Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Zigi Beach and East Coast

Travel Month:

April 2010


Oman and UAE


 Zigi Beach, Wadi Khab Al Shamis, Dibba, Dibba Al Hisn, Dibba Al Fujairah, Fujairah, Khor Fakhan, Kalba, Wadi Warrayha


Wadi and Sea

Total Distance Covered:


Total Days


We had an exploration trip of the east coast of UAE that was long over due. In these four days we explored quite a few areas. Usually anybody going to the east coast takes a loop driving trip covering Kalba, Fujeirah, Khor Fakhan, Dibba and Dabba, however we in addition to this loop explored a few wadis and hiked up to reach Zigi Beach. Zigi beach is a small hide away and one has to climb a mountain trek to reach there. The public access to this beach has been closed since the opening of Six Senses resort a couple of years back. Due to this reason we planned a boys trip to hike to the beach, spend the night and then come back the next day.

We including myself, my brother Sohail, my son Sajeel and my nephews Rohail, Raheel and Fazeel left a day earlier than our families to explore and complete the Zigi Beach adventure and they joined us a day later at the hotel.

We left in the morning and reached Dibba in time to catch the Friday prayer. After the prayer we explored a few hotels and drove on the shore to see the areas that we never saw before. The east coast must have been a wonderful place but due to excessive construction on the whole of coast most of the areas have become filthy trucks. We were not at all impressed with it. Interestingly we found out that there are a number of Sheikhs houses (big farm like places) right on the sea and they have planted a number of fruits on the sea side which are usually not grown on the shores. It was amazing to see mangoes being grown there. We also used those small paths behind these big villas to reach closer to the sea and these streets were very dirty and not maintained at all.

Another interested thing we found out was the distribution of the city named Dibba. It has three parts, one is Dibba Fujeirah that falls in the Emirate of Fujeirah, second part is Dibba Al Hisn that falls in the Emirate of Sharjah and the thrid one is Dabba which falls in Sultanate of Oman. Despite three names they remain one city with adjacent parts, surprising these all look different due to the maintenance level and construction done in each one of them.

Here we had lunch with a nice biryani and moved further towards Wadi Bih and Wadi Khab Al Shamis. Not to forget we got our dinner in doggy bags as we planned to sleep at the Zigi.

The paved road ended and the dirt track started for the next few kilometers. We stopped at the barrier setup by the Six Senses Resort to block any traffic going up the mountains to reach Zigi. We packed our small back packs and started our hike just before the evening. There are two tracks going to Zigi, one is old and the broken one and the other is the new and maintained one. We took the old one as the distance is less through this one, about 6 kms to be precise. Our decision for taking the shortest route didnt turn out to be be best as the track was totally broken that really took toll from our lazy and unexercised bodies.We thought going up would be difficult and the remaining would be easier which turned out to be even harder due to its steepness and no maintenance. We made it to the beach after the sunset and we headed straight to the Masjid to freshen up and to say our prayer.

It was dark already and we couldnt see much on the beach side, the sound of water hitting the shore was heard from very close though. We were right on the beach and there were about 21 houses being built right there. The local people seem to have given up their main trade i.e. fishing as we could make it from their broken boats etc. It all looked like due to the prosperity the resort had brought there. This place is like a hidden beach from the world as there are mountains between the beach and the main track. Therefore it is secluded and was picked up as a spot for Six Senses resort.

We picked up a spot on the beach for the night but then came back closer to the Masjid for diner. We opened up the biryani we took with us and everyone ate in the dim light coming from a light pole not too far from where we were sitting. A couple of cats just appeared from somewhere and had a treat from us in the shape of bones and leftover chicken. Once we were done with our food we came back to the beach and everyone spread their sleeping bags to take some rest. The weather suddenly became hot and we kept getting breeze with mixed temperatures but it was more inclined towards warmer air. The boys listened to some music before sleeping and we enjoyed a bit of the beach as well. There was moon out in the sky and that made the place romantic. However this romantic feeling didnt last for long cause we noticed too many bugs started to bug us and made our life miserable for the rest of the night. I was bitten more than anyone else and am still recovering from those bites.

The night got passed somehow and we got up early morning, we didnt sleep most of the night anyways. The weather condition was telling us that the day is going to be a real hot one, so we decided to quickly wrap up our sleeping bags and start our walk back to the other side of the mountains where our car was parked. The beach really did not look cool to us and we left this place even without having a dip. The walk became difficult in no time due to sun already looking into our eyes. We made slow progress but this time through the track with an intention of getting a lift if need be. We were not too far from the top when we saw an open truck approaching us, the driver gave us lift without any reluctance. This made our hike back easier and with in no time we were standing next to our car.

We drove back to Dibba and crossed into UAE . We had a hearty meal on the way to Kalba near Fujeirah and joined our families in Kalba where we had booked a hotel for the next few days.

