Umm al Quwain

article - Umm al Quwain

Umm Al Quwain (أمّ القيوين) is an emirate between Ajman and Ra’s al Khaymah on the west coast of the United Arab Emirates.

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The mangroves, with the city of Umm al Quwain (as it looked in 2012) in the distance

Umm Al Quwain, one of the 7 members of the United Arab Emirates, covers an area of 800 square kilometres and stretches from the beautiful, lush green coastal mangroves lining the shores of the Persian Gulf, inland across the rolling sand dunes to the fertile oasis surrounding Falaj Al Moalla.

The inland oasis and hinterland town of Falaj Al Moalla lies some 50km from Umm Al Quwain city.

From November to March temperatures are idyllic and average 26oC in daytime and 15oC at night (79oF to 59oF). Temperatures can rise over 40oC (104oF) in the peak of the summer and the humidity levels are high. Rainfall is minimal and averages 42 millimetres a year. The coastline experiences cooling sea breezes during the day.

The name Umm Al Quwain is derived from Umm Al Quwatain, which means “Mother of two powers”, a reference to the powerful seafaring tradition of this emirate. The modern history of Umm Al Quwain dates back 200 years when the Al Ali tribe moved their capital from Al Sinniyah Island to its present location in the mid 18th century, when the water supply dried up.

There is no airport in Umm al Quwain, however there are airports in nearby emirates Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah.

There are no buses in Umm al Quwain. People generally take taxis, which are plentiful. A taxi around the central section of UAQ costs 2 to 3 AED and from the comercial sector (say near Lulu) to the main roundabout costs 5+ AED–

An old well in the Umm Al Quwain Museum
  • Dreamland, +971 6 7681888, fax: +971 6 7681887, e-mail: info@dreamlanduae.com. Ras Al Khaimah Highway; is the world’s largest aquapark. 
  • The traditional activities of fishing, falconry, camel racing and dhow building are still evident in Umm Al Quwain emirate. The Shahin (or peregrine) falcon can be spotted here along with the famous light skinned hunting hawk, the AI-Hur.
  • The dhow building yard where skilled craftsmen continue to assemble these traditional boats is still very much in existence. In the old town, around the fort, the once charming old coral stone houses still display features of the original architecture and intricate sculptured plaster work.
  • [dead link]The Aquarium. Is on the headland beside the new port. Part of the Marine Research Centre and open to visitors by prior arrangement, it features the large variety of fish and sea life found in the region including rays, snakes and corals. Barracuda Beach Resort can arrange group visits. 
  • Happyland is a kids’ heaven with attractive video-games, jumping castles and a lot more a kid wants
  • Islands of Umm Al Quwain lie to the east of the mainland peninsula on a unique stretch of coastline consisting of sandy islands surrounded by dense mangrove forests, separated by a series of creeks. The largest of the seven islands is Al Sinniyah, followed by Jazirat Al Ghallah and Al Keabe, all of which are visible from the old town. Tucked in between these and the coastal plains are the smaller islands of Al Sow, Al Qaram, Al Humaidi, Al Chewria and Al Harmala. The Madaar creek running between the islands provides a navigable waterway for fisherman even at low tide when the average depth is less than a few feet. Barracuda Beach Resort can arrange group visits to these islands.
  • Camel racing – going inland, the road to the Camel race track at Al Labsa affords an exceptionally pretty drive. This lovely race track is set in the lee of large dunes to the left of the road leading to Falaj Al Moalla. During the winter months, the camels race early in the morning on Thursdays and Fridays and spectators are welcome. Camel caravans are a familiar site crossing the desert from one race track to another. The dunes in this area, interspersed with wooded dales, provide a challenging terrain for off road desert drivers or as they are commonly called “dune bashers”. They also offer some of the most picturesque desert camping spots in the emirates promising an unforgettable night under the Arabian stars. Group camping trips can be arranged.
  • Umm Al Quwain Museum is a renovation of the fort of Umm Al Quwain which once guarded the entrance to the old town, overseeing the sea on one side and the creek on the other. The museum houses artifacts found at important nearby sites including Al Dour and provides a fascinating insight to bygone times. Restoration work is scheduled to recreate the aged wall that once surrounded the original settlement
  • Al-Dur was a coastal city from 200 BC to the third century AD. The site, along and to the right of the Sharjah/Ras-al-Khaimah highway, has been excavated and many interesting artifacts put on display at the UAQ museum.
  • Palma Bowling is more than bowling as there is pool & snooker, video games, shisha bar, a beachside restaurant, et al. Egyptian decor with pyramids and mummies. Easily reached by taxi.

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