• An expatriate guide to living in Umm Al Quwain

    Umm Al QuwainUmm Al Quwain is the least populated of the seven emirates and is not yet known for expat life, however this has not deterred developers from planning and developing the area into a residential area. The name, Umm Al Quwain, means "Mother of two powers" and the emirate officially joined the UAE in the early seventies. The emirate is nestled between Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah and is located along the vital trade route between Asia and India.

    The main industries in the emirate remain fishing and date cultivation. There is still an abundance of plant, marine and wildlife in this fairly untouched state. However, the impact of the upcoming development on the environment is yet to be seen. Umm Al Quwain has six forts, some watch towers and a lagoon that is popular with bird watchers due to a large number of mangroves and birdlife.


    The north of the lagoon is known as being the hub of the activity that goes on in this quiet emirate. This is where all the action happens. There are a few residential developments that will see UAQ develop into a residential area of over a million inhabitants within the next years. The most popular attractions in UAQ today are Dreamland Aqua Park and Barracuda Beach Resort, which is well stocked with duty free liquor.

    It is said that Umm Al Quwain (UAQ) is the best place in the world for people who enjoy sounds of waves and peace. Sailing in the calm water of lagoon offers best and most interesting sailing in the Northern Emirates.


    Climate


    The weather in UAQ is not very different to the weather in and around the UAE. The winter months are pleasant and see many people enjoying the out doors. This is when the temperatures are at their lowest and vary from 15 to 30 degrees celsius between the months of October and March. The summer temperatures tend to rise into the high 40s and the humidity becomes quite unbearable. Rainfall is rare in this desert region and the average annual rainfall is just 42 milliliters.

    Environment


    Umm Al Quwain FlamingoesAl-Sinniyah island, close to the town of Umm al-Qaiwain is home to the UAE's largest Socotra Cormorant colony, with over 15,000 pairs making it the third largest colony in the world. This black bird is endangered which makes it a special sight. The bird is known for diving for its food.

    Arabian gazelle have been introduced to Sinniyah and appear to be prospering. Marine life is remarkable for its abundance and diversity. Blacktip reef sharks patrol the outer shoreline, while green turtles are ubiquitous in the inner leads in particular.

    Between Al-Sinniyah and the mainland is Khor al-Beidah, an expansive area of sand and mud flats of international importance for its waterfowl.
    Although not formally protected, the island of Sinaiyah, along with Khor al-Beidah, is one of the largest areas of undisturbed and varied coastal environment remaining anywhere in the UAE.

    Things to do


    Water Sports
    The waters in UAQ are crystal clear and ideal for adventurers and water sport enthusiasts. Snorkelling is popular and there is a lot to see when venturing under the waters of UAQ. Furthermore the emirate is ideal for water-skiing, kayaking, wind-surfing and jet-skiing. The explorer in you can sail and canoe and spend the day exploring the mangroves and deserted islands that surround the emirate. The wildlife is abundant and the lucky visitor will be able to see an array of birdlife, insects, fish, pink flamingos, turtles, crabs and jumping fish in their natural environment.

    Quwain's Corniche is the best place in World for those who enjoy the sounds of waves and peace. Smoking "Shisha" could be the best moment at UAQ's Corniche in night for those who love Shisha in peace. Especially in chilly Winter nights.

    Falaj Al Mualla Garden Park
    The park is ideal for families and children who want to spend some quality time together in the out doors. It is more than just a park and has swimming pools, barbeque areas and a playground. It is a lovely place to spend the whole day relaxing.

    UAQ Motor Racing Club
    It offers speed junkies the opportunity to test their skills and get their adrenaline pumping on the dunes with an array of activities including buggy racing and dune motor hiking.

    Bird watching
    There are a few islands around UAQ including Al Sinniyah Island that house some spectacular and rare bird communities. Keen bird watchers will be able to see the birds in their natural and undisturbed habitats. The species of bird that can be seen include the heron, plummer, flamingo, gulls, terns and cormorants.

    UAQ Marine Club and Riding Center

    The club is located along the beach and offers riding lessons to the experienced and novice riders. The center has a large stable of horses and qualified instructors.

    Camel Racing

    This is one of the UAE's most popular sports. The race track at Al Labsa offers an interesting and spectacular drive. One can see camel caravans here that travel from one race track to another.

    UAQ tourism


    UAQ fortUmm Al Quwain Fort:
    A fort which was once home to the emirate’s ruler and guarded the entrance to the old town, overseeing the sea on one side and the creek on the other. It eventually became a police station then a museum. The museum now houses artifacts found at important nearby sites including Al-Dour and houses a collection of weapons that were used through the emirate's history. It is located near a Masjid (Mosque) in Umm Al Quwain
    Bazaar.

    Old Harbour

    An old harbour located in the old town overlooking the traditional dhow building yard where skilled craftsmen continue to assemble these traditional boats. The harbour is surrounded by old coral stone houses that display features of the original architecture and intricate sculptured plaster work.

    The Aquarium
    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.

    Islands of Umm Al Quwain
    Islands that 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 that runs between the islands provides a navigable waterway for fisherman even at low tide when the average depth is less than a few feet.

