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Wadi Madha, East Coast Region, United Arab Emirates

Wadi Madha, Wadi Shis and Hajar Bani Hamad – striking examples of the Geology of the Semail Ophiolite
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 59.217 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview:  Wadi (Arabic: وادي) is the local term for a valley or riverbed. Although wadis are usually dry, many wadis have permanent pools in the... more »

Tips:  Wadis are prone to flash flooding in the wetter (winter usually) months of the year. Take care and be aware of weather conditions in... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Murba u-turn

Coming from Fujairah you must make this u-turn in Murbah before turning right to Madha, Oman.

2. Madha

The village of Madha is in Oman. You will be immediately aware that you are in a different country despite the fact that you do not go through a border post. Sign posts are different. The Omani flag flies above government offices and the look and feel of the village is very different from the look and feel of villages in the UAE.

Drive slowly... More

3. Wadi Crossings

In the wetter winter months flash flooding in the wadis is common. Towns and villages in the region have water level indicators to warn motorists if flood waters make wadis dangerous to cross.

At the next major junction turn left (follow the signs) for Sahna Recharge Dam.

4. Sahna Recharge Dam

Spelling in the region is not taken too seriously. Sahna can also be spelt A'Shahna'a. Recharge dams help control flooding that occurs after the short shaper showers that often occur during the wetter months. They are also designed to "recharge" the groundwater supply by capturing the flood water after a thunder shower and allowing it to seep back... More

5. Picnic Spot

A picnic spot has been built by the Omani government and is well utilised over weekends in the cooler months.

6. Al Nahwa

The village of Al Nahwa marks the Oman-Sharjah border and you are now back in the UAE. Interesting to note that power to the village is provided via diesel generator.

7. End of Tar

The tarmac roads ends around here. In the dry season you can continue on Hajar Bani Hamid and Wadi Chees (Shis) in a sedan if you drive carefully. It is recommended that you have a pick-up (van, ute, bakkie, truck - depending on where you are from) and you will need 4-wheel drive to complete some of the route.

8. Winter Pools and Picnic Spot

A short diversion from the main track will take you to a picnic/camping spot. In the winter months you will find pools of water in this area. You will probably need 4-wheel drive vehicle to get here.

You have a spectacular view of Hajar Bani Hamid from this spot, particularly at around sunrise.

9. Hajar Bani Hamid

Hajar Bani Hamid is a spectacular mountain - multi coloured and stands out against the brown backdrop of other mountains in the Hajar Range.

A stunning location for early evening picnics in the winter months, with the muezzin's call to prayer drifting through the valley from surrounding villages.

At the bottom of the hill you turn right for Wadi... More

10. Wadi Chees (Shis)

Spelling again! Wadi Chees or Wadi Shis is an easy wadi to travel through and you should be able to do it in a sedan during the dry months. As with all wadis in the region, be very careful when driving through wadis in the wetter months. Flood damage is inevitable and roads do wash away. It is very dangerous to be caught in a wadi during a flash... More

11. Al Gawa Pools

The village at the top end of Wadi Chees (as yet unidentified) asks tourists to take a diversion to Al Gawa pools rather than drive through the village. Please respect their wishes.

Interesting for such a dry area that you find all-year-round water flow. Al Gawa pools and waterfall is one such place - and less spoilt than its well known... More

12. Right turn for road to Dafta

At this point the road splits. Keep straight out of the wadi and you travel a short distance to a great viewpoint but this is a dead end road.

Turn right, staying in the wadi for a link to the Fujairah-Masafi road near Dafta.

13. Leave the wadi

Follow the road out of the wadi.

14. View from the highest point

Beautiful view of the valley below from the highest point on the trip.

15. And the road you have travelled

Looking back at the road travelled.

16. Junction with Dubai-Fujairah Highway

Junction with Dubai-Fujairah highway near Dafta.

17. Drive Carefully

The road is very narrow in parts, and wends its way between houses. Take care - look out for other cars, parked cars and children playing in the road.

18. Dead-end Viewpoint - Mountain Biking

That's as far as you can go. But it's good mountain biking territory - in the winter months. It is said that you can get to Fujairah from here by bike, but I have not tried it. Make sure you have a GPS with you if you do attempt this.