5 Best Places to Visit in Al Dhaid
Al Dhaid is the main town in Sharjah Central Region and there are lots of plans to develop it. For now, these are 5 Best Places to Visit in Al Dhaid this winter!
Al Dhaid Fort
Al Dhaid Fort is around two hundred years old and has been restored to its former glory. Inside the fort is a fantastic museum on the history of Al Dhaid and local traditions.
The large courtyard has towers at each corner. One of these housed the prison where unlucky criminals bided their time awaiting punishment.
Another tower contained the living quarters of the sheikh and other rooms, including stores and a madbasa, or the date press room.
The museum exhibits on the ground floor are in a glass-enclosed area, which allows you to enjoy the museum in a cool environment but still see the fort. This makes it a perfect place to visit in the hotter months.
Al Dhaid Fort museum is beautifully done with clear information boards. Guides are on hand to explain more about the traditions.
The courtyard has a coffee shop, a shaded seating area and a part of the old falaj, or irrigation system. Al Dhaid was a thriving community with many farms that received water from the falaj.
There is a heritage area in front of the fort and regular festivals take place here.
Al Dhaid Fort opening times: Sat–Thurs 8am–8pm, Fri 4–8pm
Al Dhaid Fort entrance fee: Free
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Al Dhaid Oasis and Souq
Opposite Al Dhaid Fort, you will see small stalls where local vendors sell goods and food during festivals. If you go behind that, you’ll find some small shops and coffee houses.
If you’ve never had camel meat and want to try it, you could drop it into Camel Burger. They have burgers, shawarma, arayes, etc., all made with camel meat and a nice indoor seating area.
To the right of the fort is Suhaila Souq, another indoor souq with cafes and shops selling spices, material, clothing and so on. Beyond that is Al Bait Al Jadeem, a large restaurant with a terrace and falaj water channels running past.
Take a walk through Al Dhaid Oasis and enjoy the tranquillity and the birds chattering. Work is still in progress but the paved area is complete on the main route. However, some of the side paths are still under construction.
On the way, you pass farms and a small mosque, Masjid Al Shari’a. After that is an optional detour to the watchtower. It’s surrounded by construction at the moment but you can still get a clear view of the ruin atop a sand dune.
Back on the main path, further down is an outdoor cafe serving coffee, sandwiches and snacks. This is a lovely spot to sit and relax, chat with your friends or even work on your laptop. It opens daily from 4pm to 11pm.
Continue further and follow the signs to visit Al Dhaid Old Palace, where you can see artworks on display.
This exhibition is part of the Sharjah Biennial and will be open until June 2023, however, the Old Palace will no doubt host other events in the future.
Built in the 1960s, Al Dhaid Old Palace is a simple, modern building and only worth visiting to see an exhibition or event.
If you come back in a few months, more areas will be open. There are lots of plans for the area.
You can check my walk around the oasis and Al Dhaid Museum/Fort area on Wikiloc here.
In the area near Al Dhaid Fort is a spot for camel rides, which cost around 10 dirhams. They usually start later afternoon into the evening.
Next to Al Dhaid Oasis is Umm Salama Mosque.
Al Dhaid Wildlife Centre
Al Dhaid Wildlife Centre focuses on life in the desert of humans and the animal and plant world.
To avoid having disappointed children, let me point out that there is no live wildlife at this centre and it shouldn’t be confused with the Arabian Wildlife Centre on Al Dhaid Rd. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting!
The centre has eight halls, each with a different focal point – Al Badia, Al Dhaid, Desert Fantasy, Desert Animals, Birds and Herbs and Insects. Each has various exhibits with information boards, interactive points, and wall-size video shows.
You can learn about different types of dunes, what the different types of Bedouin tents were made of and why, what the essential items for Bedouin life were, different types of plants in the area and what their popular uses were (you might be surprised!), the role of birds in their lives, biodiversity in the desert and much more.
You can wander around at your leisure or take a guided tour. In addition, they often have special children’s activities during occasions such as Eid (from the second day) and National Day.
