The swimming pool at Wadi Shawka

The swimming pool at Wadi Shawka

I mentioned in my last post that we spent some time recently at Wadi Shawka.  I’m not sure exactly how to spell it because I’ve seen it spelled multiple ways including several different variations on signs in the village by that name you pass through to get into the Wadi.  The best Wadis all seem to be in Oman but Wadi Shawka in the UAE has some great things about it.  For one, it is very easy to get to from Sharjah and our home at the American University of Sharjah.  The drive is only about an hour from AUS.  You’ll want a little SUV to drive right up to the wadi but a car can easily make it within a few short kilometre hike to the pools. GoogleEarth-Shawka-Map  You can practically drive right up to the first of the permanent pools.  The first pool is an algae filled swamp but right around the corner is a beautiful little pool perfect for swimming.  The rock around the pool looks brittle and sandy but in reality its much like cement.  This makes for some fun climbing and bouldering.

This second pool is really the only one worthy of a swim but a little hike deeper into the Wadi presents some interesting views and some good fun.  The easiest way to get past that first pool is to swim across but you can climb over the rock face to the right.  This is a pretty easy climb, in our first trip out with folks from AUS there were 4 year olds climbing over it.  For those afraid of heights though there are a few tricky parts.

Boy Jaron

Jaron relaxing in a rock hammock soaking up some sun.

You can easily spend hours around this natural pool, swimming, jumping from the rock faces, bouldering around the outside of the pool or just plain relaxing.  There is a tiny bit of graffiti and as usual a little trash.  The next time we go out we will take a few garbage bags and spend an hour or so combing the place.  Surprisingly, compared to other places we’ve been and considering how accessible this spot is, the trash is at a minimum.  It may have something to do with the large sign at the entrance to the Wadi proclaiming large fines for littering.  Somehow I doubt that though.  I expect a few locals spend a little time taking care of it.  So, “thank you” to whomever works to keep this place an enjoyable spot.

Shawka Pools Panoram

Camping is possible close to the pools but you’ll only find space for one or maybe two small tents.  We had a much larger group.  We setup camp under that no littering sign which is about 3 kilometres from the wadi.  It has plenty of room for many tents and its right off the gravel road so you can pull right up.  Wood is sparse so you have to bring your own for a campfire.  We found a hollow 4 foot chunk of palm tree that we got started with a little lighter fluid.  It burned beautifully and for hours.  It took a while to really get going and we actually rolled it away from our fire pit because we thought it was only going to smoulder.  Then we ended up dragging it back.

Lisa took enough video that I thought I’d see what I could do with iMovie.  So here is a little video of our fun.