Last weekend, I turned 30 years old. Because it was the end of Ramadan, we had a four day weekend to observe the holiday of Eid, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. I did not have much planned for my 30th birthday, as it was nearing the end of the school year, and I mostly wanted to just relax. But my friend Nick had other plans, and convinced myself and another friend named Jonathan that we should do the world’s longest zip-line.
The world’s longest zip-line is located in Jebel Jais, which is the tallest mountain in the United Arab Emirates. The closest Emirate to the mountain is Ras Al Khaimah, so on Saturday morning we jumped into Nick’s Jeep, along with our friend and Iowa native John who came along for the ride, and drove 90 minutes north through the desert to get to Ras Al Khaimah. After weaving our way through town, we entered the winding mountain road to get to the top of Jebel Jais.
The road turned into switchbacks for the last 15 minutes of the drive before we reached the top. The U.A.E. is working to develop Jebel Jais into more of a tourist destination, and they are creating rest stops and camping spots along the drive to the top. Currently the rest stops are pretty basic, but functional. We were not allowed to drive to the very top of the mountain, and instead had to meet the zip-line company in a parking lot. We were then driven to the headquarters of ToroVerde, which is the company that runs the zip-line.
ToroVerde has a beautiful little building with a deck overlooking the valley that the zip-line travels over. You have to wait at the HQ for quite a while and wait for your turn to get geared up. After you have your equipment, a van takes you to the very top platform. In the picture above, you can barely make out the white canopy of the starting platform.
Once at the top, they put the final touches on your equipment in preparation for the zip-line. You then have to stand around for around 20 or 30 minutes watching others get hooked up to the zip-line, panic, get talked down or refuse to do the zip-line. There is a long buildup to the experience. The views were wonderful, but it was difficult to enjoy them as I was a little nervous.
In between a few of the other zip-liners, there were long breaks. We would come to learn that a few unlucky souls did not have enough momentum to make it to the end of the zip-line, and were left stranded over the valley. I came into the final platform really fast, but my friend (pictured on the far right above) was one of the unlucky riders that were stranded. The actual zip-line experience was so incredibly windy that I had a hard time enjoying the scenery. I also found that I was getting blown sideways while I went down, which was a little unnerving. You have to travel down the zip-line laying flat on your stomach, or in the superman position. The initial zip-line is 2.8 km long, which is 1.74 miles. The top speed reached is 150 km per hour, which is around 93 mph. After the first 2.8 km, you end up at a platform suspended in the mountains. The guides redo your gear so that you can complete the final 1 km back to solid ground. I had a GoPro on my helmet, so you can relieve the entire experience by checking out the video below. Right before I start the second leg of the zip-line, you can see poor Jonathan slowly pulling himself the rest of the way to the platform.
After we all completed the zip-line, we were taken in a van back to the ToroVerde HQ. They snapped a photo of us by their Guinness Book of World Records certificate, proving that they were indeed the longest zip-line in the world.
Overall, a fun experience. I probably won’t need to ever do it again, but I am glad that I tried it once.