After my Indian visa got rejected for my Diwali trip (long story), there was only one thing for it… road trip and camping! Gave rung round the girls, gor the camping gear ready and headed out to the desert to await the Orionid meteor shower. The camping season is starting again in the UAE now the weather is cooling down a bit so why not get involved!
Camping at Fossil Rock
We were 3 ladies and a wolf dog on this trip and our chosen spot was by Fossil Rock in Sharjah, officially called Jebel Maleihah, around one hour drive from Dubai. Fossil Rock is so-called due to the abundance of marine fossils that can be found on its slopes. This area is rich with the fossils of shells and small sea creatures that were on the ocean floor millions of years ago when water covered much of Arabia. These were created when limestone formed around their shells to make a mould, which then solidified to leave a perfect imprint.
It seems Fossil Rock is a favourite spot for the local dune buggy and 4×4 drivers so you can expect the constant revving of engines to be heard in the distance, probably not the best camping location if you’re seeking a noise-free getaway from the city.
It was nearly sunset so it we had to quickly unpack the car to get the tents up. Thanks heavens for the easy to pitch tents that take less than two minutes to pop up and put the sand pegs in, happy days! This still gave us time to practice our archery skills with the bow and arrow before it went dark.
We built the fire to cook our mushrooms and Arabic pitta bread, simple but tasty. We laid back to patiently wait for the Orionid meteor shower, unfortunately the peak was the following night but we were lucky to see some flashes which are the rocky debris left behind by Halley’s Comet. The sky is always clearer in the desert away from the city, it is so calming to get lost in gazing at the various constellations.
Sunrise at Fossil Rock
We woke up at the crack of dawn, there is something very magical seeing the desert at sunrise. One piece of advice I have for you, if you ever go camping with a wolf dog I recommend you take your shoes inside the tent as I guarantee they won’t be fit to wear again! The tent came down as quick as it went up which made packing up super easy.
Driving through the desert to the main road, a large group of camels trotted towards us. The wolf dog had refused to get in the car and was running alongside the car, there was a nervous moment as they checked each other out. Bang, they got on like a house on fire! Glad he’d jumped in the car when we drove past the feral desert donkeys though!
Exploring Wadi Shawka
Thought an early morning hike would be just the ticket so went to explore Wadi Shawka on the eastern exteriors of Ras Al Khaimah bordering Sharjah. Unfortunately, there was a lack of water due to an extremely long and hot Summer. If you’re looking for a longer hike, you can walk the 10km around Shawka Dam. We had to get back to Dubai but we were happy to have a little scramble up the wadi and a gentle stroll in the beautiful outdoors. Much more of this to come in the UAE now Winter is here…