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