Wot you lookin' at, fat 'ead?
It used to be reached through some 18 Km of wadi tracks wending from the main Khor Fakkan-Dibba road. There was a wrecked light aeroplane you turned left at. Each year there was less and less wreck until it wasn't unusual - indeed this became true of many wadi routes - to bump into lost seekers of the wadi clutching copies of Dariush Zandi's 'Offroad in the Emirates'. Published by Motivate, the volume was kept on sale a tad longer than perhaps was wise, so as the wadis changed and so did landmarks, the book became more and more misleading. Zandi's direction to turn left at the wreck lost its charm when there was no longer a wreck, you see...
The 18 Km of heavy going along rocky wadi tracks deterred the vast majority of people, so Wurayah was a haven of peace, tranquility and unspoiled natural beauty. That all changed in a flash when they built a road to it. As I pointed out in this post noting 7Days' 'Save Wadi Wurayah' campaign back in 2011, the rocks turned into something from LA Ink overnight, the wadi became choked with blue plastic bags, cans and broken glass. And I found a bloke running a dirty, clattering generator to power the light bulb hung on a stick outside his tent. All this was back in the '90s, mind...
Last year, the government of Fujairah moved to cement the various conservation efforts being made around Wurayah and declared it off-limits to the public. The UAE's first National Park, Wadi Wurayah National Park, was declared and Wadi Wurayah is now recovering. It had a lot to recover from, I can tell you.
Now the Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS WWF is part of the global World Wildlife Fund) has announced the official launch of a water research and learning programme, designed to give volunteers a five-day insight into the unique ecosystem at Warayah. The scheme is funded by WWF, Earthwatch, the Government of Fujairah and HSBC. In return, their work contributes to a long term water monitoring program being implemented at Warayah.
It's a far cry from the remote spot we used to noodle out to for balmy winter camps and splashing around in cool pools - but if you'd seen the mess people made of it when it opened up, you'd agree no public access is preferable to devastating the place through thoughtlessness and criminal negligence.
And at least they didn't dump a hotel on it, like they did at Zighi Beach, another remote camping spot made ideal for intrepid wadi bashers by a precipitous mountain track that zig zagged up the mountainside. Great one for teachers that: the zig zag Zighi track is brought to you by the letter zee.
And if you really DO want to get into Warayah, you can just hit up the EWS WWF using this here handy link and make yourself useful. How cool is that?