Guide to Hatta Pool and other wadis

Time Out Dubai has the rundown of the best wadis in the UAE, with directions and essentials for all, including Hatta Pools and more.


Hatta Pools
These are probably the easiest pools to access in the UAE, and therefore also the busiest. Winter weekends, when the flowing water creates the nicest swimming conditions, are very popular with families, which unfortunately has an impact in terms of litter. This said, the pools still make an accessible and pleasant day trip. There are lots of pools to explore and the further you walk, swim and climb, the better condition you’ll find them in. There are easy accommodation and dinner options nearby, including the Hatta Fort Hotel.
Best for: Easy access, swimming and picnics.
Essential: Passports and Oman car insurance.
GPS: 24.624722, 56.073611

Wadi Asimah
The wadis of the UAE are often accompanied by quaint villages due to their supply of fresh water. Wadi Madhah is a particularly good one for exploring on foot or by mountain bike. The area is full of little pools and streams (although these are not necessarily ideal for swimming) as well as traditional falaj systems, dams, plantations and greenery.
Best for: Hiking and mountain biking.
Essential: Driving can sometimes be difficult.
GPS: 25.421388, 56.096666

Wadi Hayl
This is a mostly dry, mountainous wadi, but it’s still excellent for exploring on foot during the cooler months. It also has a very well-preserved old fort – estimated to be around a century or more old – that was once the home of Fujairah’s ruling family. There are nice views from the top of the watch tower and a small oasis at the bottom of the hill.
Best for: Hiking and history.
GPS: 25.084722, 56.226666

Wadi Madbah
There are several pools for swimming to be found here, as well as one with a waterfall. If you’re up for a bit of a hike, there’s a plateau above the waterfalls with dramatic views and more pools.
Best for: Swimming, climbing, easy hikes and picnics.
Essential: Passports and Oman car insurance.
GPS: 24.091388, 56.118888

Wadi Shuwayah
There’s easy hiking and quiet walks around this wadi, with plenty of pretty spots for a picnic. It’s also close to Hatta and a relatively easy one to find, which makes it a good option for families.
Best for: Quiet walks and picnics.
Essential: Passports and Oman car insurance.
GPS: 24.649166, 56.066666

Wadi Tayyibah
This wadi is close to a small village with lush plantations. Its pools and streams are small but lovely for a leisurely walk or picnic. It’s also a good location for moderate mountain biking.
Best for: Lush greenery, pools, streams, picnics and picturesque walks.
Essential: Driving can be difficult. Do not attempt after heavy rain.
GPS: 25.395555, 56.164166

Wadi Wurayah

Wadi Wurayah is the UAE’s first officially protected mountain area. It’s home to 20 species of mammals (including what is believed to be the last Arabian leopard in the UAE), 17 species of reptiles and amphibians (five of which are unique to the area) and 19 species of insect never before discovered by entomologists. There are plans to make Wadi Wurayah a managed eco-tourism hub (see next week’s Community section for more), but for now you can turn up and hike, climb and camp wherever you like – just make sure you do so responsibly, and take your litter home.
5km south of Snoopy Island, Fujairah. Absolute Adventure (050 625 9165, From Dhs350 per person

Wadi Shab
Wadi Shab in Oman is so beautiful, it almost looks fake. Swim in its pure emerald-green pools, then squeeze through a barely-there crack into a cave where locals show off their diving skills from the top of a waterfall. Magical.
Muscat Diving & Adventure Centre (+968 2 448 5663, OMR40 (Dhs380) per person, based on four people in a 4WD. (You'll need Omani driving insurance; You'll need your passport)

Wadi Bih
Considered the Grand Canyon of the Middle East, this stunning expanse of the Hajar mountains rises to 1,000 metres, affording stunning views of the area.
15km east of Ras Al Khaimah. Absolute Adventure (050 625 9165, has just opened a weekend camp here: Dhs250 per person per night including breakfast and dinner; Dhs150 without food. (You'll need Omani driving insurance; You'll need your passport)

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