Head for the Hills!

Yesterday I went for a drive to the East Coast.  It was something I was going to do the other day but now armed with two road maps, compass, hat, binoculars, field guide and bathers, I was ready. 

I took the longer way by the freeways this time to skip the traffic.  By just after 8 am, I was on route 88 heading for the East Coast of the UAE.  Success at last!

Dubai is flat – dead flat.  I’d seen some hills in the distance in my recent peregrinations and wanted to explore them a bit more.  The Hajar Mountains remind me a little bit of the McDonnell Ranges in central Australia except here there is far less vegetation!  I went off road a few times to do some exploring – the Yaris was thrilled.  The terrain is very steep with low shrubs, very dry grasses and the odd small trees that the goats seem to keep under control.  Birdlife is sufficient to keep a hardened birdwatcher entertained!  A few goats around as well in the mountains while the camels are in the sand on the flat.

Big wadi28032008009.jpg28032008008.jpg28032008006.jpg

From Masafi I headed north to Dibba and then down the coast a bit to Al Aqah.  Dibba is home to pottery (hence these amazing monuments in the middle of a roundabout). 

Dibba Pottery

The East Coast was pretty but relatively humid compared with the drier mountains. There are a couple of resort hotels but they seem right out of place.  I was hoping that I might be able to see some forests or glades of trees but it was still the same very dry desert environment.  Highlights were a couple of Hoopoes (one of my favourite birds) and a Purple Sunbird that rudely interrupted a mobile phone call home (the bird was higher priority this time, sorry Lyn!).

Sandy BeachWent for a swim at Sandy Beach near Snoopy Island – a beautiful spot next to a resort where the expats hang out (the locals go to another nearby beach).  Lots of gulls and terns to keep me amused trying to identify them. 
Came back a different way via Ras Al Khaimah and found some other wetlands after climbing the top of a coastal dune.  More flamingos with lots of waders that I could not get close to but could pick out Curlew, Redshank and Oystercatcher.  Up to 45 species in total now for the UAE!

Al Riffa wetlands

Back home by 7.30 pm quite tired after driving about 400 km.  Feeling a lot more grounded now having got out and about a bit to see the countryside.

Off to the Dubai World Cup today!!  Sort of like Melbourne Cup and Oaks Day all rolled into one.  Not too sure about having to wear my suit today but it’s an evening program so it should have cooled down a bit later.                                                                                                                      


One Response to “Head for the Hills!”

  1. Nerida Hart Says:


    Just loving your blog – it is so far from my world – please keep entertaining me 😎



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