World's longest zip line opens in Ras Al Khaimah

It's going to take some nerve to attach yourself to a zip wire, then whiz at velocities of close to 100 miles per hou...

Posted: Feb 2, 2018 3:25 PM
Updated: Feb 2, 2018 3:25 PM

It's going to take some nerve to attach yourself to a zip wire, then whiz at velocities of close to 100 miles per hour down the UAE's highest mountain.

It'll probably take almost as much nerve to stump up $177 for the brief but terrifying ride.

But adrenaline junkies can now experience the whole speed-and-spending package on what is now the world's longest zip line in Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.

This exhilarating adventure at Jebel Jais mountain will allow particpants to fly face-down, in a superhero position, at speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour (93 mph).

To share the thrill, there are two lines, side-by-side, allowing people to fly with friends and family.

Fastest zip line in the world

And if money -- and altitude sickness -- is no object, its creators are looking to add a helicopter transfer to ferry folks to and from the attraction.

The new attraction is open to all ages, so long as riders meet minimum weight of 45 kilograms (about 100 pounds) and maximum weight of 150 kilograms, and a minimum height of 120 centimeters (nearly four feet).

Designed to accommodate a fresh set of riders every five minutes, the zip wire is the product of a partnership between Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and the world's leading zip-line operator, Toro Verde.

It's just one of several new adventure-based activities in the pipeline for this rocky emirate.

The mountainous setting of the zip wire offers 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," Haitham Mattar, CEO of RAKTDA tells CNN Travel.

The previous holder of the Guiness world record for longest zip line was The Monster zip wire in Puerto Rico, which is a mammoth 2.5 kilometers long.

Determined to go one better, RAKTDA teamed up with Toro Verde, the team behind The Monster, to develop the new attraction.

The Ras Al Khaimah zip wire is an incredible 2.83 kilometers long -- over 28 soccer fields -- and is suspended 1,680 meters above sea level.

Soaring to new heights

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."

There is already an adrenline-on-a-wire experience in the region, courtesy of the Jebel Jais Via Ferrata, which allows thrill-seekers to traverse more than one kilometer of the mountain, attached to a metal cable.

But the new line takes the experience to a new level -- aside from the spectacular length, guests can also fly through the sky face-down in a superhero position -- at speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour (93 mph).

Eco-friendly focus on nature

Alongside the zip line, the RAKTDA says a new ice rink and hiking and mountain biking routes are in the works.

There are also plans for 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."

In the meantime, the zip line has been officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

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