Road trip to Hatta & Hajjar Mountains (Oman) – English

Hatta is a small village in UAE literally enclaved in the Sultanate of Oman (our neighbor country). The Hatta area is one of the top weekend adventurous getaways for UAE residents because it is located only 100km from Dubai. The most popular elements in the area are the Hajar Mountains and the famous Hatta (natural) Pools, both being quite unusual geo/hydrological features in our predominantly sandy Emirates!

A beautiful mosque in the village of Hatta, surrounded by date palms with the mountains on the background

Reaching Hatta from Dubai has absolutely no complication. The only point to highlight is that you will need to drive through a “leap” of land belonging to Oman before re-entering UAE and reach Hatta village. This means crossing to checkpoints (not proper borders though). Although our passports were not even flipped, it is highly advisable to carry them with you and have them ready when crossing these controls.

This is our GPS-tracked itinerary: we re-entered UAE and visited Hatta, then a short stopover on Dam Hatta, drove to Hatta Pools, and went back to the main road through the mountain tracks. All pretty much doable with any car (even with a 2WD or sedan), but an SUV, a high-clearance car or 4WD is advisable to get closer to the pools

Hatta Village is quiet and humble, substantially different from Dubai or Abu Dhabi. The village is crowned by a couple of watchtowers from the XVIII century. Perhaps the nicest thing is the contrast between the white mosque, the greeny date palms, and the darker and sometimes reddish mountains surrounding the village. Between the watchtowers, you will find the Hatta Heritage Village, a kind of reproduction of various local traditions, modus vivendi and, quite interestingly, the different types of dwellings and houses that have been used locally in the past. It is pretty much in a “eternal under construction” mode, but it is still worth to give it a try.

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One of the XVIII century watchtowers crowning Hatta village, used to protect from external attacks in the past

A series of traditional dwellings have been reproduced and can be visited in the Hatta Heritage Village

Another interesting highlight in the area, is the Hatta Dam (yes, stagnant non-salty water in UAE!), which is very easy to reach through a properly paved small road from the southwestern side of the village (check the map).

Dam Hatta (visibly quite empty…) located at some hundred meters south-west of the village

Road leading to Dam Hatta with quite interesting reddish mountains on the background

Having reached Hatta, we couldn’t stop the tour here and we embarked ourselves on a quest through the mountains tracks to find the famous Hatta Pools. You can again take a look at the map above, because any of these tracks are marked on Gmaps. You will only find them in local purchased maps, or off-road itinerary books.

Starting our rocky route! Hatta Pools are just about 4-5km on the south-east of Hatta

As mentioned before, all the tracks are pretty much doable with any car (either 4WD or 2WD), but a 4×4 with good clearance is clearly advisable if you want to get really close to the pools by car.

Interesting Martian rock formations on our way to Hatta Pools (when you live in sandy land you learn to appreciate even the minor change in the landscape!)

Once we reached the main Hatta Pools spot, we quickly noticed how frequently people might be camping in the area. It is nice to visit the pools, but I must admit it is very disappointing the way visitors have treated this nice spot, as there was a considerable amount of trash around the area and even spray graffiti’s on the walls of the natural pools. That’s the reason we decided to stopover in a couple of further and smaller (but much more welcoming) pools.

We were happy to see that some water was still running on the pools, as this heavily depends on the season

Just a shot of some other pristine water natural pool we found on our way back to the main road

We closed our roundtrip by taking a decent paved road you will find at the end of the main track, and head again the main road (E-44) back to UAE.

End of the route, slightly before joining again the E-44 to head back home

If I need to wrap-up, this is a very feasible half-day road trip if you are departing from Dubai, and a little bit more intense if you do the same from Abu Dhabi. It is worth for the ones that want to have a flavor of the Omani mountain landscapes without spending on hotels or visas. Also, and most importantly, this would probably be the only opportunity to see some natural freshwater flowing in UAE!

Just a last sensible message for those visiting the area. Keep Hatta clean!

See you on the next post, AbuPhampi the Spanglish-man.

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2 responses to “Road trip to Hatta & Hajjar Mountains (Oman) – English

  1. Pingback: Bumpy drive between the clouds: Wadi Bani Awf (Oman) | Abu Phampi·

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