The Arabian Desert offers magnificent vistas of a vast expanse of endless sands. But despite the scenic landscapes, most visitors are always pleased to discover an oasis amidst this dry wilderness. The city of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates is one such oasis. The port is nestled at the base of the Hajar mountain range on the Gulf of Oman. Fujairah receives more rainfall than most of the region as a result of the mountains and the easterly winds bringing warm, moist air from the Indian Ocean. This climate helps create the numerous valleys in Fujairah, known as wadis, which function as dry riverbeds that fill with water during the rains. The climate also impacts the coastline extending north, which features some of the best beaches in the area.
Guests onboard Nautica were able to choose from an array of excursions offered by Oceania Cruises during their recent call at Fujairah. A visit to the refurbished Fort Fujairah and Fujairah Museum highlighted the region’s history and culture. These photographs illustrate both the barren feel of the desert and the lush vegetation that can suddenly thrive here. In fact, the fort is surrounded by date gardens.
The museum features various artifacts from recent history as well as archaeological finds dating back thousands of years.
To the north of Fujairah is Al Badiyah Mosque, believed to be the oldest mosque in the UAE. It was constructed of mud and stone without the benefit of any wood for support; thus archaeologists are unable to determine its age for certain. A watchtower stands on the hill above the mosque with panoramic views of the wide stretches of surrounding desert.
The local souks, or markets, offer another interesting area to explore. Fujairah’s climate creates farming opportunities, and one can find an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at the souks, in addition to souvenir trinkets, Persian rugs and clay pots. Some souks are seasonal or weekly, and some have swelled to permanent shopping centers that may even feature amusement parks.
Another option for Nautica guests was a photo safari through the Hajar Mountains. Vehicles wound their way through the various scenic passes and even ventured off road, where guests had the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the local wildlife.
As with many ports in this region, Fujairah has historically stood at the crossroads of several major trade routes. And even though it is still a very busy commercial port for oil and cargo containers, Fujairah is quickly gaining a reputation as a relaxed oasis away from the hustle and bustle of other ports in the area. Fujairah offers not only the natural and historical sights described here, but also sunny beaches, bountiful fishing and various water sports. This destination was a delightful stop for Nautica‘s guests before continuing en route to the wonders of India.