Ajman is the smallest emirate situated between bustling Sharjah and serene Umm Al Quwain Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Dubai: Your Expo 2020 trip doesn’t have to end there – in fact, it is only just the beginning. Ajman is the smallest emirate situated between bustling Sharjah and serene Umm Al Quwain, but it too has a story to tell.

Lush with culture and history, Ajman hosts magnificent fortresses that once guarded delicate mountainside villages from looters. It is also lined with grey mangroves that protect the sapphire coast’s ecosystem as well as the intricate shoreline.

Ajman is divided into three main regions:

  1. Ajman City: The capital of Ajman, it is located directly on the coast with a natural harbour and hosts more than 90 per cent of the emirate’s population.
  2. Masfout: This landlocked enclave is located south of the UAE, surrounded by mighty Hajar Mountains. It is best known for its fertile land and marble.
  3. Al Manama: Positioned on the foothills of the Hajar Mountains in the east of the emirate, Al Manama is another farming enclave where local trees and sunshine honeybees say hello.

Getting to Ajman from the Expo 2020 site

Directions to Ajman City

  1. Merge onto Sheikh Zayed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street (D54) from Expo Road
  2. Take the ramp to (D57)
  3. Stay on (D57) heading to Jebel Ali
  4. Take the ramp to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (E311)
  5. Take exit 86 towards Hamriyah
  6. Merge onto Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (E311) via ramp to Dubai/Abu Dhabi
  7. Take exit 47 towards Ajman/Al Zorah

Travel time: 1 hour 1 minute.

Directions to Masfout

  1. Get on Expo Road
  2. Take the ramp to Al Maktoum International Airport/Dubai World Central/Headquarters
  3. Merge onto Emirates Road (E611)
  4. Take exit towards Sharjah-Kalba Road (E102)
  5. Get on the ramp in Ras Al Khaimah from Sharjah-Kalba Road (E102)
  6. Slight left onto Dubai-Hatta Road/(E44)
  7. Take the exit towards Masfout

Travel time: 1 hour 33 minutes.

Note: Non-GCC nationals should avoid Dubai-Hatta Road (E44) as it passes through the Oman border.

Directions to Al Manama

  1. Get on Expo Road
  2. Take the ramp to Al Maktoum International Airport/Dubai World Central/Headquarters
  3. Merge onto Emirates Road (E611)
  4. Exit onto Al Dhaid Road/(E88)/(S128) towards Al Dhaid/Al Fujairah
  5. At Hisn Square, take the 3rd exit onto Al Dhaid Road/Al Daid-Falaj Al Mua’lla Road/Al Shuwaib – Umm Al Quwain Road/(E55)/(E88)/(E105) heading to Fujairah/Masafi/Falaj Al Mualla
  6. At Mosque Square, take the 1st exit onto Al Dhaid-East Coast Road/(E88)/(S104) heading to Fujairah/Masafi
  7. At Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Bin Huwaidin Al Ktebi Square, take the 3rd exit and stay on Al Dhaid-East coast Road/(E88)/(S104) heading to Eastern Region
  8. Take the (E18) ramp to Ras Al Khaimah/Manamah
  9. Continue onto Al Manama – Ras Al Khaimah Road/(E18)

Travel time: 1 hour 13 minutes.

Things to do in Ajman City

Ajman City
Ajman City Image Credit: Twitter/@ajman

1. Al Zorah

A suburb crafted with the idea of a thriving community on the waterside, Al Zorah is located 25 minutes away from Dubai International Airport and 20 minutes away from Sharjah International Airport. Sixty per cent of its area has been devoted to protecting mangroves.

Al Zorah Nature Reserve: Home to thick mangrove forests and nearly 58 species of birds including pink flamingos that tip-toe across sparkling lagoons. Here, you can experience the Quest for Adventure activity centre, which covers:

– Mangrove Kayak Nature Tour: A fully guided tour of the reserve, accepting passengers starting at four years old.