    Al-Dour
    Located roughly where the town of Umm Al Quwain is now, it is considered the largest pre-Islamic site on the Persian Gulf coast. Al-Dour was an important trading port from about 200 BC to 200 AD. Thousands of graves are found among the houses of Al-Dour. In some cases the larger tombs contained the remains of more than one individual, perhaps a family. There are two public monuments at Al-Dour, a small square fort with round corner towers and a small square temple.

    Dreamland Aqua Park
    The largest water park in the UAE is located on the coastline of Umm Al Quwain; about 40 minutes drive from Dubai, with 250,000 square meters expanse of landscaped gardens and over 30 rides, slides, and attractions. The Park is operated all year round with a daily capacity of ten thousand visitors.

    Accommodation


    UAQ is a mere thirty minute drive from Dubai and many people are relocating there due to the peaceful lifestyle and the low housing prices. Emaar had a new marina development in Khor al Beidah along the marina offering high class marina living that has become so popular today. The Umm al Quwain marina is a popular residential area.

    Getting switched on


    Documents needed to connect to FEWA:
    Residential and Agricultural Water & Electricity connections :
    Connection application form.
    NOC from Municipality.
    Title / granting deed / Plot plan.
    Copy of Civil registration / ID / Passport (UAE Locals).
    Copy of Passport / ID (Non-locals).
    Load card (for electrical connection).
    Copy of wiring contractor license.
    NOC from utilities.
    Certificate of completion / building license.
    Drawings approved by FEWA.
    Undertakings.


    Documents required for temporary or permanent disconnections
    Electricity and Water Disconnection (Temporary or Permanent) :
    Filling Relative form.
    Copy of ID / Passport of Landlord or his attorney.
    Letter from applicant (Landlord) showing reasons of disconnection in case of temporary disconnection.


    You can pay through:
    Main FEWA office in Dubai.
    Our offices located in the northern emirates.
    Safeer mall - Ajman.
    Emirate post.
    Dubai Islamic Bank ( Al Islami online banking)
    Emirates NBD.
    Emirates Islamic Bank.


    Schools


    There are a few schools in UAQ that cater to both the local and expat community. There are nursery and primary schools. Thereafter parents opt to take their children to school in Sharjah or Dubai depending on where they work and what school appeals to them. Here is a list of schools in UAQ:

    Butterflies Nursery and day care centre
    Situated in the heart of Umm Al Quwain has been established to meet the needs of today's children. Butterflies is a home away from home with a happy, caring atmosphere. "Butterflies" has been beautifully designed to provide quality care and education in a safe and stimulating environment.
    Tel: +971 6 7664205
    Fax: +971 6 7664201
    email: info@butterfliesnursery.com
    http://www.butterfliesnursery.com/contactus.htm

    The International Schools of Chouefait
    SABIS® is a global education management organization that is distinguished by a 125+ year track record in the operation of Pre-K and K-12 schools. The distinguishing mark of these schools is their implementation of the SABIS® Educational System. It is a system that offers a rigorous, internationally-oriented, college-preparatory curriculum for students aged 3 to 18+, focusing primarily on the core subjects of English, mathematics, sciences, and world languages.
    Al Hamra, Clock Roundabout
    Tel: (+971 6) 766 5888
    Fax: (+971 6) 766 2088
    http://www.iscuae-sabis.net/Pages/Schools/Umm_Al_Quwain/Contact_Us.aspx

    The Elite American School
    The Elite American School seeks to create a challenging learning environment that encourages high expectation for success through stressing the total development of each child spiritually morally, intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically.
    Tel : 06-7672555 / 055-7055112
    Fax : 06-7672226
    E-mail : eliteamericanschool@gmail.com
    http://www.eliteamericansch.com/Website/contactus.aspx

    The New Indian School
    The New Indian School, Established in 1982 is a Modern Educational institution run by a private body, abiding by the rules and regulations of Ministry Of Education, UAE. The Government of Kerala has sanctioned Centre for the SSLC Examination to the school from March 1997.
    Tel : 06 7666965 / 7663946
    Fax : 06 7663947
    Email : nisuaq@emirates.net.ae
    http://www.nisuaq.com/main.php

    Healthcare


    Umm al Quwain is located just thirty minutes from Dubai, hence it is accessible for non-emergency hospital treatment. However in an emergency situation the Umm al Quwain Hospital is located on King Faisal Road in Al Raas. The hospital does not have a website but one can contact the hospital via email (uaq_hospital@maktoob.com) or telephone (06-765-6888).

    There are also clinics and pharmacies in Umm al Quwain for everyday needs and to get a quick check up.

    Easow`s Specialist Clinic
    Eye Clinic and Pharmacy
    Open 9am - 1pm and 4:30pm - 8:30pm (closed on Fridays)
    Phone06 7654647
    King Faisal Road Umm Al Quwain

    Al Haram Pharmacy
    Tel: +971 6 7660292

    Al Mulla Pharmacy
    Carrefour
    Tel: +971 6 7647364
    Fax: +971 6 7647346

    Salma Pharmacy
    Tel: +971 6 7671162

    Getting About


    There are no buses in UAQ but taxis are plentiful and are the main means of public transport. The inhabitants of the emirate also drive as a car becomes quite necessary if the residents commute to Dubai, Sharjah or Ras Al Khaimah for work.

    For more information on Expat Life in the UAE visit www.expatwoman.com
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