Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: Want to enjoy sandboarding off the ‘Big Red’ sand dunes? Or paragliding 5,000 feet in the air, with a panoramic view of the Sharjah desert? There are several adventure activities that you can enjoy this winter in Sharjah, and here is a list of the top 10 experiences that combine Nature, adventure, history and culture.

1. Al Rafisah Hiking Trail

Al Rafisah hiking trail sharjah
Image Credit: Supplied

This trail is perfect for Nature lovers, as it offers great views of the Hajar mountain range from a height, culminating at the Al Suhub rest area, 600 metres above sea level.

Location: Near Al Rafisah Dam, Khorfakkan Road (S142)

Hiker’s checklist
• Water – more than you think you will need.
• Snacks.
• Proper hiking/walking shoes.
• Sunblock/hat.
• Take a friend unless you are very experienced.
• Always stay on the trails or research the route you are going to take.
• Make sure you have checked the weather.
• Tell someone where you are going.
• Be respectful – you may see many farm workers and local community members on your way, as well as other hikers.
• Always keep emergency numbers saved on your phone.

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2. Al Rabi Tower

Al rabi tower sharjah
Image Credit: Supplied

This trail is not just great for an outdoor exercise, it also brings in a bit of the UAE’s history. The Al Rabi Tower in Khorfakkan was built in 1915 as part of a network of defense systems used to protect the city. Walk up the mountain trail to enjoy a panoramic view of Khorfakkan city against the backdrop of the Gulf of Oman.

Location: Take E99 to Khorfakkan, and then take the turn for Seaport Street from the Khorfakkan Square roundabout. The hiking trail parking lot will be to your right.

3. Al Badayer (Big Red)

Al Badayer
Al Badayer Image Credit: Supplied

The Al Badayer desert area along the Al Madam Road (E44) offers visitors with multiple options for quad biking, camping or camel and pony rides. With several private companies offering desert experiences, a trip to the Al Badayer desert can be a great experience with family and friends. When there, keep your eyes out for the saffron-coloured 'Big Red,' the largest cluster of sand dunes near Sharjah.

Location: Take the E44 highway towards Sharjah and you will find the Al Badayer desert area before the road ends at the Al Shuwaib-Umm Al Quwain Road (E55).

4. Wadi Shees Nature Trail

Wadi Shees Nature Trail
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This trail is not just high on the adventure quotient, but also offers scenic views of Khorfakkan, with the Al Rafisah dam along the way as well as panoramic views of Khorfakkan, once you reach the summit. The 1.8 km trail also offers the chance to witness local wildlife and native species of plants along the way. Remember to stop over at the Shees Rest Area, to enjoy local fruits and traditional snacks.

Location: Take the Khorfakkan Road (S142) and when you reach the Shees Rest Area, take the internal road, headed towards Shees Park. The hiking trail starts near the Al Qouay Pond.

5. Fossil Rock

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Al Wathba Desert aka Fossil Rock in Abu Dhabi at sunset Image Credit: Ghadir Shaar/Gulf News reader

If you are a paleontology enthusiast, how about journeying through time at the Fossil Rock and Buhais Geological Park? The area has a marine fossil-laden rock formation, offering a glimpse into millions of years of the earth’s history and the early species that once roamed the planet. The Sharjah Tourism department recommends visiting the fossil rock in the early morning hours or late in the afternoon, to not just immerse yourself in ancient history but also enjoy the mountain trail views.

The Buhais Geological Park nearby also focuses on the area’s prehistoric and geological significance, with five interconnecting pods resembling fossils, with interactive displays of Sharjah's mountains and sand dunes.

Location: Clearly visible from over 25km away, Fossil Rock is located near Mleiha, an hour’s drive from Sharjah city. You can reach the location by taking either Maliha Road (S116/E102) or the Al Shuwaib-Umm Al Quwain Road (E55).

6. Mleiha Archaeological Centre

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Enthusisats gathered at Sharjah’s Mleiha Archaeological Centre to have a closer look to Jupiter. The event was lead by Nirmal Rajah, Prabhakaran and Anurag Amin, educators at Mleiha Archaeology Centre, explaining about Jupiter Opposition and educating about other planets and stars. The Jupiter opposition happens when Jupiter, The Earth and the Sun are aligned in the same line. 26th September 2022. Photo: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan

If you want to explore the history of civilisation, how about going back to the Bronze Era? The Mleiha Archaeological Centre offers the chance to explore the Umm an-Nar tomb, a circular Bronze Era grave, as well as the history of ancient Bedouin civilisation. You can also enjoy desert adventure there, through activities like horse riding tours, trekking, hiking, dune bashing or quad bike riding, and overnight camping.

Location: Near Fossil Rock.

7. Sharjah Safari

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Sharjah Safari is the world's largest safari park outside of Africa, spanning eight square kilometres in the Al Dhaid area. It is home to over 120 African animal species, and up to 50,000 animals, including lions, elephants, giraffes, black and white rhinoceros, crocodiles, deers, bulls and many other endangered animals.

Location: Near the Al Dhaid Area, off Al Shuwaib-Umm Al Quwain Road (E55/S105)

8. Wadi Al Helo – the ‘sweet valley’

Wadi Al Helo
Image Credit: Supplied

On this hiking trail, you will once again get a mix of Nature and history. The picturesque location is home to an important archaeological site, Bronze Age ruins, and a restored Islamic watchtower. Declared a Nature reserve for its abundance of endangered birds, reptiles, rodents and freshwater fish, trekking along the valley trail offers a hike and an immersive, calm experience.

Location: Take the Sharjah Kalba Road (E102) towards Kalba and you will find the valley 20km southwest of the coastal town of Kalba in the eastern region.