'Wadi Bashing' at Wadi Madha - Oman and UAE

August 03, 2011

Do you know that Oman (or I should say an Oman territory) is found inside the UAE, and that the UAE (or I should again say a UAE territory) is also found inside Oman?

These territories are good examples of 'exclaves'. An exclave is a territory legally or politically attached to another territory with which it is not physically contiguous.
Anything grey is UAE, green shade is Oman territory (Madha). Notice the UAE territory in the middle?

The UAE inclave in the Oman inclave on the UAE map
Here's the account of Wikipedia:
The Omani territory of Madha or Wadi Madha is an exclave of Oman, surrounded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is located halfway between the Musandam Peninsula and the rest of Oman. It belongs to Muhafazat Musandam.
The exclave is on the FujairahKhor Fakkan road in the Emirate of Sharjah of the UAE and covers approximately 75 km². There are two exits to Madha on the Fujairah–Khorfakkan road. The boundary was settled in 1969.
Madha is mostly empty, with the developed portion, called "New Madha", containing roads, a school, post office, an 'Eid ground, police station, an Omani bank, electricity and water supply, and an airstrip. There is also a Royal Oman Police patrol.
Inside Madha, there is an exclave of the UAE called Nahwa, which is legally part of the Emirate of Sharjah.
Is it worth the drive?

Very much is! We headed there last weekend and the Gremlin's dad gave the drive a name feeling there's such a term: wadi bashing!

Much like dune bashing (or desert safari) of challenging the sand dunes, our car tyres challenged more than 11 plus kilometers of Wadi Madha's bumpy rock  bed. Seven kilometers of the rock bed is a series of twists that we slowly moved at 20-40 kph, which increased to 40-60 kph when we turned back out. Wadi Wurrayah's rock bed is far rougher than Wadi Madha.

How to get there 

At http://maps.google.com/, search for Madha - United Arab Emirates.

The Oman exclave is quickly accessible from Murbah along the E99 east coast  road 14km north of Fujairah or 5 km south of Khorfakkan. From Khorfakkan, drive right just after National Bank of Abu Dhabi and follow the signs towards Madhah.

(I was attempting to put the directions here as per our guide map, but I guess getting your own map will be the best option. If you do need a detailed direction and cant seem to find it somewhere, do leave me a message below, and let's see how I can send you a copy)

What to see

Mountains, small villages, oases,  small pools,Wadi Shis/ Chees,  Hajar Bani Hamid, Wadi Madha.

Getting past 6 kms paved road, 4.8 kms tarmac road, 3.7 kms a little curvy wadi bed, 7.3 kms twisting bumpy wadi bed, we drove up left to a plateau, now a 3 km gentle and easy graded track. It was like being rewarded of good times after the rough times (?, cheesy!).

This is a good camping site with some goats to give company. We reached the end of the track and went out awhile. It was already 9 am and if not that we need to catch our hotel breakfast before 10:30 am (we're too hungry already), we could have stayed longer and enjoy the pleasant warm sun. It wasn't like it's in the middle of sandpit summer up there.  

By the way, we spent the night at Nour Arjaan Rotana in Fujairah for AED 360, a good deal for the low season. Hotel staff were nice. We left the hotel for Wadi Madha at 6:30am before the sun gets too uncomfortably high. Back at the hotel, we had to clear 7 messages in each of our phones from our provider Etisalat  -- you know those messages when you leave the country and when you just landed back on the territory?

I've uploaded an album of photos over at Facebook. You can check them HERE.

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