No wonder so many tourists visit Sharjah’s East Coast, where the cities of Khorfakkan and Kalba are full of unexpected treasures and experiences, a must-visit for beautiful relaxing beaches, exciting watersports and high-end resorts..
Sharjah’s East Coast with its many all-encompassing attractions is expected to become one of the emirate’s premier leisure destinations and a speedy 45-minute journey now means that east coast attractions are more accessible than ever. The Al Rafisah Dam offers boating among the magnificent Hajar mountains while the beaches are the perfect antidote to urban life.
The Khorfakkan highway passes through giant mountain ranges, offering stunning views with five pairs of tunnels including the 2,700 metre Al Sidra Tunnel, the longest covered mountain tunnel in the Middle East. Ideally located along the highway, the Shees Park and 1.8 km long Wadi Shees Nature Trail consisting of marked trails and stone steps cut into the hilly terrain, winding through traditional stone dwellings, allows for gentle exercise and inspiring natural views.
The attractive seaside town of Khorfakkan is home to one of the world’s leading container transshipment ports and a key cruise tourism destination with a long history as an important port. Khorfakkan offers a variety of additions to its bastion of attractions with several new and enhanced landmarks. A celebrated local icon, the newly-built Khorfakkan Amphitheatre can accommodate over 3,500 spectators and is an inspiring sight augmented by the magnificent man-made 45m-high waterfall cascading beside it. Nearby Souq Sharq is a testament to the traditional crafting and marketing history of the region, dedicated to the professions that emerged from the local environment, fishing, pearl diving and weaving.
The East Coast offers numerous untouched coastal areas for enticing water adventures. Kalba Beach is a relaxing stretch of shimmering sand and ocean while the nearby Kalba Mangroves Nature Reserve, the most northerly mangrove forest in the world and home to a variety of rare plant, marine and birdlife can be explored by kayak. Tourists can enhance their adventure further by visiting the newly opened architecturally splendid Khor Kalba Mangrove Centre.
The region is home to a myriad heritage attractions, not to mention several museums and historical sites. The Kalba Bird of Prey Centre displays falcons and preserves the age-old falconry traditions of the people of the Arabian Peninsula while the house of Sheikh Saeed bin Hamad Al Qasimi houses many valuable Islamic collectables of cultural importance.
The burgeoning East Coast has a number of future projects on the horizon too. Echoing the tremendous popularity of the rest area of Al-Rafisa Dam, Al Ghayl Dam Lounge will have shady camping spots, mobile food carts and a mountain walk. An extensive plantation project will see a million trees planted around the dam up to the tops of the surrounding mountains. The Book Mountain Lounge, situated at an altitude of 1,100 meters above sea level, will host a restaurant, service facilities and panoramic views. Sports tourism in the emirate comes under focus at Kalba Lake, presenting a range of boats from kayaks to engine powered boats, while 8 passenger ferries tour the lake.
A place apart, the East Coast of Sharjah is brimming with charm, history and opportunity for adventure, fun and relaxation.