Ever since Motoring Middle East published an article last August on the mountain road heading upto Jebel Jais, in Ras Al Khaimah, there have been countless cars, ranging from supercars to 4x4s making their way through RAK to the bottom of 35km of new(ish) or maybe now not so newish tarmac, heading up the mountain, through 8 hairpins, sweeping bends and straights upto the near summit deadend.
I’ve been up there twice now, once with Mini Club Dubai and another with a few friends with a variety of cars. Finding the road is fairly easy if you have a satnav or are good at reading maps.
You have to navigate through RAK and then over some dusty roads with a few speed bumps and potholes. There is a small section of about 100m of stoney gravel which you have to slowly creep over (particularly in Konan’s very stanced Mini JCW).
Eventually you’ll come to small roundabout, where if you go straight on, will end up at the Oman border crossing, so veer left to start the flatter stretch of the Jebel Jais mountain road. At this point we stopped to prepare GoPros and decide what the plan will be driving up. It’s mostly two lanes heading up, once you start ascending and one lane down.
I would say be warned as there are some risks. Firstly, although it’s a new road, there is still a fair amount of grit on the roads, and with the recent weather, boulders and rocks will have fallen onto the road at certain points.
These will get cleared of course but you need to be on the lookout for debris and losing traction on the bends and apex.
Secondly, due to the increasing amount of attention it’s getting, the road can get quite busy with a variety of cars, from standard saloons, to families in 4x4s driving up with picnics, to motoring clubs and inevitably some idiotic drivers weaving all over the road. Be prepared for the unexpected!.
I did have some fun keeping a Mustang at bay which I passed on the way up. No chance around these bends for him.
Thirdly, there are construction vehicles parked by the side of the road in places, and also military patrols, as there is Army base nearby.
On the second time I went, there was an organised road cycling event happening as well up the mountain. So if you’re planning on going, it’s going to be busy at weekends, so be mindful of other drivers, riders etc. There are no facilities at the top/deadend.
No shops or toilets. A Fish and Chip or Ice Cream van would do a fortune up there. The road just ends short of the summit, where they are continuing to build.
Plans are for resort of some sort to be completed on the summit offering a variety of activites in the long term.
Fill up on petrol, water, and check your typre pressures beforehand and ensure you give your car adequate time to cool down and if necessary make some stops on the way up and down.
For UAE drivers, you just cannot compare this road to Jebel Hafeet, it’s far longer, with more variety of fast and slow bends along with tight hairpins.
Certainly my Mini John Cooper Works was a great car for this drive, same could be said for the Ryan’s GT86, Maazair’s Porsche 911 and Mark’s Gold Gti Mark 7. Paul’s Dodge Challenger was maybe not so suited to the ascent! Ken and his RS6 took his time, as he was snapping away with his cameras.
The Mini Club Dubai convoy whizzed up to the top later in the year, with much fun had. This road was made for a Mini!
We stopped off for late lunch at the Al Hamra Palace Hotel and a few photos.
Below is the GoPro video I compiled showing my first drive up and down Jebel Jais. It’s a little long and clearly has been sped up. I wasn’t really driving that fast! Music is copyright of the original artists, and there is some minor distortion at times, thanks to Youtube’s video correction software over compensating.
Comment away if you’ve been up there recently and do you have any other recommendations for the best driving road in the UAE?