Wadi Naqab is another must-do hike in the UAE. This intermediate beautiful hike is known for the village on top of the mountain.
The starting section of Wadi Naqab is a graveled road that goes along the Wadi (canyon) bed. This section goes for about 2km* of a relatively easy horizontal path (*this distance might vary based on where you start from, as some 4×4 can drive further into the hike compared with other cars).
The second section of Wadi Naqab starts at a fork (2 possible paths), take the right one (navigate south). The left fork takes you east-south on a different & longer route (check routes section for more details).
This section is mostly steep, with a visible donkey path, some man-made staircases to avoid scrabbling and rails whenever protection is needed on exposed sections.
I know of 2 routes, right and left fork. The right fork is the most common route of Wadi Naqab. It is less challenging but remains a steep path that requires a good level of fitness and preparation. The left fork is a longer path and few harder sections and not as visible (I do not recommend you taking this route if you are not good in navigation and unguided)
The left fork route is commonly called “the alternative route”.
There are few other routes that require climbing techniques and ropes to abseil down a few vertical sections, please do not attempt to do these without a skilled guide. Many got lost on Wadi Naqab attempting to explore on their own.
Needless to say, hikes in the 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. The last time I was there, I had to give my extra bottles to a group of hikers that were underprepared and were suffering from dehydration.
- 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 supported shoes and use trekking poles to avoid injuries (especially for those who have knees issues).
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 knows when you are starting the hike and when you expect to return.
Start as early as possible so you avoid descending in the dark
I have seen unfit people completing the hike, however, this is very risky. And if you like hiking, you have no excuse not to exercise to increase fitness. After all, you want to enjoy your day comfortably. 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.
Like most of the Wadis in the region, the wavy canyons surrounded by drop cheer walls is stunning. On the right fork route, a very nice bat cave is situated on your left hand side, located on about the 1/3rd of up the path. Take pictures and don’t touch the bat shit, they are not healthy for humans.