Named a protected area in 2009, the Wadi Wurayah National Park is home to a number of endangered species and areas of stunning natural beauty. Set in the craggy Hajar Mountains, its luminous waterfalls and unusual wildlife make it a popular day out for conservationists and tourists alike.
Wadi Wurayah is located just 34km away from our Radisson Blu Resort, Fujairah. A half-hour drive along the coastal road brings you directly to this exceptional national park, taking in enchanting seaside and mountain views along the way.
Admire ancient beauty
Rusted brown cliffs and trickles of fresh water form the ancient landscapes of the Wadi Wurayah National Park in Fujairah. Located within the Hajar mountain range, it’s particularly notable for its compacted rocky formations. The world’s biggest exposed ophiolite complex has been formed over thousands of years, providing rare insight into Earth’s inner workings. Ophiolites are pieces of oceanic plate formed by tectonic forces. When thrust up against continental plates, they showcase the various layers of oceanic crust, upper mantle and sediments that are typically hidden below the surface.
In the park you can look out for these fascinating layered ridges, as well as for the freshwater stream bed of the Wadi Wurayah. The name ‘Wurayah’ is derived from the Arabic word for ‘reeds,’ and this ancient freshwater ecosystem is the perfect backdrop for a nature walk, picnic, or photography session.
Not just a geological marvel, the park also hosts archeological sites that date back to 300 BC. It’s also worth taking a slight diversion to see the Al Bidyah Mosque, the oldest in the country. The four irregular domes of this UNESCO World Heritage Site are constructed from mud and brick, blending into the rocky mountain landscape.
View rare protected species
Some of the rarest animals in the world call the Wadi Wurayah home. If you’re lucky, you might spot unique species like the Blanford’s fox, Arabian leopards, mountain gazelles and caracals – a type of cat with distinctive black tufts on its large, pointed ears. The Wadi Wurayah is also one of only three conservation areas where you can see the extremely rare Arabian tahr, a shaggy goat-like creature, in the wild.
Bird watchers will want to bring along their binoculars to spot some of the 94 bird species recorded within the region, a number of which the International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified as endangered. You might also spot the colorful flash of dragonfly’s wings as you hike through the rugged terrain; an extraordinary array of dragonfly species lives in the Wadi Wurayah, including the bright orange Urothemis thomasi, once thought to be extinct.
Restoring the habitat
Human activities like littering, poaching and overgrazing have all taken their toll on the local wildlife. In recent years, intensive conservation measures have been instated to restore and protect the Wadi Wurayah. The Emirates Wildlife Society and WWF have been tasked by the government of Fujairah to protect this new national park by better managing its valuable resources. The opening of the Water Research and Learning Centre in 2014 was one of their biggest achievements yet. The first organization of its kind within the Gulf region, it offers hands-on learning experiences for groups of volunteers over a five-day period, including fieldwork and wildlife observation.