Al Dhaid Wildlife Centre Opening Times
Mon–Thurs 9am–6:30pm, Fri 2–6:30pm, Sat–Sun 11–6:30pm, closed Tuesday.
Al Dhaid Wildlife Centre Entrance Fee
Adults AED 10, children under 13, resident senior citizens and PoD free.
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Sharjah Safari is another excellent addition to Al Dhaid City and opened in early 2022. The park is spread over 8 squared kms and is home to over 120 species. It has several zones and which ticket you buy determines which zones you can enter.
For bronze tickets, it’s AED 40 (plus VAT) for 13 and above and AED 15 for 3-12 (free for 0-2). At this tier, you get entrance to the bird section and turtles only, plus an exhibition on the animals of Madagascar.
The bird section has an excellent educational interactive display. However, it took just an hour for us to finish this area.
At Zanzibar Village, there is a cafe serving different types of food like burgers and so on from around 10:30 and a small restaurant serving coffee.
There is also a picnic area and a play area, so if you include all that, your visit could take 2-3 hours.
If you have a silver ticket, you can continue beyond Zanzibar with the safari ride through the savannahs, etc. The silver ticket costs AED 120 for adults and AED 50 for ages 3-12.
Here you drive through a few different sections with various animals, including wildebeest, blesbok antelopes, impala and crocodiles before stopping at the safari camp. There was a nice play area, a cafe with a buffet breakfast and lunch and a nice view.
After a 45-minute stop, the journey passes white rhinos and perhaps a glimpse of the lions before moving on to the giraffe area.
They come up quite close and there are currently some calves. There are also elands and gazelles and in the next section, you can see the ostriches.
The gold ticket costs AED 275 for 13+ and AED 120 for 3-12 or 1500 for six people in a luxury car. There are other packages with a private guide.
This ticket allows entry to the Serengeti Plain, where the lions and zebras live and the Niger Valley, which is home to the elephants.
Please note that 5% VAT is added to all ticket prices mentioned.
Bear in mind that when you go to other places where you see all the animals up close, it’s usually because of their restricted space.
So while it may not be easy to see all the animals here, it’s partly because of the large area they have to roam rather than being kept in an inappropriate space.
Unlike other EPAA Shj parks, there are no ticket concessions here.
Sharjah Safari Opening times
During winter months only. Daily 8:30am–6:30pm, last entry for silver and gold 2pm and bronze 4pm.
Sharjah Safari Entrance Fee
Starting from AED 40 for adults. See the pricing structure within the info above. Add 5% VAT to the ticket price.
Book an evening at the Sunset Lounge at Mleiha
Al Dhaid Camel Race Track
On weekend mornings, you can watch camel racing at this Sharjah camel race track. They are also usually out for training other mornings and early afternoon onwards.
Camel racing takes place during the winter, generally starting in October until March.
Al Dhaid Camel Race track (and club) is closer to Mleiha than Al Dhaid City, so if you’re coming from Dubai or Khor Fakkan Rd, it is easier to access from Maleha Rd (S116/E102). It’s also an excellent place for a cycle or long walk.
Al Dhaid Camel Festival takes place in February or March and a new camel festival is also set to start in Al Dhaid Square to accompany the races in the winter of 2022/23.
In 2023, Al Dhaid Camel Festival takes place from 24 to 26 February.
Location: Al Dhaid Camel Race Track is just off the E55 and close to the E102 (Maleha Rd)
Other places to visit in and near Al Dhaid Sharjah
Al Dhaid Desert, Al Dhaid Cricket Ground, Al Manama, Mleiha, Al Faya, Al Madam, Sharjah Desert Park, Falaj Al Mualla, Batayeh Desert, Al Ghayl
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- Are dogs allowed at Dhaid Fort and Oasis? No, no animals are allowed.
- Where can I eat in Al Dhaid? There are plenty places to eat in the area, such as the small cafes serving traditional food near Al Dhaid Heritage Area, Omar Al Khayyam restaurant and many others.
- Where can I find Al Dhaid Farm stays? The best place to find them is on Instagram. Try #uaefarm.
This post was first published on 6 January 2023 and updated on 19 February 2023.