety gear, we boarded a shuttle bus to take us to the launching platform. Once we arrived, the true scale of the length is finally apparent…and yes, it’s a long way across. The helpful staff of Toroverde unpacked our backpacks and we were then helped into the ‘hammock’ that we would be riding in over the side of the mountain.
Pilots are suspended headfirst overlooking the cliff face for the first leg of the journey, which takes approximately 2 to 3 minutes based on weight and weather conditions. The first cable is actually a dual zipline, allowing you to experience the whole ride literally alongside somebody or to simply race them to the first landing platform.
An eerie calm comes over you as you are positioned on your stomach, completely strapped in, with the preparation for the first ‘flight’ now nearly complete. In an effort to protect any bugs from being splattered across my eyeballs, I pulled my visor down just before the locking pins were pulled from my tackle and a calm ‘enjoy the ride’ came from the friendly staff. My partner in crime for the day only offered a very unhelpful ‘bye Brad’ before I was soaring away from the mountain’s ledge slowly gaining speed up to 75 miles per hour.
The canyon slowly rolled away beneath me as the wind whipped my cheeks and I tried to keep my body as pointed as possible to make sure I made a safe arrival completely on the other side and didn’t get stuck in the middle.
A Safe Landing
Suspended itself, the landing platform is the transferring location for the second half of the experience. You are helped down from the first cable by more friendly staff and they repack everything for you back into your backpack. From the platform, you travel just over another half a mile to the final landing zone. Pilots on this run experience it in the more traditional ‘seated’ position and land standing on their feet, instead of their stomachs.
Once completed a shuttle bus returns you to the Welcome Center where you will have your commemorative photo taken along with your special patch designating your own specific flight number that is unique to you which can be fixed to any item of clothing you have.
I will admit that the length is a bit much. Not because of fear or anxiety, but because by the time you reach the half way point, you kind of get bored and the thrill has worn off from that initial 'whoosh' of speed from the platform and adrenaline.
If you want to take on the flight itself, I’d recommend waiting until there is a promotion as it is really kind of expensive compared to the time it takes to complete. Or, if you’re in Ras Al Khaimah already and have nothing to do on an afternoon, that might be a good time too.
You will need to book a ‘flight time’ so I do recommend booking ahead of time to save the stress of having to fit into a busy weekend schedule…especially if you have to drive a bit like I did to arrive there.
Dh135 (USD37), but you get to keep the MicroSD Card)
100 - 285lbs (45 – 130kg)
4 feet (1.22 meters)
What to wear:
Athletic clothing. Trainers or running shoes with good grip.
Photo Credit: Some photos were provided by ToroverdeUAE.
*Prices are in Emirati Dirham and are subject to change without notice.