Exploring The UAE Countryside

Friday Market, UAE

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Most of my visits to the UAE had been spent in and around Abu Dhabi, and I had got into the way of thinking that the country consisted mostly of desert and a few bustling high-rise cities. Not that the desert landscape was entirely featureless, but it was a welcome change to see a more varied part of the UAE countryside when driving from Dubai towards Fujairah. A completely different side to the country!

Friday Market, UAE

We passed through a number of increasingly small towns, including Friday Market, which lived up to its name with colourful market stalls lining both sides of the street. Then there was Masafi, where we had a typically Arabic lunch in a roadside café, joining the locals in sitting cross-legged on the floor to eat.

Friday Market, UAE
Friday Market, a small town in the UAE countryside

The motorway gave way to narrow roads, then the tarmac gave way to rocky paths, and we bumped along slowly until we reached the date palms of Wadi Tayyibah. We scrambled a little way up the hill in search of the pools that feed the palms but, this being the dry season, there was no water to be seen.

Rugged UAE countryside at Wadi Tayyibah
Rugged countryside at Wadi Tayyibah

On (or off) the road again, we drove through dramatic scenery of the Hajar Mountains, tall hostile peaks with the occasional remote farm or, on one occasion, a lonely plateau where, somewhat incongruously, a small group of locals had stopped to set up a barbeque.    

Wildlife Of The UAE

Eventually the deep ruts in the steep rock proved impossible for even the most determined 4×4 driver and we reluctantly turned back. But we had been rewarded by the sight of animals and birds that we had not encountered elsewhere in the country, including a mountain gazelle, black kite and an Indian roller.  

Indian roller
Indian roller
Mountain gazelle in the UAE countryside
Mountain gazelle

Read more about the natural environment of the United Arab Emirates:


1 thought on “Exploring The UAE Countryside”

  1. Affectionately known as the Grand Canyon of the UAE, Wadi Bih is a deep ravine with a distance of 1 kilometre. The top of the wadi gives you some of the best views of the UAE. The whole thing spans from the Ras Al Khaimah clock tower all the way near the UAE boarder check point. Visitors of Wadi al Bih can go hiking, mountain biking and camping in the area. Wadi al Bih also has some very interesting sights nearby such as the infamous deserted villages of RAK, other smaller wadi areas and some unexpected amount of natural greenery as well as gorgeous views of a great outdoors that we don’t get to experience much while living in the city.

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WorldWideWriter is owned and managed by Karen Warren.

I have been writing and travelling for many years (almost 70 countries at the last count), and I’ve visited every continent except Antarctica. This website is my attempt to inform and inspire other travellers, and to share some of the things I’ve discovered along the way. Read more…


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