Shawka Camel Farm Hike
My love of hiking and exploring different areas grew just a bit more this season. With such great weather, I was able to seize many opportunities to get outside and go hiking in the UAE! One hike I found and really loved was the Camel Farm Hike near Shawka. The hike itself, at approximately 4km in and 4km out, is not that difficult for most adults and children to handle. However, you are walking through an uneven wadi which can be surprisingly tiring on your legs (knees especially.) Family and friends have joined me many times and everyone says the same thing "I can't believe this is only an hour from Dubai and we never get out to enjoy it." The Camel Farm Hike has interesting scenery, the right distance for a half day hike, and my favourite feature-seeing camels!
The Google Maps coordinates for the parking and beginning of the hike are 25°03'30.9"N 56°00'48.6"E (or you can type 5.058583, 56.013500 directly into the search of Google Maps.) It takes roughly one hour to drive from Dubai and the great thing is there is parking right at the beginning of the trail.
Another great tool to have for hiking in the UAE is Wikiloc. This is an app for your mobile that has loads of trails already pre-mapped and ready for you to follow. The app lets you see your route and alerts you when you have strayed from the trail. I highly recommend getting this before heading out for your hike.
The trail changes from wadi hiking to hiking through the valleys. The wadi path is the easy route but there are plenty of opportunities for those who like to climb. You can imagine with three boys, there was a lot of climbing! For the most part the trail is quite easy to follow, however, there are times when two trails intersect and you have to pick your way. This is where wikiloc comes in handy. Even while using wikiloc we managed to get quite far off the trail from time to time. But its quite easy to retrace your steps and get back on track.
Approaching the Camel Farm
The Stars of the Hike- The Camels!
Sorry for all the photos of the camels but they deserve the press. They are one of my most favourite things to see while living in the UAE. It never gets old to shout out "hey look, there's a camel," (and believe me, there are a lot of camels here!) At the farm we had such a good time getting to touch and talk to these fine creatures. But the big highlight was seeing the babies! The camels alone are worth the effort of this hike!
Goats and Sheep Too!
There were goats... or were they sheep? That was the debate we kept on having. We couldn't exactly tell the difference between the two, but the farm definitely had both. I think. The goats and sheep also had lots of babies for us to look at. Sooo Cute!
The goat Graveyard
Be warned, there is an area on the trail, right before the farm, that is the unfortunate site of goats that are no longer with us. I'm not sure why their remains are there, but they are. You will also find many bones along the way. Both of these finds equally intrigued and grossed out our boys. A perfect additio to the hike for them.
You have been warned about the graveyard but don't forget to also be on the lookout for the trees growing in this harsh climate. They are strange and amazing. Amazingly strange!
Time to Climb
Hiking in the UAE gives you lots of opportunities to climb. The camels were the highlight for me but for our three boys, the climbing was it!
If you are looking for something different to do this weekend, I recommend heading outside and exploring another side of this interesting country. One day it will be time to pack up and you will think "I wish I had seen more of the UAE."