I first visited Shawka Pools back in 2014, when my local friend took us to this beautiful place. We were dune bashing not far away from Shawka when Hassan suggested to take us for a quick dip to clean off the sand. I was scepticale about what I heard, but curious to know about it. So off we went, and to my surprise, it was one of the very significant places in the UAE.
This pretty stream runs across the wadi bed and between the hills for about 3-4kms. Though I would not rate Shawka pools as a canyon, it is more of a wet hike, but adventurers seeking some entry-level canyoneering can indulge in this place.
Over the years, I have seen an increase number of visitors to this place, and it is not shocking that the place has been left with garbage and graffiti on the walls. So plesae do not be one of those visitors, in fact, pick up some of the plastic laying around 🙂
It is named Shawka pools for a reason, because it is wet. The path starts with a pool, which you can avoid by climbing on the right side of it. The entire path is a mix of wet rocks with light streams of water, gravel, solid rock and a wadi bed. Overall it is not a hard path, but be cautious of your steps, as it can be very slippery.
There is only one route in and out of the canyon. This route starts with the infamous pool, which is in fact the only pool. The rest of the route is a stream of water with few small pools. There is barely any elevation gain and runs around 3-4km in the wadi, and ends by a nice/old oasis just before a quarry. The return is the same way in. But, if you are an experienced hiker and have skills in navigation, you can pretty much climb a hill nearby and find your way back to your car on the ridges.
You can actually link it to the infamous Wadi Shawka Route
Shawka Pools route, the zoom in section is all the wet section
Needless to say, hikes in UAE and Oman are demanding due to 2 major factors:
- Weather, it is very hot in the region, which requires you to stay hydrated. Always take extra water with you.
- Such Wadi is prompt to floods when there is heavy rain, so keep an eye on the weather and make sure your car is not parked at the bottom of the wadi where the water flow.
- Harsh terrain and extreme drops: the geology of the area is very hard and harsh. The terrain is hard on the feet and joints, especially with the altitude gain/loss in short distances. So wear a good pair of high ankle shoes and use trekking poles.
So carry sun cream, sun-glasses, emergency blanket, head-light, lighter, hat, trekking poles, hiking bag with waist straps, water, more water, healthy snacks and food for the day.
And inform someone who knows when you are starting the hike and when you expect to return
Suitable to most fitness levels. If you like hiking, you have no excuse not to exercise to increase fitness. After all, you want to enjoy your day comfortably. And it is one thing to complete a goal while suffering, but it is a lot more rewarding when you achieve it while you are enjoying the process.
I like the scenery of Shawka pools trail as I feel I am hidden from the city and in this mysterious and secret place that very few know off. Best time I have been there is of course during winter time when the sun is about to set. it is also great for photographers.