After visiting Abu Dhabi and the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman-UAQ-RAK pentafecta of emirates yesterday (which epic-ness will be hard to beat), we woke up early and enjoyed breakfast at the hotel-with-hostel vibes at our lodgings in Rove City Centre . . .
. . . before heading further off-the-beaten-path an hour away across the country to Fujairah, the only emirate with a coastline solely on the Gulf of Oman and none on the Persian Gulf.
Madha (Oman), South
From Fujairah we drove from the southern side to the Omani exclave of Madha, located halfway between the Musandam Peninsula and the rest of Oman. It’s a part of the country of Oman located within the UAE.
This is their international border:
Although the boundaries of the UAE were decided in 1969, residents of Madha decided to commit to their allegiance to the Sultan of Oman that began in the 1930s.
You can tell you’re in Oman once the lampposts get all fancy and you see pictures of the Sultan of Oman everywhere.
I just realized I was in Oman proper nearly exactly a year ago. Happy one year anniversary!
Head for the lookout point up by a hilltop restaurant.
The town of Madha below is dead, but that’s probably because it’s over 104ºF outside.
If you keep driving there’s random, newly built dams that serve zero purpose because there’s no water.
Nahwa (UAE), South
And make things more unconventional, after a 10 minute drive you can reach a second-order enclave inside Madha called Nahwa, which is part of UAE Emirate of Sharjah. You can call it a second-order enclave, a counter-enclaves, or as Sean’s girlfriend Chelsea quips: a “conclave.”
To access Nahwa, take the northernmost road into the Madha enclave south of Khorfakkan and follow the signs to New Madha. From New Madha, there is a paved but winding road that eventually leads to Nahwa.
There is no official border crossing between Madha, Nahwa, or the greater UAE. Just 2 flags and a 40m strip of no man’s land in between.
Madha/Nahwa is mostly empty. The population altogether in this region is less than 3,000.
Madha (Oman), North
And through Nahwa we exited in the north back into Omani Madha. This part of the enclave is mostly gravel and hills:
Then out from Madha of Oman, it was back into the UAE.
Other than Google Maps, the only way to know is a tiny blink-and-you’ll-miss-it white marker up a small climb.
There’s a little oasis here. So we forego’ed the undeveloped “tourist road” in favor of “restricted access.” Nobody bothered us.
And after less than hour driving around, we returned on an hour’s drive back to Dubai. Seeing that today was a much shorter day than yesterday, we opted for an early dinner/late lunch with a traditional Mandi at Al Nadeg in the Deira district of Dubai.
And at 6pm we took advantage of our early evening by making an impromptu visit across Dubai Creek on a 5 dirham local boat.
On the other side we explored a bit of Old Dubai including Dubai Fort:
…and the souqs:
We then hydrated with bougie coconut water and tea at the Arabian Tea House:
. . . before heading back across the creek to check out the Gold Souq, the largest concentration of cheap gold anywhere in the world:
You can find the Guinness Book Of World Records’ holder for “world’s heaviest gold ring.”:
Tomorrow Evan gets in for our drive up to Musandam Oman!
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- At time of posting in Nahwa, it was 32 °C - Humidity: 51% | Wind Speed: 5km/hr | Cloud Cover: hazy & hot