We spent next few days by visiting Fujeirah, Khor Fakhan, Kalba, and other smaller towns on the East Coast. We saw fishing done in its traditional manner and also got fish as a gift from the local fisherman. The highlight of the trip was our cooking as we cooked a number of things and had a lot of fun and relaxed ourselves. We also visited Wadi Warayha and saw a nice waterfall there. But the place has become so filthy due to irresponsible behavior by the visitors and lack of municipality interest. There is a lot of trash in this area although this area has been declared protected area by the state. We drove in the wadi bed for a few kilometers to reach the falls and later discovered that there is a road that ends not far from the falls if someone wants to visit this place by a saloon car. Indeed there will be a bit of walk to reach the falls after parking your vehicle.

Wadi Warrayha despite being  declared as a protected area is not really respected by the visitors and they keep throwing their garbage out there. The walls next to the falls are all painted with spray paint with visitors names and the dates. I would not visit the falls again rather will hike further to reach a couple of pools which are not visited by many. Though the drive was exciting on the rocky wadi bed, and we had to drive on a very slow pace to avoid any damage to the vehicles. On the way back we stopped at the famous Mandi place in Khor Fakhan to have dinner before setting off for home.

Over all it was a relaxing trip except the first day. We reached home around 9ish to have a long night sleep. Until next time.....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Marshalling - Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2010

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge:
This is an international race that takes place in the UAE. This year it took place in the Empty Quarter (Rab Al Khali) in the state of Abu Dhabi. Here is the website for further information.


We manned a checkpost in this race through which all the participants including bikes, trucks, 4x4s had to pass while on the track. It was a life time experience interacting with all these awesome drivers and lovers of the motor sport

Area: Liwa also called as Rab Al Khali or The Empty Quarter

Distance Covered: 1200 km

Offroad : 100

In our Vehicle: Just myself

Vehicle used: Nissan Patrol

When: March 2010

Short Story:

I started off in the afternoon for a 450 km of tarmac drive. Until Abu Dhabi the road is excellent and after that it is a single road leading to one of the remote areas of the country. One would wonder that after covering this distance into the Empty Quarter one would be in the desert with no one in sight, however there are small villages dotted all along the road and a lot of development can be seen. I'm especially impressed by the amount of greenery planted close to the town of Mezaira.

We passed through the famous car museum owned by the more famous Rainbow Sheikh. This has a big house on wheels and giant Mercedes on 5 ft tall tires and some other amazing items. However in my third try I have not been able to see it from inside as it was closed. It seems that they tried to make a resort next to the museum but that never took off and is in shambles these days. However there are a couple of big cages filled with lots of bird species in them. A good stop over to Liwa with a small filling station selling petrol at much higher price than on the road, so I wont recommend filling your tank from here. The next petrol station is about 130 kms ahead at Hamaim. The desert really takes shape at Hamaim and from there on the dunes are massive like small hills/mountains growing out of the soil and showing the majesty. We reached Hamaim at the sun set and took a short break. From there the road climbs up and down until you reach Mezaira, that was our destination to meet up the team already deployed.

We called them and a meeting point was agreed, as soon as they reach we started our journey to the Moreb Camp where we were staying for the night. This was about 28 kms but the road goes through some very high dunes and the road at night was just like driving in the mountains as we could not see much otherwise due to dark. After reaching the camp we filled up our fuel tanks from the temporary filly stations setup by ADNOC. The camp was just under the steep slopes of Moreb where there are climbing competitions every year. All the locals with the highly modified vehicles compete in a famous competition every year. The participants, the support teams, the marshals were are staying at this site. It was amazing and thrilling to see all the drivers and their teams working on their respective vehicles/bikes for the next leg of the race. The next day was the last day of the race with 4 stages in it. It was a long day for the competitors.

We sat out on the chairs until late night after having a pathetic diner served in the dining area. Our snacks were better than the food honestly. We were supposed to be reaching our post by 8pm so we dismissed before mid night to get up early in the morning. We were provided with a Arabian camp to sleep in, that we setup with our bedding and slept for few ours.

Early morning way before the sun would rise we were taking shower and were ready in no time. Our post was about 22 kms from the road, therefore there was bit of offroad before we would reach and setup our post. And today our post was the first one so the bikes will be reaching us in no time. We drove for about 100 km to reach Ghost Town with abundant houses and broken patrol pump. This was the point from where we deflated our tires to enter the desert. It was a good ride and we made it to our post right in time. The post was setup and we were ready to receive the competitors. And here they by one...all of them passed by 12pm. A media heli landed just next to us so we got great opportunity to click snaps of heli with a desert back ground.

Once all the participants passed our stage and we got a go ahead from the head quarter we drove off to Moreb Camp but through the desert. It was a great drive, 4 cars following each other on these majestic mountains of sand. We made it to the camp with a few stucks on the way. It was really hot by then. We freshened up and everyone decided to leave for Dubai rather than staying the approaching hot night in the camp.

It was a wonderful experience of driving in Liwa yet another time and Marshaling in an international event.