Jumeirah Sceirah at Wild Wadi in Dubai

We brave the city’s most frightening water slide


Unveiled in September this year, Wild Wadi waterpark’s main attraction is the ominously titled Jumeirah Sceirah. In typical Dubai fashion, the ride is an accolade-laden testament to lofty ambitions. The tallest free-fall waterslide outside North America, Jumeirah’s imposing new crowd puller stands a majestic 32 metres above the park, offering spectacular views of the nearby Burj Al Arab. Due to its wooden appearance, the sheer scale of the attraction only dawns on me as I scamper purposefully up the third flight of stairs towards the summit (I’ve arrived early on a weekday morning to avoid the queuing masses).

Once I arrive at the top I’m greeted by the unnerving prospect of climbing into one of two space age looking pods. Feeling like something that’s surplus to requirements (about to be flushed), things improve as I enjoy the panic growing on my companion’s face in the adjacent pod. Having received the unsettling instruction that my head must remain planted to the back wall of the compartment, and that it’s essential for my legs and arms to stay crossed for the duration of the ordeal, the situation becomes increasingly comic as my fellow participant’s face adopts a distinctly horrified expression when the glass door swings shut. Concerns return back to my own welfare as the same fate befalls me and I find myself sealed in the pod. Waiting with my unnaturally arranged body, encased in a transparent cell, to heighten the drama a countdown begins... At the final call the floor suddenly vanishes beneath me and I find myself unceremoniously freefalling at a 70˚ angle at a mind numbing 80kph!

After a few seconds, I’ve covered 120 metres and I’m back on ground level, intact aside from slightly shaky knees. Living up to its namesake, it’s indeed a ‘sceiry’ ride, but it’s also exhilarating and the perfect antidote to any New Year lethargy – we couldn’t recommend it enough!

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