With deserts dominating most of the landscape and the rule of the sun throughout most of the year, UAE is often mistaken for a dry, dreary place. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
In addition to a vibrant urban landscape and mighty mountains, UAE is also home to many enchanting wadis. ‘Wadi’ is Arabic for a dry riverbed or a valley oasis that looks like a water pool [often with waterfalls filling the same].
Winter is at its best so make hay while the sun shines [oh, the irony] and set off with family and friends to explore these beautiful natural gems.
For starters, here’s a list of five beautiful wadis in Fujairah, the land of magical mountains in the UAE:
1. Wadi Beih
GPS coordinates: 25°46’25” N and 56°2’38” E
Touted as the Grand Canyon of the UAE, wadi Beih is a rich historical and natural adventure hotspot. Pass old stone quarries through winding roads with your 4WD or simply put on your running shoes! There are a lot of camping/hiking tours based in this area as well.
Why you should visit: If you’re a fan of running and exploring then the Wadi Bih Run is perhaps the best way you could start 2016. The event will take place in February. Check it out here.
Must-see, must-do: Grab a pair of binoculars and head out to wadi beih for a spot of birdwatching. You’d be surprised but 2015 records suggest that the seemingly barren wadi has witnessed around 140 species of birds!
2. Wadi Hayl
GPS coordinates: 25 05′ 05″ N 56 13′ 36″E
With lush date palms occasionally dotting the dry brown landscape, the small village of Hayl is a striking contrast to the city life that we’re so used to. Read this blogger’s account of an interesting trip to Wadi Hayl.
Why you should visit: In addition to its enchanting rocky wonders, Wadi Hayl also has a historical charm—a well-preserved fort, built in the 1930s, known to have been home to Fujairah’s ruling family in the past.
3. Wadi Al Wurayah
GPS coordinates: 25.4000° N, 56.2500° E
Wadi al Wurayah, with its cascading waterfalls, is a perfect spot to escape the city’s heat. Also, it’s a great way to witness rare geological structures called oliophites that the region is well-known for.
Why you should visit: The wadi is a haven for unique wildlife and has a national park that is home to 860 recorded species, including 19 mammals, 17 reptiles, 3 fishes and 94 birds. It’s the perfect place to spot rare dragonflies while having hearty picnic lunches!
Must-see, must-do: Soak up some ancient architecture at the Al Bidiya mosque [built around 300 BC!] which is just 2 kilometers from the park’s border.
4. Wadi Siji
GPS coordinates: 25°15’34” N and 56°3’14” E
Being one of the oldest dams in the UAE built in the seventies, Wadi Siji is a 10 meters high and 500 meters wide. It is capable of storing 1,200,000 cubic meters of water. With breathtaking views in abundance, especially in the winter with clouds for company, a visit to wadi Siji is a great way to explore the Arabian wilderness.
Why you should visit: A fun road trip with family; picnic lunches with great views.
5. Wadi Sidr
GPS coordinates: 25°25’16” N and 56°5’51” E
Set amidst a hilly terrain where goats and camels frolick around, Wadi Sidr is one of the places where a barbecue plan can never fail.
Why you should visit: Fancy a bit of hiking? Then park your car somewhere and head out on foot to explore intricate rock formations along the wadi trail!
Must-see, must-do: Visit the wadis Asimah and Tayibbah nearby for more of those wonderful views! After following a rocky mountain trail, head out for a change of scenery to the nearby beaches in Fujairah.
Traveller tips and essentials:
- Not a sedan, take a 4WD. The terrain can be quite rough up there.
- Remember, the GPS is your best friend so don’t forget to take it along on such trips.
- Pack extra food and water—grocery stores and restaurants aren’t easily available in the interiors.
- Avoid going on rainy days—flash floods are common in most wadis.
Have you tried visiting one of these wadis? Which one is your favorite pick? Tell us in the comments below.
Recommended: List of Secluded Spots for Camping in the UAE
5 Street Places for Smashing Karak Chai in Dubai