Wadi (Arabic: وادي) is the local term for a usually dry steep-sided valley or riverbed. Wadi Wurayah is situated in the Hajar Mountain... more » range on East Coast of the United Arab Emirates, off the E99 road between Fujairah and Dibba.
The Hajar Mountains of the UAE are part of the Hajar range of mountains that, geologically speaking, are referred to as the Somail Ophiolite, extending from central Oman, in the south, to Mussandam Oman, in the north.
For more information on the geology of this region please refer to the link to the Wadi Madha, East Coast Region, United Arab Emirates guide (see Other Guides by AndrewScholtz in the right-hand panel).
Wadi Wurrayah and surrounding areas (129 km²) was formally declared a Protected Area in terms of an Emiri Decree (Law No.2 of 2009) issued by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, UAE Supreme Council member and Ruler of Fujairah in order to protect the local cultural heritage, fauna and flora. This is the first Mountain Protected Area in the United Arab Emirates.
The declaration of Wadi Wurrayah as a Protected Area came about on conclusion of a 3-year study undertaken by the Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) sponsored by HSBC Bank Middle East Limited and Bridgestone Middle East and Africa, in partnership with the Fujairah Municipality.
The protected area is home to approximately 300 plant species, at least 12 species of mammal (including the critically endangered Arabian Tahr and Arabian Leopard), 73 species of birds, 17 reptile species, 2 species of fish and 74 species of insects. In addition a number of old settlements, Islamic graveyards, pre-Islamic tombs and petroglyphs have been found in the area - some artefacts dating to 300BC.
In January 2001 His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah introduced Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden to the Protected Area, emphasising its importance to the region.
Wadi Wurrayah is a great place for a weekend picnic or overnight camping in the winter. Swimming in the pools is a good way to cool off after the steep walk down from the car park. Access is moderately challenging for the 4x4 enthusiast and visitors may be lucky enough to encounter a mammal or two. Friday visitors consist largely of groups of expat workers taking advantage of their day off to get out of the city to barbecue.
The area is maintained by the Fujairah Municipality and is generally free of litter, at least by UAE standards. A number of local education institutions are committed to maintaining Wadi Wurrayah - including the Higher Colleges of Technology, whose students visit the Wadi regularly as part of an environmental awareness programme. less «