  • Price: Dh135 (Child between four and 12 years old); Dh175 (Adult)
  • At least one 18+ adult is required to accompany two children
  • Prior booking is necessary, which can be done here: https://questforadventure.checkfront.com/reserve/

– Electric Canoe Mangrove Tour: An hour-long tour of the nature reserve in an electric canoe.

  • Price: Dh80 (Child between four and 12 years old); Dh100 (Adult)
  • At least one 18+ adult is required
  • Prior booking is necessary, which can be done here: https://questforadventure.checkfront.com/reserve/

You can also find cable wakeboarding and ringo rides.

Mangroves Al Zorah Ajman
Mangroves in Al Zorah, Ajman Image Credit: Twitter/@ajman

– Funtastico Splash: It is an inflatable water park aimed towards children from two years old to 12. It features bouncy castles, slides and games.

  • Price: Dh50 (Child); Free (accompanying adults)
  • Timings: Sunday to Wednesday, from 3pm to 11pm; Thursday to Saturday, from 3pm to 12.30pm

2. Al Tallah Camel Racecourse

Experience the thrill of camels hurdling across the track as their owners keep up with them via 4x4 vehicles. There is no official timetable, but the racecourse is open to all during camel racing season from October to March on Fridays and Saturdays. There is also the annual Camel Festival held in February.

3. Ajman Corniche

What truly encapsulates Ajman City is perhaps its Corniche. Flooded with tourists and residents alike as they lightly taste the salty sea breeze, the Corniche is where the city is most alive. Not only is it one of the most popular places to live in the emirate, but it is loaded with shops, restaurants and even healthcare services. So, why not stop by and dine at one of the outlets?

Children enjoy a camel ride at the Ajman beach
Children enjoy a camel ride at the Ajman beach. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

What to eat at Ajman Corniche

Along the beach, you will find cuisines ranging from Turkish food to North Indian delights and even cafeterias. For a pair, your dine-out options here will cost you anywhere from Dh55 to Dh320.

Ajman Fish Market
Ajman Fish Market Image Credit: Twitter/@ajman

4. Ajman Fish Market

Wandering the halls of the Ajman Fish Market is an experience where you not only stumble across fresh seafood, but also hand-plucked dates, local jam and bottles of pure honey. You can get the seafood you purchase cooked at a seafood restaurant onsite.

Marsa Ajman
Marsa in Ajman Image Credit: Twitter/@ajman_marsa

5. Marsa Ajman

Overlooking a waterfront, the Marsa Ajman is a newer destination for you to shop or dine at while you admire the sunset behind mirror waters.

What to eat at Marsa Ajman

Streetlights will glow awake while you eat here, where restaurants and cafes will serve you Middle Eastern cuisine from approximately Dh90 to Dh120 for two.

Things to do in Masfout

The Hajar Mountains lull this quiet village and bring with them the escape from high temperatures in summer. It can become your secret hiking spot, but also a rare historical journey as you find a fortress at the end of your expedition.

Masfout Ajman
Masfout, Ajman Image Credit: Twitter/@ajman

Masfout Castle

The castle was built using stone, mud and local timber in the 19th century as a form of defence against bandits. It consists of two rooms and a gate, and was restored in the late 1940s to its former might. The trek up the Hajar Mountains is worth discovering this gem, not to mention the breathtaking view.

Things to do in Al Manama

Tucked in the plains at the foot of the Hajar Mountains, Al Manama is Ajman’s agricultural enclave, home to Asiatic honeybees and the blooming Acacia, Ghaf and Sidr trees. You can continue your historical adventure here:

Al Manama Ajman
Al Manama, an agricultural enclave in Ajman Image Credit: Ajman Travel

Al Manama Museum

The early 20th century ‘White Fort’ that has been converted into a museum. There are seven large rooms, each displaying a unique array of handcrafted weapons, Bedouin jewellery and other remnants of Ajman’s rich culture. The fort consists of a guard tower and a well, and waters its palm tree canopy using the traditional falaj or irrigation channels, drawn from the mountains.

  • Price: Free
  • Timings: 8am to 5pm

- The writer is an intern with Gulf News.