4 September 2006

Through Wadi Bih

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:  
Rocky Hajjar Picture Show
The Long and Winding Road

The last time that we tried to drive through Wadi Bih, the road had been washed away in the heavy February rains as we wrote here.

We tried again on Saturday, and yippee – it’s open again! The effort by the roadwork gangs to cut another road is admirable, as the boulders they had to move to level out the ground again were HUGE.

The new road running to the left of the Wadi

It’s a different scene from last November when we drove through this area for the first time. With all the rock and water damage, the cliff faces have changed shape along with the road. The low-lying plants have all gone too.

Have we told you how much we love our Honda MR-V?!

However, it’s still one of our favourite roads and a nice easy 6 hour round trip from Dubai – depending on how many stops are made. As well as getting out of the car in various places in the wadi, one of our best stops is on the top of the mountain ridge which separates Wadi Bih from the Omani Border Post.

From here, we can see down the Rawdah Bowl over and up to Jabal Harim, picturing that on the other side is another extremely picturesque route that leads to Khasab. The quietness of the surroundings is a joy, as we stand and look at the impressive scenery.

The road leads down to the Omani Border Post, the buildings in the lower middle of the image. The road behind the Border Post leads to the Rawdah Bowl and ultimately to Khasab over Jabal Harim, the tallest peak in the Musandam, and which towers in the far distance.

Outings like this are when we most of all acknowledge how fortunate we have been to live in the UAE.


Mise said...

It's one of the nicest trips we made of all the weekends we spent travelling in the UAE and Oman...lovely photos as usual :-D

MamaDuck said...

There you are: it worked eventually. The November link isn't playing right now, but it might well be in ten minutes, given the carry-on tonight.

That was a real break from the city,wasn't it?. I can hear the silence in your photo. I'm told that driving west through the mountains to Cordoba is like driving through the Hajjar mountains,if you want to add that route to yourlist. :)

nzm said...

Mise: that part of the Hajjars is a magical place for both Jand I - we feel so much at peace up there.

Our trip into Oman proper also had a similar effect.

MamaDuck: good to see that your blog has reappeared! I'll remember the Cordoba tip if we ever venture into that part of the world - thanks! All links appear to be working now - just tested them.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

What a strange silent eerie land. No grass, trees, birds, animals or people. Makes you slow down and wonder about it all. And of course, then the value of water and appreciate rivers.
How do people survive who live in a place like this?

Taunted said...

Me and a few mates did the Wadi Khasab trip over the mountain where the listening post is, last year, we went up thru RAK, around the Mussandam and over Khasab and camped in Rhoudah bowl. Great fun, then we went back the same way.

There's about 130 pics here - and if someone tells me how to put a link there I will.


A world of Symphony said...

Serene, peaceful, calm - so in love with nature with a couple of wild guys and gals at night - bonfire - guitars - singing - joining in the chorus - whiskies & whiskies. Perfect night out.

You're tempting us by posting these pictures to put the pedal to the metal and skip town this weekend, aren't you?

So long as we hook up in between and you guys join in the chorus with us, we're game, it's a date :-) LOL


nzm said...

Wendy: there is more flora and fauna than what is shown in the images - goats are everywhere, and we often see the occasional donkey! Birds are scarce. In wintertime it becomes greener, but the thing to remember is that this is desert, so the plants and animals adapt to a cycle that may only have one decent rainfall per year.

As for the people, they have water tanks on the roadside, and the Omani government provides water for free - it's trucked in.

taunted: we did that trip as well - a couple of times actually and we love it! It's just slightly more time-consuming, and we didn't have enough time to do it last weekend. The beauty of the Wadi Bih trip is that although you need to show ID at the border post on the RAK end, it costs nothing and is less of a hassle than the Tibat crossing from RAK into the Musandam/Khasab, and you can do it in a day from Dubai.

Excellent images - the donkey looks familiar! lol. I'll post a comment on your blog about how to place the link.

Louis: sounds like a perfect evening, and what a great idea - a bloggers' camp-out! Thing is, would we get withdrawal symptoms from no computers, and would we actually be able to talk to each other without keyboards? lol!

Taunted said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Taunted said...

Thanks for the advice nzm, I gave up after trying to link after half a dozen failled attempts!

A world of Symphony said...

After a couple of whiskies & whiskies, guinness', murphys', baileys' (for the ladies), we'd be having a ball of time let alone talk - we could even title it 'Bloggers journey of Life'.

Height of creativity :-)


Not a bad idea, yes?

Jin said...

Stunning photos as always & I'll make sure Hubs sees this, so we can do a runner the next time he gets more than 24hrs off work!

clayfuture said...

Oi! nzm... you've been tagged! Come to my blog and answer these questions!


Pandabonium said...

Beautiful pics as always. I would never have guessed it looked anything like that.

Taunted said...


You know the Omani border on Wadi Bih, can you enter Oman from there (with a valid visa already in your passport) and exit at the RAK border - or is that still for GCC locals only?

Any ideas?

nzm said...

Louis: I'll join you on the whisky!

Jin: check out the links in this post too. They point to earlier excursions, and The Long and Winding Road post will give you some idea of how to approach the route from the Dibba side.

Taunted: No - you can't go through to Oman (i.e. Rawdah Bowl and Khasab), unless as you say, you're a GCC national. There is no passport control at the post. We were turned back when we drove from the Khasab end and told to go back to Tibat, which we had expected anyway.

So you can only go from RAK to Dibba or from Dibba to RAK, but you do have to show passports/ID at the RAK end, so make sure that everyone in the vehicle has valid ID.

BuJ said...

i did this route when i was a wee lad.. remember every bit.. but ID is essential.. i remember on a different trip we were taken to the omani border police and questioned for 3 hours then escorted back to hatta or something.

was quite embarrasing.. but this was a while ago and hopefully the omanis loosened up a bit..

weird, but the uae does not have border control.. only oman, and saudi!!

nzm said...

Buj: I think that this has changed - there is now also UAE border control at the points at which we've exited and entered the UAE from Oman - at Tibat, Hatta and Buraimi.

You have to have exit stamps put in your passport to get out of the UAE, and then your passport is stamped again upon entry.

The nice thing I found that on a NZ passport, I don't have to pay entry fees into Oman, but J does on her German passport! Apparently Oman works on a pro rata basis - if a country does not charge Omani citizens to enter, then Oman doesn't charge their citizens - it's a nice touch.

I can't speak for the Saudi border, as I've never been across it - and most likely never will! :-)

Sam said...

I would like to go on this drive through Wadi Bih. Is it possible with a saloon car?

nzm said...

Sam: we've seen normal saloon cars being driven through the wadi.

You'd have to choose a time when the road was dry, as there are some steep bits as you go over the mountain range from the wadi to the border control post that I doubt would be navigable by a car when the road is wet.