Inside the Middle East

Ras Al Khaimah to build world's longest zip line

(CNN) — Fancy zipping across Jebel Jais -- the UAE's highest mountain -- whizzing past canyons and admiring wildlife down below?
Come December, adrenaline junkies should be able to test their nerve on the world's longest zip line -- in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates.
"The objective is for us to build the longest zip line in the world," Haitham Mattar, CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) tells CNN Travel.
The zip line is just one of several new adventure-based activities in the pipeline for this rocky emirate.

Fastest zip line in the world

Ras Al Khaimah is planning to build the longest zip line in the world.
Courtesy Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority
The zip line is still in the design process -- and its exact length is described by the RAKTDA as a "closely guarded secret" -- but its mountainous setting will offer something different from its urban counterparts across the world.
"We don't have a zip line going through two towers, it's in the mountains," explains Mattar.
The current holder of the Guiness world record for longest zip line is The Monster zip wire in Puerto Rico, which is a mammoth 2.5 kilometers long -- or 28 soccer fields.
Determined to go one better, RAKTDA has teamed up with Toro Verde, the team behind The Monster, to develop the new attraction.
Ras Al Khaimah is less well-known for its tourism than its neighbor, Dubai, but the emirate has set itself the ambitious goal of attracting one million visitors by the end of 2018.
Mattar insists that showcasing the area's natural beauty -- and protecting this landscape for generations to come -- is at the heart of the project.
"We want to continue to drive tourism that complements what Dubai is offering," says Mattar. "All these activities we're building are very much nature-based."

Soaring to new heights

The zip line will be longer than 28 soccer fields.
Courtesy Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority
There is already a zip line in the region, courtesy of the Jebel Jais Via Ferrata mountain activity, which allows thrill-seekers to traverse more than one kilometer of the mountain.
But the new line will take the experience to a new level -- aside from the spectacular length, guests will also be able to fly through the sky face-down in a superhero position at speeds of up to 130 kph (80 mph).
"The zip line is going to be much more dramatic as it goes through the canyons," says Mattar.
The RAKTDA says the zip line will consist of two lines -- allowing people to fly alongside friends and family.
It will be open to all ages -- so long as riders meet minimum weight of 35kg and maximum weight of 150kg, and a minimum height of 120cm.
The line will be designed to accommodate 250 people a day.
As well as private parking, the agency are also making plans to provide a helicopter transfer.

Eco-friendly focus on nature

The zip wire will be located on the UAE's highest mountain, Jebel Jais.
Courtesy Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority
Alongside the zip line, the RAKTDA says a new ice rink and hiking and mountain biking routes are in the works.
There will also be a new viewing deck 1,300 meters up Jebel Jais mountain. The terrace will showcase the mountain's spectacular views -- which stretch to the Arabian Sea -- but also promote and protect local flora and fauna.
The RAKTDA says it's determined to ensure all new developments are eco-friendly.
"We have to make sure we're protecting the environment," says Mattar. "There's plants and there's herbs and there's food-bearing plants [...] Our objective is to protect those and create a park for people to enjoy."
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