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Masfoot

Masfoot is one of those places I go back to again and again. Lying on plains between rugged mountains, it has beautiful views, lots of fresh, clean air and a relaxed pace of life! It has many parks, several dams, a walkway, camping areas, a fort and museum, hiking and mountain bike trails and more.

Surprisingly, it belongs to the emirate of Ajman and also borders Oman, the emirate of Sharjah and an enclave of Dubai (Hatta).  There are plans to turn it into a tourist resort by 2030 but it’s lovely and quiet for now.

Masfoot

If you head towards Masfout Museum, many places mentioned here are on that side of town. (That’s the Hatta side, so it’s an easy stopover if you’re going to or from there).

Before we start, names have changed a little over the last few years and I’ve updated my post to reflect that. Masfout Castle is the large fort which is now also the museum. Masfout Fort is the watchtower halfway along Masfout Walk. Finally, the little white watchtower on the hill opposite the museum is called Al Boma Fort. (I won’t confuse you with any more watchtowers!)

Masfout Castle and Museum

Masfout Castle or Fort stands on a plateau and is now open as a museum.  Masfout Museum has been wonderfully done with clear and engaging displays and lots of information about the history, some of which at least may be new to you. Don’t miss the fantastic view over the valley before you leave.

 The opening times are 8am -8pm daily and the entrance fee is 3dhs. See more on Masfout Museum

Al Boma Fort

On the hill opposite the museum is Al Boma Tower, a watchtower with an even better view over Masfout and Hatta. You have to drive up a steep gravel road and park on the plateau at the top. From there, go up the steps to the fort. Before the tower are ruins of an old house or store and a shelter with benches and a fantastic view. Al Boma Fort is my favourite sunset spot in Masfoot after Jebel Abyad.

Masfoot Walk is a paved walkway from the dam through the eastern part of the town and ends near the castle. A waterway runs along it in winters that see a reasonable amount of rain. Unfortunately, at the moment, it’s dry.

There are many benches along the walkway to enjoy the view and at night, the path is lit with street lamps and lamp garlands. One area has large shelters and another has smaller ones.

Our favourite spot!

Halfway down the Walk (and the road to the Masfout Castle), you’ll see a watchtower on a mound and a cafe called Prestige. It’s a gorgeous spot to sit and relax, take in the view, listen to the sounds of the birds and enjoy fresh juice. I must confess that we have never eaten anywhere else in Masfoot and always go back here because it’s such a lovely place. Also, my daughter loves their Nutella crepes!

They have other desserts, lots of fresh drinks, and some savoury options, such as chicken crepes, pasta, and burgers. They are very reasonably priced and the staff are friendly.

Since I took these photos, the sheltered area has been enclosed with ac for hot weather and there is new, more comfortable furniture. However, my recommendation is to sit outside and enjoy the surroundings.

Masfout Oasis 

A detour from Masfoot Walk takes you to Masfout Oasis and through a farming area. When you reach a fork, the left path takes you to the old mosque, Bin Sultan Mosque.

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Bin Sultan Mosque

Bin Sultan Mosque, built in 1815, is in the farming area at the foot of the mountains. Follow the sign for Masfout Oasis.

It was built using gypsum, clay and palm fronds, as many buildings were at that time. It has been restored and is still in use today.

Parks

Both Al Warqa Park (Monday and Wednesday for ladies only) and Al Muzeera Ladies Park are well kept and have play areas and facilities.

 

Rocks and Rock Formations

If you are interested in rock formations like me, you can see many interesting ones. Drive along the main road toward the Oman border and Madam for some limestone formations that are entirely different from the main Hajar mountains. The last photo shows the contrast between the two. Other rocks, like the ones in the middle below, are dotted around. The first one is at the entrance to Masfut from the main road from the Hatta side.

Masfout Museum has a section about the different types of rocks in the area; there are more than you might have thought! It’s definitely worth a visit.

Picnics, hikes and bikes

If you want to sit somewhere remote for a picnic, there are wide open plains at the foot of the mountains near the Oman border (not the border crossing, further south.)

There are also several new mountain bike trails on Jebel Abyad, which you might use for hiking if no event is on and no one is around. It has fantastic views over the valleys.

Masfout Camping Huts and Al Jazer Dam Park

The park sits between low mountains and next to a dam. It has shelters, concrete barbecues, benches, a small play area, and toilets and is free of charge. This is just one of many areas with shelters around the town that make it easy for families and friends to enjoy the mountain weather more comfortably and at no cost.

This hidden gem in the UAE is next to the Oman border on the road from Madam. Unfortunately, you can’t go on that road (unless you’re a GCC National) and must take the E44 towards Hatta/Masfout and then drive through the town.

Wadi Masfut

A road next to the Gulfa water plant takes you up the mountainside. Unfortunately, the bridge over the wadi is broken but you can take the turn to the left shortly before it. Once down that road, you can enjoy a view over the town, a walk around or an off-road drive.

Swir Rest Area

After taking the exit to Masfoot/Muzeira from the E44, keep right and look for the turnoff soon after. The road goes along the foot of the rocky hills and you’ll come to some camping huts, some private, some not so.

There are large private huts on the right side of the road and some new developments with small shops. I’m not sure what else is coming there but it will be interesting to see.

On the other side are shelters dotted around the area, some large, some small. A few are near the roadside and others are up on the hill. There are also easy walking trails along the mountainside. These are perfect for walks with young children or for easing into hiking. I couldn’t tell you how long the track is as there are lower and higher ones and you can take different routes.

This is an excellent spot for families and friends to enjoy the outdoors. Even in the summer, late afternoon or evening is quite pleasant. Remember that inland is the place to escape the humidity when it starts!

Kholaiban Dam

Khulaiban Dam, Masfoot

Kholaiban Dam is another spot with camping huts and sits near the southern border with Oman. There is also a play area there.

How to get to Masfout

How do you get to Masfout? Go on Maleha Rd E102 in the direction of Fujairah/Kalba, turn onto the E44 towards Hatta, and then look out for the exit to Masfout. You can check the Glimpses of the UAE Map for the exact locations of the places mentioned above.

If you’re looking for a place that offers tranquillity rather than organised activities, this is the place for you!

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Is it Masfoot, Masfut or Masfout?

The official spelling from the Ajman government seems to be Masfout. I first wrote this post quite a while ago and used Masfoot when it wasn’t so clear. I haven’t changed that, as people may have saved the post and I have multiple links to it. However, I’ve used all three spellings in this post so that people can find it more easily when searching.

 
There are np hotels yet in Masfoot, but if camping or glamping isn’t your thing, book Hatta Fort Hotel to use as a base to explore Masfoot.

What else can I combine this with?

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This post was first published in March 2020 and last updated on 8 October 2022.

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