Visit the new Al Hefaiyah Lake in Kalba Sharjah

Al Hefaiyah Lake in Kalba is now open, offering yet another beautiful place to visit in Kalba. Relax and enjoy the mountain view, take a boat on the lake, have a picnic, dine with a view, go on a hike or gentle stroll.

Join me as I share my recent visit to the new Al Hefaiyah Lake, also known as Kalba Lagoon and Al Hefaiyah Rest Area in Sharjah Eastern Region.

view of reservoir with mosque and mountains in background

About Al Hefaiyah Lake

Al Hefaiyah Lake is a reservoir, which is 4 metres deep and can hold up to 155 million gallons of water. Sediment and rock is filtered out of rain water before it reaches the lake to ensure clean water. It is not a traditional round or oval shape but has been created to fit between the mountains and the highway.

view of reservoir with concrete walls and mountains in background

You can drive all the way around the lake to enjoy the views or find a quiet or shaded spot. The distance is 2.3km.

What can you do at Al Hefaiyah Lake

You can easily spend an afternoon or evening here. We stayed for about four or five hours doing different activities and then just relaxing on the grass with a picnic.

Renting a boat or kayak at Al Hefaiyah Lake

You can rent a single kayak or double kayak for an hour or a motorised boat for half an hour. The boats take between two and five people. There aren’t any pedal boats like at other locations and at the moment the number of boats is pretty limited but I’m sure that will change soon.

The current opening hours are from 4pm to 1am daily. The ideal time to go just now is around 5:30-6pm as the lake is mostly shaded by the mountains at that time but you can still enjoy the view before nightfall.

How much is the boat at Al Hefaiyah Lake?

The single kayaks are currently AED20 per hour and the doubles are AED40. The motorised boats costs AED100 for up to three people and AED 130 for 4-5 for 30 minutes. Both cash and card payment is possible.

view of lake from boat

Lifejackets are mandatory and each motorised boat has a walkie-talkie if you need help while out on the water.

Play areas at Al Hefaiyah Rest Area

The play area at Al Hefaiyah Rest Area is next to the restaurant and is divided into two sections for younger and older children.

Dine at Al Hefaiyah Lake

The large building near the entrance houses a large restaurant and next door, a cafe. Both have full length windows across three sides providing a lovely view. They also have blackout blinds for the hotter weather.

Mara is a spacious cafe with indoor and outdoor seating. It serves lighter meals like burgers, sandwiches, salads, desserts, coffee, etc. You can see the menu for Mara here.

Simuli also has indoor and outdoor seating and serves a variety of cuisines including Emirati. It had quite a varied menu and prices seemed average. They aren’t serving a fixed iftar menu but a la carte is available.

Both will open at iftar time (sunset) for the remainder of Ramadan but open till late. (3am for the restaurant and the cafe, last orders at 1:45am.)

Night view of restaurant building

Picnic at Al Hefaiyah Lake

There are a few grassy areas around the sides of the lagoon. Most have parking nearby. The grass was thick and lush and so comfortable to sit on! Benches are also dotted around the sides of the lagoon.

grass picnic area with lake and mountains in background

There is currently no kiosk or shop at Al Hefaiyah Lake so make sure to take all you need with you. Barbecuing and any kind of cooking is not allowed.

Walking and hiking at Al Hefaiyah Rest Area

You can walk all the way around the lake on the wide pavement (sidewalk). The walking distance around the lake is 2.3 km.

walkway around lake and benches, at night

Al Hefaiyah has several hiking trails. They are of different lengths and difficulty levels. The map at the park is slightly confusing for the longer trails as it shows separate parts of trails, but it’s easy enough to work out, especially if you’ve already done the hiking trails at Kalba- Ghayl Dam.

board with map of hiking trails

The Al Hefaiyah Lake Trail goes along the mountainside from one side of the lake to the opposite side. This is 2km and easy. There are some short inclines at the beginning and end and along the way. (See photo below.)

hiking trail with lake and mountains in background

The Eastern Mountain Trail is the next level up from the previous one and goes up the mountainside and across to another mountain. It’s 1.2 km.

You can then combine this with the trail at Kalba- Ghayl Dam, also called Al Furaish Lake, and do a loop to come back. You can see the first part zigzagging on the mountainside in the photo above.

On the map, the Furaish Mountain Trail (Southern) starts on the same route as the Eastern Mountain Trail then cuts across to another mountain.

