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Madha

Madha Oman

A trip to Madha Oman always makes me feel like I’m going back in time. Between the narrow, winding streets, the goats roaming everywhere, the old coral walls and the colourful designs on the traditional gates, I feel that I’ve entered another world. It’s always a welcome escape.

So what is this magical place called Madha?  It’s an Omani enclave completely surrounded by the UAE, and so also has no border control either way. It can be easily accessed either via Wadi Shees or from Mirbeh, Fujairah.

What’s even crazier is that there’s an Emirati enclave inside this Omani enclave! UAE inside Oman inside the UAE. You can read more about the Sharjah enclave of Al Nahwa here.

As soon as you enter from the Mirbeh side, you know straight away that you are in Oman. Oman is just different. Goats wander the streets, Omani architectural designs can be seen in the mosques and government buildings and the houses all have traditional elements in their design too.

Madha

 

If you come from Mirbeh, you pass through the main town and head into the hills through narrow winding streets. Further up, you can take different roads to Sahna Dam and beyond or pass through Nahwa.

There are also several parks with play areas and picnic areas dotted around in the Omani part, such as Sadah picnic area. Whether there is water at the dams depends on whether there has been rain.

 

Just after the town, on the right, is the Madha farm area. Although, you can’t go in the farms themselves, it’s lovely just to walk through them and enjoy the lushness of the area. If you come across irrigation pools, stop and look out for wildlife.

Apart from the tiny fish, there are all sorts of dragonflies around of different colours. Look out for frogs too near the water and beautiful butterflies and birds in the greenery.

Madha Banyan Trees

The centrepiece though has to be the old Madha Banyan trees.

Camping in Madha

There are many places for camping in Madha. If you take the right turn after coming from Wadi Shees (or left turn after turning off the main Madha road to Wadi Shees) and go straight, there’s a small valley at the end.

Another good spot for camping in Madha is at the end of the main Madha road which stops abruptly but continues off road. You can go further or find somewhere near the road if your car can’t handle the road.

With a 4WD you’ll have more options. You can’t really get lost in Madha even without signal as you’ll end up in Madha, Fujairah or Wadi Shees before long.

A great spot for camping in Madha is the camping/barbecue area past Sahna Dam. (Turn off from the main road and continue past the park overlooking the dam.).

Hiking in Madha

There is a hiking trail in Wadi Hora. I haven’t done this yet so don’t have any photos to share. There are several recorded trails on Wikiloc ranging between three and nine miles and varying levels from beginner up.

The trail takes you through greenery, by freshwater pools and even an abandoned car!

From Madha through Nahwa to Wadi Shees

On the Nahwa route, you pass through a lush green oasis before coming out into a wadi and later a valley. If you follow the sign that says UAE-Oman border, there is a new road which takes you through the valley and stops abruptly, but it takes you to a lovely spot for camping and picnics.

There are also several parks and picnic areas dotted around in the Omani part as well as a few farming areas.

Before the end of this main road, there is a left turn that takes you down to a junction where you can turn left to another smaller valley or right through the farms and up to Shees.

At the junction, turn left to Shees or you can take a walk through the rocky path on your right. Going up the steep hill takes you back to Nahwa. You can also access Wadi Shees this way via Nahwa but it’s best to have a 4WD/AWD for this. Here are a couple of photos on the road. One part, near Shees, is quite steep going up and down.

Search Accommodation near Madha and compare prices

How to get to Madha

If you’re still not sure how to get to Madha, there are two options. To do the above route in reverse, take the Khor Fakkan Rd and the turn off to Wadi Shees. In the winter, the road is closed off if the area near Shees Park gets too busy. (See more on Wadi Shees here.)

Drive through the village, carry on off road through the wadi until you come to the end and can go left or right.

The left turn goes up a steep hill, is single track all the way and the road can get a little rough. Continue down this road to Nahwa and out the other side.

The right turn takes you through a farming area then when you get to the asphalt road, turn left onto it. Keep going until you reach the main road. Turn left towards Madha town or right towards a valley and plains. Don’t be fooled by the sign for the Oman-UAE border. You won’t see any border an off road routes are closed.

The other option is to go from Khor Fakkan towards Fujairah. After the fountain roundabout, you pass Khor Fakkan Expo on your right and University on the left, look out for the sign for Madha. Make sure you don’t end up on the new flyover.

If you’re coming from Fujairah, head towards Khor Fakkan and once you get to Mirbeh, look out for the signs. If you miss them, just turn back at the fountain roundabout in Khor Fakkan.

What you need to know about going to Madha

There is no border control at Madha but it is Omani territory and, therefore, you should have car insurance that covers you for Oman. This is not something you can but at the border like other manned borders so you need to have an orange card in advance.

If you’re not sure if you’re covered, check with your insurance provider and if you’re covered, ask them to send you a copy. A PDF is fine.

Whilst this didn’t use to be an issue, I’ve heard a few reports recently of spot checks and people being fined.

As it is Omani territory, the signal will switch to the Omani telecom network, either Omantel or Oredoo. Unless you’re paying for roaming which is pretty expensive these days, check your route before you go, or just see where the road takes you. You’ll eventually come back out as long as you don’t go off the main roads.

Places to stay in Madha

Skape to Nature sits next to the farming area and amongst greenery. You can see more here. Please do tell us where you found them. There was another place on AirBnB but it seems to have disappeared. Mirbeh and Khor Fakkan are the closest locations to stay but you could also combine it with a stay in Fujairah City or Dibba. Search Accommodation near Madha and compare prices

(This post was first published February 2021 and updated on 10 June 2022)

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News article on Madha

 

 

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