Hidden gems of Sharjah’s east coast

Sharjah’s unique and authentic heritage seamlessly combines with its modern infrastructure and hotel facilities to add to the emirate’s overall global appeal.

Sharjah, a popular tourist destination, exudes a certain charm that draws visitors from all over the world to its shores. Its unique and authentic heritage and beautiful nature seamlessly combined with modern infrastructure and hotel facilities add to the emirate’s overall global appeal.

Renowned for providing an unparalleled experience, the emirate is a cultural metropolis and incubator of thought, art, and literature, boasting picturesque heritage neighborhoods, beautiful museums, and bustling cultural centers, among others.

Part of Sharjah’s unique characteristics is its terrain. This is especially evident as one drives along the east coast, where charming beaches, towering mountains, and lush oasis meet. On this side of the emirate, which is less than two hours’ drive from the city, tourists flock to famous attractions such as Dibba Al-Hisn, Khorfakkan, Kalba, and other areas. The east coast is known for its breathtaking mountain and coastal views, bringing relaxation and peace to visitors who are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the big cities. Its quaint islands and environmental reserves carry secrets of nature well-worth exploring, being the center of biodiversity and habitat for many species of birds, wild animals, and marine fauna.

Shark Island: Habitat for birds and marine life

Located off the eastern coast of Sharjah, Shark Island can be accessed via boats. This island, which is renowned for its unique rocky nature and diverse ecosystem, is considered one of the emirate’s most important tourist attractions. On the island, which is scattered with anemones, different types of fish and marine fauna cohabit, including sea turtles, moray eels, stingrays, and Arabian angelfish.

Huts are available for rent on the island, where tourists can explore a range of enjoyable recreational activities, including swimming, diving, and fishing.

Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre: Haven for mountain and desert animals

Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre,  located on the Hajar Mountain, is adjacent to the city of Kalba, and extends over an area of 12 square kilometers. The Centre has a diverse ecosystem and is home to 30 species of mountain and desert animals that have made the area their natural haven. The animals in this vast reserve include the Arabian leopard, wolves, Tahr, the caracal (desert lynx), snakes, lizards, hedgehogs, and scorpions, among others.

Providing visitors with an integrated and comfortable experience, the Centre offers golf carts to facilitate movement around the reserve. Tourists are guided and accompanied by teams who have expert knowledge about the history of the reserve and wildlife in general.

Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre also features a night exhibition, allowing visitors to closely observe the life of desert animals and their close interrelationship with the surrounding environment. Furthermore, it organizes activities to promote the protection and conservation of endangered animals, biodiversity, and nature.

Al Qurm Nature Reserve: A unique combination of tall trees and beautiful waterfowl

Located within the coastal area of Kalba, the Al Qurm Nature Reserve covers an area of 4.9 square kilometers. The reserve is considered one of the UAE’s most unique ecological sites thanks to its diverse plant, bird, and animal species. At the heart of this reserve are the mangrove trees.

The reserve is home to several rare waterfowl, most notably the Arabian collared kingfisher, which is classified as an endangered bird. The beach next to the Al Qurm Nature Reserve, is a refuge for marine reptiles, including loggerhead sea turtles and green turtles.

The ecosystem here is divided into two main environments: the mangrove tree forest and the marine environment. The mangrove trees in the area, some of which reach a height of eight meters, are characterized by their beauty and hardiness. Growing naturally in the region, these trees can withstand seawater salinity and low oxygen levels. The trees also provide a valuable layer of protection that reduces the impact of storms, currents, tidal factors, and soil erosion.

The marine environment consists of an artificial lake, a haven for algae that play an important role in the photosynthesis process that provides food for marine life. The Mangrove Reserve is an excellent destination for tourists looking to embark on fun outdoor activities such as kayaking, hiking, and birdwatching.

‘Al Suhub Rest House:’ Integration of beauty of nature and engineering creativity

Al Suhub Rest House, which is located in the city of Khorfakkan at an altitude of 600 metres above sea level, represents the true combination of natural richness and engineering creativity. One of the UAE’s pioneering projects, it features a two-story, 2,788-square-meter rest house with a restaurant, a café, separate prayer rooms for men and women, a children’s play area, and other exceptional facilities.

Al Suhub Rest House is surrounded by green spaces, which reflect the latest innovations in forest architecture and landscape design. These green spaces include 8,700 trees that give an extra touch of beauty inspired by nature. It also includes indoor and outdoor balconies to enable all visitors to fully enjoy the wonder of nature.

Furthermore, is the rest house is connected to the Al Rafisah Dam by a mountain path. This trail is a favorite destination for lovers of mountain sports and adventures, allowing them to enjoy hiking and exploring while enjoying a panoramic view of the city of Khorfakkan.

As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the experience of visitors and advance the local tourism sector, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) continues to highlight the unique beauty of the east coast while showing off Sharjah’s natural, environmental, cultural, and urban heritage. The SCTDA is committed to strengthening Sharjah’s position as a leading regional and global tourist destination. It is also working towards enhancing the emirate’s presence in the global tourism markets, attracting more international tourists, and enticing more foreign investments to the local tourism and hospitality sectors, which play an important role in the economy of Sharjah and the UAE.

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