The Best thing about United Arab Emirates is that it has amazing attractions for everyone and for all age groups. Indoor activities are more famous in UAE because of extreme summer but tourists and expats always try to find some great outdoor activities and attractions. If you are looking for an amazing day out or a superb experience of hiking in UAE, Wadi Shawka is the best answer to your question. Wadi Shawka (Shawka Valley) is one of the best outdoor places to visit in U.A.E and is located at around 1 to 1.5-hour drive from Dubai.
Many residents of UAE look forward for hiking and camping activities. After spending most of the time indoors and between huge concrete structures, you might feel the need of going out in the nature and find something new. Far from crowd and heavy traffic, Wadi Shawka offers beautiful scenery, amazing hiking trails in UAE, natural springs, water pools, off-road drives and greenery surrounded by hills and mountains from all sides. Wadi Shawka is a rare kind of sight in UAE where you can find natural springs filled with water most of the time.
The place is getting famous and has started to attract a lot of visitors. The place is proving to be an excellent choice for picnic, hiking and camping. You can plan a full day trip or plan for camping with your friends. The hiking routes are challenging, and the Wadi is very picturesque. Wadi Shawka is also a great place to experience the cultural contrast in UAE where you can explore some little villages and meet the locals. The weather of the Wadi also stays favorable in extreme summer when you find it difficult to explore most of the outdoor activities.
How to Reach Wadi Shawka
If you also plan for an off-road trip which I will recommend that you should, you will need a 4×4 drive. Otherwise, reaching Wadi Shawka is not a problem at all. All you need to do is follow the GPS and you will be there. However, I would like to mention some tips and things you need before planning your trip.
It is recommended that you plan your trip in the early morning to avoid crowd and parking issue, and to explore most of the area. The best practice is to reach the starting point before the sunrise. Create a backpack with some necessary items that you will need during your hiking or camping. If you do not have all the things, you can get them easily from a gas station on your way to Wadi Shawka. It is highly recommended to keep your gas tank full if you are planning an off-road trip. The trails can get confusing and you can get lost. Hiking in the Wadi is not a piece of cake, so you should be physically and mentally prepared for that.
There are no big stores or grocery shops in the area. There is a small shop from where you can get water and refreshments. Let me write a list of the things that you should have while visiting the Wadi.
- You need Good Shoes for Hiking, no Sandals please.
- Keep 2 LT water with you
- Take your food and snacks with you.
- Keep some high energy snacks with you.
- Keep some Juice with you
- If you are going in winters, take sweaters and jackets.
- Extra clothes and socks
- A Hat and Sunscreen
- GPS and extra batteries
- Knife, light and a lighter
Make sure when you leave, take your trash back with you.
7 Wonderful Attractions of Wadi Shawka
Wadi Shawka is an ideal place for the off-road lovers in UAE. First you do not get so many places like this, secondly the place has amazing rock formations which makes it ideal for road adventure filled with fun. A 4×4 or an ATV is required for this trip. The place is not crowded which gives you the pleasure of un-interrupted drive. Once you are there, head to the old dirt road from the water tower. After some time, you will reach a lake, and this is the main starting point. Enjoy, but drive carefully as you will also encounter people walking or running on the road.
Wadi Shawka Hike
Wadi Shawka is also a great choice for hiking. If you are a beginner, it is advised to go in groups to support each other and use a GPS. You should track your movement as most of the tracks look similar and it is easy to get lost because you will not be able to distinguish between the right tracks. Also, understand your own strength because there is not limit to the hike. Remember, the more you go farther, the same distance you must cover on your way back. I remember, we went on a hike in Sri Lanka and our guide was very enthusiastic, he wanted to show us all. We were fine, but he got very tired on the way back. If you are well prepared for the hike, you will enjoy a lot.
There are two famous routes for hiking in Wadi Shawka. One of them is a 10 kilometers long loop around the Shawka Dam. This is the easier one from the two, but it will consume most of your day to complete this route. The hiking route is amazing, mostly flat and takes you between the small hills.
The second route is less known and is more interesting. It needs more effort in hiking and is more rewarding to the visitor with beautiful views, natural terrains, running streams of water and pools. You will definitely want to take a dip in the water pools. It is very refreshing and an amazing experience. The route has many natural plants and flowers that look lovely with the combination of beautiful rock formations. As I mentioned above, go well prepared with food and water. You will not find any support during the long hike.
Wildlife Encounters in Wadi Shawka
Wadi Shawka is a natural outdoor area and hence you may encounter some wildlife here as well. Visitors usually encounter camels, donkeys, goats and some snakes as well. You can also see a lot of birds here. Just be careful while going near the wild animals, most of them run away as your approach of them. But who knows, there are cases where wild donkeys have bitten and dragged the humans.
One of the amazing attractions of Wadi Shawka are the water pools. You will find the pools on both routes. The 2nd route which is tougher has more deeper pools. Some of them are very deep so you must make sure before entering them. You can swim and get refreshed. It is advised to swim in them a week after rains.
Wadi Shawka is a wonderful place for mountain biking. If you do not have your own bike, you can rent a bike from a shop near the area. You can pedal around the place. Mostly bikers chose the Shawka Dam route for the bike adventure. The amazing natural environment and the sounds of birds are going to entertain you a lot.
Camping in Wadi Shawka
If you are tired of same old routine in UAE wandering in the big shopping malls and entertaining yourself with indoor activities. Camping in Wadi Shawka is an experience you will collect as your beautiful memory. Make a group with like minded friends and go for camping in Wadi Shawka. The place is super amazing, and you will forget for the time that you are in UAE. The place is ideal for bar b q and spending time with your friends.
There are lots of choices for the camping. Mostly people prefer the green places near the water pools. The best part of the camping is that you can see the mesmerizing sunset and beautiful sunrise next morning. You can also meet and greet with local shepherds and see the small villages around. You are going to love the calm and quiet atmosphere with sounds of birds and insects. Just be a careful with snakes, try not to play or run after them to kill them. Remember, if during any unfortunate event, a snake bit you, stay calm as it may not be poisonous and take the picture of the snake as soon as possible. This will help your doctor in your treatment.
There are some companies that provide the canyoning experience in the Wadi Shawka. You have to book a tour with them, and they will provide you all the details for the full package and canyoning.
It is being said that the Wadi Shawka has been chosen for some extensive upgradation. The place is getting famous and hence the government wants to make it more accessible and tourist friendly. For the reason, proper washrooms will be installed, a larger barbeque area will be created, and a children’s play area will be added.
It is also under consideration that some more beautiful water ponds will be created; the water will be provided from the dam.