Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Hatta Track Is Closed

English: 18th cent watch-tower, Hatta, UAE
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We tootled off into the Hajjar mountains, a merry little party of merry-makers and nieces on our way to take a whizz up the Track Formerly Known As The Hatta Track. As eny fule no, that track has now been transformed into a metalled road, the bumps evened out and the surface a ribbon of blacktop threading through the arid and majestic moutains.

The Hatta track takes you to the famous Hatta pools, a series of pools in the wadi bed, long strewn in graffiti but still beautiful. It takes you through the mountain villages of Rayy and Shuwayah, past the lovely Oleander Waterfall (now only accessible if you really know what you're doing, the original gatch track that led right up to it having long been washed away in a winter spate) down onto the plains that will take you to Al Ain and Buraimi.

Only now it won't.

We got to the UAE border point on the track, formerly only a sign on the open road and then a police post where your ID would be requested and glanced at before proceeding, only to be told that this time round, it would be as far as we were going. There had been trouble with the inhabitants of the village beyond the border point and people had been 'angry', the Omani police had been involved and there was a vague mumble about too many Europeans.

So that was it. Turned back. No Hatta track. Not even the NoFun OneCal blacktop one.

First Wadi Bih and now this. Pants.


Anonymous said...

You can still access the Hatta Pools by turning right at the Shell gas station (between the two UAE check points on the Hatta road. You pass through an Oman border post that currently only checks your passport and perhaps insurance before letting you through w/o having to buy an Oman visa (of course that may change one day). After about 30 km, there's a road to the left that snakes back through to the pools and the border post where you were stopped. All boring paved roads, though.

Alexander McNabb said...

The original Hatta entrance only required an ID card to be flashed when you went through (before that there was no border post or fence at all). Now it's a total no-go - and I was told it would be just as much a nogo if I had an Omani visa as it was with ID cards/Passports.

That may not be the case on the Madam/Mahdah road (turn right at the Shell station) - or, indeed, coming up from Al Ain. Neither route crosses the 'troublesome' village near Hatta itself.

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