Furaish Mountain Trail (Northern) is the one going down one mountain to the lake at the dam and Al Furaish Lake Trail is the one going between the two mountains at the dam.

hiking trail on rocky mountain and shallow lake at bottom

It does somehow make sense to show the separate parts as you can make different combinations of the various trails.

If you do the full loop from Gate 1 at the lagoon, cut across north to the mountain top, down that mountain, along Al Furaish Lake, up the mountain and back to the lagoon, it’s just under 10km. For a 12 km hike, start at Gate 2.

hiking trail on rocky ground around shallow lake

See more of hiking trails at Kalba- Ghayl Dam/Al Furaish Lake here.

Al Hefaiyah Mosque

Al Hefaiyah Mosque allows visitors to perform their daily prayers comfortably. Built in Fatimid style, the mosque includes a spacious ladies’ section and an Islamic library.

mosque in fatimid style

What can you not do at Al Hefaiyah Lake?

Just so you know the rules and don’t arrive expecting to do something you can’t, here are the things which are not allowed at Al Hefaiyah Lake:

  • barbecuing/cooking
  • taking a dog along
  • swimming
  • going on quad bikes or cars on the trails or mountains
  • camping
  • smoking sheesha
  • cycling
  • playing with a ball

Just as a heads up, taking dogs and smoking sheesha are not allowed in any public places, such as parks, rest areas and beaches, in the Emirate of Sharjah.

Where is Al Hefaiyah Lake/Rest Area?

Al Hefaiyah Rest Area is on the Kalba Road (S102) and set in the mountains. It’s also just across the Kalba Hanging Gardens and you can easily go from one to the other by car on the old Kalba Road. See my map here.

There is parking near the roundabout as you enter and all around the lake.

rocky mountains lit up green and reflected in lake at night

How do I get to Al Hefaiyah Lake?

I like to go on the Kalba Road (S/E102) as it’s quite scenic. If you take this route, after passing through Al Heyar Tunnel, and then the Hanging Gardens on the right, look out for the exit for the Lagoon or Rest Area.

Follow the road round, then at the roundabout, go right through Lagoon Underpass. If you miss the exit, continue to the roundabout and do a u-turn.

You can also go on the Fujairah Highway (E84), then take the Kalba Ring Road.

From Khor Kalba, take the E102 towards Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre, keep going straight and look out for the exit on the right.

What can I combine a visit to Al Hefaiyah Lake with?

There are so many things to combine your visit it to Al Hefaiyah Rest Area with and many are free, or free for children, making it a great place for a family day out in Kalba. Of course, adults alone can enjoy it too!

Kalba Hanging Gardens is on the other side of the highway and a couple of kilometres along. You can access this by going through the underpass under Kalba Road and going right at the roundabout. You then follow the old Kalba road uphill to the top. You can either park there or go down the other side, join the S102 and take the exit for parking after the tunnel.

view over park with play areas, lawns and restaurant

Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre is just a few kilometres down the road and is home to several indigneous species. It’s mostly indoors so it’s good to plan this for the warmer part of the day.

exterior of al hefaiya mountain conservation centre

Another kilometre or so away is Kalba Bird of Prey Centre where you can learn all about birds of prey, watch a bird of prey show and visit Al Ghayl Fort.

exterior of kalba bird of prey centre, Sharjah UAE

Al Hefaiyah Picnic Park is on the road parallel to Kalba Rd but to the south. Find it on and the other Kalba locations on my map.

Tree and sandy play area with wooden play equipment at Hefaiya Picnic park Kalba

There are lots more places to visit slightly further away and you can fnd all of these on my post 17 Best Things to Do in Kalba Sharjah.

You could also combine it with a visit to Wadi Al Helo or Al Hayl Fort. Both have nice nature walks and hikes for winter activities. Another option is Awhala Fort.

Wrap-up on Al Hefaiyah Lake and Rest Area

Al Hefaiyah Lake and Rest Area is an ideal spot for families or friends to visit and enjoy nature, views, fun and quality time together, whether it includes dining and boating or a free family day out. the ideal time to visit just now is late afternoon once the sun starts to go behind the mountains.

Now it’s time to plan your visit! Don’t forget to check 17 Best Things to Do In Kalba to add on some activities. You can also see more of Kalba here.

If you liked this post, you may also like Al Rafisah Dam, Khor Fakkan or Al Wathba Lake, Abu Dhabi

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