Category Archives: Emirate of Ajman

Al Zorah, Ajman

Al Zorah is located on the coast on the old road to Umm al Quwain and Ras al Khaimah. The million square foot mangrove forest and nature reserve is home to many species of birds and temporary home to many more during the migratory season. If bird-watching is your thing, this is the place for you.

A 12km-long waterfront goes along one side of the mangrove forest whilst the sea lies on the other. The waterfront leads to Ajman Marina where you can dine, drink coffee, take a boat ride, enjoy water sports and your children can play in the play park, Funtastico.

On the opposite side of the road to Marina 1 is Quest for Adventure where you can take a kayak through the mangroves, go wake boarding, try your hand at stand up paddle boarding, get soaked on an inflatable ringo ride, pedal a pedalo, hire a bike, practise your archery skills or invite your friends for archery tag. (Photo credit: Quest for Adventure)

Zorah Beach is right at the end of the peninsula and looks out to a beautiful light blue sea in the daytime. Later it becomes darker as the sun gets lower before turning a lovely silvery blue as the sun starts to go down. It is a popular spot for caravans and for fishing in the daytime and campfires and barbecues in the evening.

There are also private areas further down the beach such as the new Bianky Beach Camp where you can stay overnight in their chalets, bungalows and tents or buy a day pass. They have a pool, bar, restaurant, sheltered seating areas along the beach, barbecue areas. More activities are planned soon.

Between Bianky Beach and the public beach is Caravana which rents out camper-vans each with a private beach! The caravans come in three different sizes and have a/c, TV, cooking facilities and shower. In the beach area they have garden seating, a swing, small volleyball net, small barbecue. You can also pitch tents on your beach and invite visitors over to your beach too. There is a small mini-mart but the marina is nearby if you want to eat or order out. Activities include horse riding and water sports.

For those who like more luxury, on the coastal side of the waterfront is the Oberoi Hotel. (Photo credit: Oberoi Hotels)

And on the other side is an 18-hole golf course. What a great place to play, along the mangroves spotting flamingos, herons, egrets and Arabian bee-eaters while you wait your turn.

Back on the main road, there are various dining options from Shakespeare’s and The Grove in the Zorah Pavilion to Spot food trucks and the relaxed Litchy Sushi Lounge with its palette seating and comfy cushions. All of these overlook the mangroves.

There are also two walks in Zorah. The first is a paved walkway and starts at the Marina, goes round by Quest for Adventure and alongside the mangroves towards the golf club and is several kilometres long going almost the full length from the marina to the roundabout on Ittihad road. The other is just under 5km, starts in Safiya Park car park and has a jogging track with paved sides for cycling. It takes a circular route with the lagoon on one side and the mangrove forest on the other. There is a shore along the lagoon where you can stop off for a rest and once you reach the thicker mangrove forest, look out for birds of prey circling around. (At the time of writing, solar lighting was being installed so it can be used at night too.) There are normally a lot of flamingos, cormorants, etc in this part of the lagoon. This winter there aren’t many flamingos and the cormorants have just moved further up the shore, but hopefully they will return once work has been completed on the path. There are still lots of herons, egrets, curlews and other birds around though.

If you choose to buy one of the new villas at Al Zorah, you could enjoy all of these things every day!

Ajman has recently been in several newspapers as a great new tourist destination and whether you’re flying in from overseas or planning a staycation, there’s certainly something for everyone at Al Zorah.

Ajman Museum

Ajman Museum is often overlooked but it is well worth a visit. The fort which is home to the museum was built in the 18th century and was the sheikh’s residence for most of that time and for some time the police station before taking on its current role.

The fort was built in the traditional courtyard style and so most of the exhibits are in individual rooms with different themes such as traditional medicine, weapons, farming, Ajman Police, Ajman’s first radio station, traditional games, documents and manuscripts and even pottery and funerary jewellery found at the archeological site in Moweihat which dates back to 3000 BC (see also the cemetery at the fort entrance). At the back of the fort is the souq depicting traders and artisans at work.

Be sure to go into the barjeel, the windtower, and feel the effect of the natural conditioning. You can also take time to relax sitting in the courtyard imagining what took place there many years ago or sit in the gardens in front of the fort. Look out for the parrots around the fort too.

Opening times: Sat-Thurs 8am-8pm, Fri 2:30pm-8pm

Entrance fee: 5dhs

(At the time of writing, the front entrance was closed. Go round the back, the entrance is next to Shk Humaid Hall, there is no sign.)

The Ajman Murals Project

In 2017 The Ajman Murals Project was launched by Ajman Municipality and Planning Department. They can be found at various locations around Ajman, but all in close proximity.

By French artist Shuck2.

Location – above Choithram’s supermarket, Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid St.

By French Tunisian artist El Saeed.

This mural includes a quote of the Founding Father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan  – “Our fathers and grandfathers have lived on this land and co-existed with its environment in land and sea, and realised, through nature and by delicate senses, the need to preserve and to take only as much as they needed, and to leave what future generations will find as a source of good and a fountain of giving.”

Location – junction of Ittihad St and Badr St

By Egyptian Dubai-born artist Ramy Elzaghawy.

Skip, one of the most famous horses of Ajman Stud.

