On Friday 17 February 2012, more than forty adults and ten children went on the first field trip organized by the Fujairah chapter of the Emirates Natural History Group (ENHG).
Most were expats, about six were Emiratis and one tourist from Argentina who had visited the Tourism Department Office to enquire about Fujairah tours and was encouraged to go on the Bithnah tour.
People gathered at the HCT—Men’s College before traveling in convoy to the village of Al Bithnah, 13 kms away on the old Fujairah to Dubai road.
First stop was the Bithnah fort, outside which acting chair, David Edwards, gave an introduction about the fort and this significant east—west trade route.
“We had the pleasure of coming out here on a paved road that took us minutes to traverse. In the not too distant past, Wadi Ham was the route to reach Fujairah and it took six hours to travel to Dubai by 4X4 and longer by the 4 footed and 2 footed.”
This wadi has often been a battle ground over the centuries. The Bithnah fort may have been constructed between 1745 and 1808. Up on the mountain ridges are the remains of a number of lookouts and watch towers that would have added to the protection of the village.
This is a rich area archaeologically with many excavation teams discovering graves, temples and household items that go back beyond the Pre-Islamic period to the Iron Age.
The group spent 45 minutes exploring the rooms, the turrets of the fort and enjoying the amazing views of Wadi Ham and the Bithnah township.
There was discussion about the pros and cons of renovating old structures like the fort including the challenge of restoring old sites without destroying their original features or adding new aspects that never existed!
The rest of the time was spent walking the farms that belong to members of the Al Kaabi family. This included an Arabian horse stud (watching the beauty of the Arabian horses and getting the chance to ride), viewing gazelle and oryx in a large mountain enclosure, enjoying peacocks, doves, chickens and generally breathing in the mountain air and feasting the eyes on the scenery.
There was a chance to view some camels, which are used largely for racing in the town of Dhaid, and walking around an old market garden and date farm where old and modern methods of cultivation are being deployed.
Take a Look
Many people took photos and some are posted in the following photo albums for people to enjoy.
Photo album by Karla Castle
Photo album by Moza Al Kendi
Photo album by Jovin Job
Photo album by Geoff Pound
If you have not filled in a Membership Form (no fees until later in 2012) download your copy at this link and email it to David Edwards: firstname.lastname@example.org
Indicate the topics you would like to hear about at the regular monthly meetings and the places you’d like to visit after downloading the Interest Form at this link. Again please email your completed form to David Edwards: email@example.com
Brien Holmes Talks About the Emirates Natural History Group in Fujairah, FIF, 16 February 2012.
Visit Bithnah on First Field Trip of New Fujairah Natural History Group, FIF, 12 February 2012.
Fujairah Chapter of Emirates Natural History Group is Launched, FIF, 4 February 2012.
Natural History Group Pledges to Show the Real Fujairah, The National.
Emirates Natural History Group—Fujairah Commences 1 February 2012, FIF, 25 January 2012.
Image: The Bithnah fort may have been constructed between 1745 and 1808.
More Fujairah news, resources and photographs are posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page