Ever wondered why there is a tiny bordered land within UAE? The story of Madha, Oman

Madha is in Oman and bordered inside UAE. Yes, you read it right. Let me revisit, Madha’s borders are surrounded by UAE and inside the Oman Governate is Nahwa which is part of UAE. Confusing? Let’s get on the map

There across Madha, as you can see is Nahwa. Nahwa which is a part of Sharjah, UAE.


The history goes back way before the formation of UAE. It in its early times belonged to the ruler of Ras Al Khaimah (or Qawassim as they were called), then taken by force by the Shihuh of Dibba Bai’ah around the late 19th century. Then around 1930 to 1940 according to the piece in Wikipedia (not the best for citing I know), the 4 leaders of the Musandham Peninsula from rival clans were asked of their alignment and other than the Madhani clan, all of them aligned with UAE. The others were Al Qassimi of modern day Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Fujairah. Thus as the Nahwans decided to remain aligned with the UAE, Nahwa enclosed in Oman is a part of Sharjah, UAE.

Man standing surrounded by dark brow mountains around him

Traveling there


It is the only open border part of Oman and is a common passway for people visiting Nahwa. (This is not legal advise) Mainly from people’s experience, a visa hasn’t been required. However advisable that you have an insurance applicable for Oman.

Things to do

1) Drive up to Hilltop restaurant

I found it interesting mainly for the ease in being able to view almost all of the city without having to hike. There’s a restaurant too (obviously), which we didn’t have the chance to try as it was a Friday and we arrived in the morning. Location

2) Food carts

There are some interesting kebab spots around the road, like this one. However they open in the evening. Honestly my key excitement was getting to have Omani food but no, shops were closed 🙁 and we were short on time so had to keep moving. Here is an interesting restaurant to try though.

3) Sadah Dam

Timing depends here as when we got here, it was dried up. Still a nice view none the less. Location

Tarun Krishna smiling with the mountains behind him and a fence covering the Sadah Dam

4) Drive through

Drive through the streets of Madha and notice how there’s so much in similarity and the differences as well. It’s a kind reminder to me to always resonate with our commonalities and align with our differences. Make sure to avoid disturbing the locals at all costs.

5) Nahwa, Sharjah

This is where it’s exciting (for me haha), just try to picture it, there is a UAE, enclosed in Oman, enclosed in UAE. If you plan to drive be warned the road is really rocky. We managed with a tiny car though, it was like a Chevrolet Aveo. One of the bystanders said, he’s managed with a tiny car on tougher roads, keep going.

This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. We take no liability for the accuracy of the information and cannot be held liable for any third-party claims or losses of any damages.