24 March 2006

Rocky Hajjar Picture Show

Update:  I notice that a lot of people come to this post after googling to find out if there is a passport control between Dibba and Ras Al Kaimah.  At the time of writing in 2006, there was a control at the RAK end, but since then I have heard reports that this route has been closed to through traffic, and only UAE (maybe GCC) nationals are allowed to use it.  

I'm not sure how you would check that information, but entering it from the Dibba end and expecting to turn back would be the best bet, if you did want to go ahead and try it.  At least you'd get to see the most stunning bits through the wadi and on the high mountain route - and carry your passports just in case they let you back in through RAK!

Don't attempt driving through Wadi Bih if it's been raining or looks as if it's going to rain.  Flash floods rip through the wadi, taking everything away.

Also read:    
Through Wadi Bih
The Long and Winding Road

With J’s sister and bro-in-law in town, we decided to take them to Fujairah and then along our favourite road to RAK from Dibba, through the wadi and over the Hajjar range.

About 5km into our gravel journey from Dibba, we had to stop – there was no road!

The recent rains have caused considerable damage in this area, and as the road followed a wadi bed through the canyon, the water has washed away the route. In its place is tonnes of rock, gravel and silt. We walked up the wadi over rocks as big as cars, and marvelled at what must have been a most incredible act of nature. The scratches and gouges in the canyon walls from the debris rose 3m above us – that’s how high the water must have been.

We estimate this damaged area to be about 1km long, and without knowing the condition of the rest of the track, it’s going to take a few months to carve a road back out of the debris.

We’ll let the images tell the story - you can click on them to enlarge.


Sharron Kidney-Stone said...

WOW, amazing what nature can do! It's even more amazing for us unknowing Europeans - we always associate Arabia, the Emirates et al with heat and deserts...total ignorance of course:) I've found some interesting images of rain destruction in Saudi Arabia that should straighten the myth of the rainless Middle East here: http://www.toursaudiarabia.com/rain.html

kaya said...

hi nzm
How can I mail you?
Could not find you email......

Keefieboy said...

Nice title, wonderful pics.

nzm said...

SKS: those SA pics show exactly how it happens here. Anything near a wadi in heavy rains risks being swept away in flash floods. Writing this made me realise that we didn't see any goats in the wadi yesterday. They most likely fell victim to the torrent.

Kaya: you can reach me at: nzm_uae(at)hotmail.com

Keefie: Thanks. Nothing beats your "Whoops-a-daisy, Apostasy" title - that's got to be a classic! I'm still trying to write the Jordan post with the pics!

MD said...

i LOVE the pics! :D

TwinTopaz said...

i wish u had those pic posted a bit eralier :(

we went to fujairh just yesterday and had to travel on gravel for atleast 15 minutes

duncan said...

Hey- Just saw your pic's of the Wadi Bih route washout- we were actually hiking up one of the valleys just off the main route, when a huge black cloud loomed! We were about an hour and a half up the valley, which was a precarious route in good weather let alone when it started to absolutely tip it down. We all ran to the nearest shelter, while the rain began to turn the steep valley sides into a teeming mass of waterfalls, rock slides and thundering boulders rolling down the valley. It was truly amazing!(not to mention scary!). Anyhow, after maybe 20 minutes of very intense rain and wind, we came out of our rock hole and the valley was a raging torrent, and as we carefully made our way down, traversing the valley sides, we caught sight of our cars down on the main valley floor. They were up to their bonnets in a river of water and debris! By the time we'd made it down to the cars, the water line had receeded, leaving our cars surrounded with boulders and stones. We were lucky to have parked earlier in the day (when it was perfectly sunny and pleasant) just behind a fairly large boulder, which seemed to have staved off the worst of the boulder movement. In the end some local guys came and helped us out of the valley floor. One of the most amazing things was that after two or three minutes of driving back down the valley, it was completely dry! We followed the head of the surge, as it went down the valley. It just shows you how careful you have to be in the 'rainy season'- these localised storms can come from anywhere- you can see how you could quite easily be caught out if you were in a ravine type wadi like Tayiba or somewhere like that.

nzm said...

Duncan - my God - what a lucky escape!

As you say, it must have been so scary, yet so exhilarating and amazing to see a powerful force of nature such as you did.

Thank goodness that you got out of it safely.