Location – Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid St., near the junction with Al Zaher St

By Egyptian Dubai-born artist Diaa Allam.

This mural contains words form the poem Positive Energy written by the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Location – Mohammed Salem bu Khamis St.

By Sweden-based Julia Rio.

Location – Ajman Corniche.

By Emirati artist Fatima Al Ali.

Location – Ajman Municipality Building next to Lulu Hypermarket.

See more at the following links.

http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302622439

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/general/marvellous-murals-beckon-visitors-to-ajman

Photos Around Manama, Ajman

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The White Fort, previous royal residence, currently being made into a museum

The White Fort

The White Fort

The White Fort

The White Fort

Well at the White Fort
Well at the White Fort

The White Fort

The White Fort

Ceiling in the White Fort
Ceiling in the White Fort

View from the roof of the White Fort.
View from the roof of the White Fort.

View from the roof of the White Fort.
View from the roof of the White Fort.

The Red Fort
The Red Fort, previous royal residence

The Red Fort

The Red Fort

The Red Fort

The Red Fort

The Red Fort, Manama

Bridge over small Wadi at the foot of the mountains
Bridge over small Wadi at the foot of the mountains

Site of the future Ajman International Airport in Manama to be opened in 2018.

Plains in Manama
Plains in Manama and s
ite of the future Ajman International Airport in Manama

Hassa Castle, Naseem, Manama.
Hassa Castle, Naseem, Manama, built in 1976.

Hassa Fort, Naseem, Manama.
Hassa Fort, Naseem, Manama.

The view of Naseem from Hassa Castle
The view of Naseem from Hassa Castle

Old houses in Naseem, Manama
Old houses in Naseem, Manama

Newly built government housing
Newly built government housing

House gate, al Naseem, Manama
House gate, al Naseem, Manama

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Camels on the plains near Naseem village
Camels on the plains near Naseem village

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Emirate of Ajman

Ajman is the smallest of the seven emirates at just 260 km sq and has a population of nearly a quarter of a million. Imagine that in 1980, the population numbered only 36,000.

The town was first settled by the Nuaim tribe around 1775 and is still ruled by the al Nuaimi family. It became a British protectorate in 1820 until it attained independence and became part of the new federation of the UAE in 1971. The main part lies between Sharjah and Umm al Quwain, however, it also has two enclaves inland, al Manama and Masfoot.

Al Manama is in the central mountainous area of the north. It was gifted in the early 20th century to Ajman as dowry when a Sheikha from Ajman married the ruler of Fujairah, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad al Sharqi.

There are two forts, the Red Fort and the White Fort, in the main town of Manama which were royal residences. Further down the road in the village of Naseem, Hassa Castle, a watchtower built in 1976, stands upon a small hill.

Hassa Fort, Naseem, Manama.
Hassa Fort, Naseem, Manama.

Hassa Fort, Naseem, Manama.
Hassa Castle Naseem, Manama.

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The Red Fort, Manama

The Red Fort, Manama

The Red Fort, Manama

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The White Fort, Manama

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The White Fort, Manama, now being transformed into a museum.

Manama played a major role in saving the people of Ajman after the sudden collapse of the pearling industry in 1928. It has rich agricultural land which was already farmed at the time but then Shaikh Rashid, the ruler at the time, supported the farmers enabling them to make full use of the land and provide both food for Ajmanis and an income for the shaikhdom. The main crops were papaya and citrus fruits such as qumqat and limes. The Rohida tree also provided an income with its bark being sold to make medicine, its leaves and fruits sold as fodder and the rest sold as timber. Moreover, the area was rich in naturally produced honey.

The Trucial Scouts had a base in Manama. It is still standing and is now a training camp for the UAE army. Many of the young men do the first three months of their national service there.

Although just a small town, it has its own police, civil defence, health centre, etc. It is growing steadily as apartment blocks are being built, and new businesses such as burger and pizza cafes, gyms are opening.

The village of Naseem is part of Manama but is on the other side of the road from the main town. Originally a handful of houses, there are lots of new houses there now. It is surrounded by plains.

The weather there is hotter than coastal towns in the summer, but dry and much colder in the winter.

Plains in Manama
Plains in Manama

The other enclave, Masfoot, is also in a mountainous and richly agricultural area not far from Hatta. It has a population of around 6000, 90% of whom are UAE nationals originally from Bedu tribes. The area includes two villages, Muzaira and Subaigha and originally belonged to the al Nuaim tribe of Buraimi, however, it was seized by the Nuaims of Ajman in 1948 and has belonged to them ever since.

The Ajman Government has plans to develop Masfoot as a tourist destination. Its location in the mountains makes it a great place for those who love walking and exploring the great outdoors. As in many inland locations, there are archaeological sites going back around 5000 years.

Two structures of interest there are Masfoot Fort, dating back to the 19th century and Masfoot Gate built in 1961.

Masfoot Castle (Source: ajmantourism.ae)
Masfoot Castle
(Source: ajmantourism.ae)

Back in Ajman, Ajman Museum is found within an original 18th century fort and is well worth a visit. Take a look at some photos here. Look out for a separate blog coming up on Ajman Museum.

Ajman Museum
Ajman Museum

Ajman Museum
Ajman Museum

Ajman Museum
Ajman Museum

Ajman Museum
Ajman Museum