What to Do When Exploring the UAE Countryside

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.

I highly recommend exploring the UAE countryside, especially if you're looking for off-the-beaten-path destinations in the country. Not only does it offer an authentic experience around the Arab culture, it's a nice escape from the glitz of the big cities like Dubai or Abu Dhabi!

Traveling to the UAE Countryside: What to Do and Where to Go

1. Visiting Friday Market Masafi Village

Friday market in the UAE countryside.
Friday market in the UAE countryside. | Credit: Worldwide Writer

We passed through a number of increasingly small towns, including Friday Market, which lived up to its name with colorful market stalls lining both sides of the street. Although it's called Friday Market, the market is open every day so you can visit it anytime.

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.

2. Exploring the nature around Wadi Tayyibah

Wadi Tayyibah in the UAE
Wadi Tayyibah in the UAE. | Credit: Worldwide Writer

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. No visit to the Middle East is complete without checking out the date palms, and Wadi Tayyibah is a perfect place to go!

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.

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. 

3. Exploring the 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.

Guest Author

Karen Warren is a freelance writer, book reviewer and novelist. She writes about travel on her website, WorldWideWriter.


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