Travel

A classic daredevil attraction in Dubai

The Dubai Parks and Resorts theme park. The 30.6 million square foot park contains tens of rides, restaurants and a water park for rafting. PHOTOS | CHARLES MWANIKI | NMG
The Dubai Parks and Resorts theme park. The 30.6 million square foot park contains tens of rides, restaurants and a water park for rafting. PHOTOS | CHARLES MWANIKI | NMG 

Dubai, Seychelles and Zanzibar are a hit for short stays of two to four nights for Kenyans, says David Kabugi of Deals Brewer who does holiday bookings.

With a more enlightened generation that is also eager to discover the world unlike in the past, more so women opting to travel solo, these will be top destinations for Kenyan travellers this December holiday.

If you are travelling to Dubai, there is a new daredevils’ attraction—a thrilling over 50 meters drop tower!

On your way south from Dubai towards Abu Dhabi, you will see on your left a bright blue building fronting the biggest theme park in the Middle East, and behind it, a tall tower with seats attached to the side.

Tourist attraction

This is the face of the Dubai Parks and Resorts theme park, the latest big ticket attraction in the city which has in recent years become one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world.

Our party of eight—seven Africans and our host Rania Ouertani— visited the 30.6 million square foot park on an afternoon to sample what we have been told is the most thrilling three hours you can spend in the city.

Our guide for the day is Mai Mohammed, a bubbly lady from Egypt who we task with taking us to all the choice parts of the park which normally requires three days to explore fully.

It was October 31, Halloween day so the park was suitably kitted out, with giant spiders (plastic of course) perched on walls and scarecrows sitting on beds of hay, surrounded by carved pumpkins.

Michael Jackson’s Thriller blared from speakers all over the park, making one forget they are in the Emirates and not a street in New York. The park was opened in 2016 and is ideal for families looking for all-round fun.

It is divided into four major thematic zones—MotionGate, BollywoodGate, Riverland and Legoland— each with its own character.

Legoland, which contains about 40 rides and Lego building zones, suitable for children aged 12 and below.

Adjacent lies Riverland Dubai, built around a large man-made lake which offers raft rides, and medieval French and Irish Villages where you can enjoy cuisine from both countries.

We opt to start at MotionGate, a combination of four large buildings each styled after a major Hollywood production house (Lionsgate, Dreamworks, Columbia Pictures and Smurfs Village), built to resemble a production studio on the inside with multiple attractions.



Legoland, which contains about 40 rides and Lego building zones, suitable for children aged 12 and below. PHOTO | CHARLES MWANIKI | NMG
Legoland, which contains about 40 rides and Lego building zones, suitable for children aged 12 and below. PHOTO | CHARLES MWANIKI | NMG

Blast Off

After riding on various roller coasters inside the big buildings, where you also find merchandise shops and restaurants, we decide to dare the big ride in the Columbia section, known as Blast Off.

It is the tall vertical tower one sees from the highway, 58 metres tall, menacing. Four of us take up the challenge to tackle the monster ride, and almost immediately we begin to regret it.

Securely fastened to our seats, we are shot up the tower, reaching the top in less than five seconds. It is as thrilling as it is scary, especially for those of us who are fearful of heights.

The view of the park and the desert beyond from up high is stunning though.

The fall back to earth comes without warning inducing sheer terror, and you can hear the men on the other side of the tower screaming their heads off. One more trip up and I am more than ready to get off the ride, which we are told is scarier for adults than it is for children.

After this experience, none of us are ready to try another ride, so we give the tall roller coaster as Lionsgate a miss and instead head off to the Bollywood section, where you can watch an Indian movie street dance live, as well as take in the sights in a museum build as a replica of the Taj Mahal.

After the exertions of the park, the city does offer trendy spots to hang out in the evening, with the most fashionable being on the artificial Palm Islands that offer a stunning view of the Dubai skyline at night.

The city has built a boardwalk along the Ocean, where people take advantage of the cool evening to walk, ride bikes, or enjoy a sundowner on one of the top restaurants fronting the sea.

Other popular haunts still abound the city, including the ever popular fountain show at the foot of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

For those who love a spot of shopping, the city is also home some of the largest malls in the world and complete with the world’s largest indoor aquarium that offers a rare treat for the whole family.