Category Archives: Emirate of Umm al Quwain

Falaj al Mualla Fort

Falaj Al Mualla is a quiet oasis town in the Umm Al Quwain desert. The fort is nearly 200 years old and overlooks the sand dunes where more watchtowers stand higher up and offering a clear view for imminent attacks.

The fort itself has the traditional courtyard style with the centre now having a nice green lawn and it’s a lovely place just to sit and enjoy the surroundings and the tranquility.

It now houses a museum with sections depicting Emirati heritage and also an archeological room with exhibits dating back to the first century AD to 6000 BC.

Opening times: Saturday – Thursday 8am-2pm, 5pm – 8pm, Friday 5pm – 8pm

Entrance fee: 5 dhs (it’s always nice to give the caretaker a little extra though)

Be sure to find the other towers around Falaj al Mualla.

Running/walking/cycling tracks, outdoor exercise areas in the cities and walks away from the city

The number of places to walk and exercise outdoors is increasing all the time. There are many with great views too. This is not a complete list but there’s plenty choice to get you started. Other places and photos will most likely be added at later points.

Sharjah

Wasit – jogging track along the side of Wasit Wetlands – 1600m with public gym (outdoor exercise equipment) halfway. Surface – rubber with narrow parallel paved track, view trees, residential area.

Wasit Wetlands – Round the lake with hides along the way. Requires signing of a disclaimer in the visitor centre and a visit first thing. (No guarantees, depends on weather conditions and how busy it is.) 6-7km Surface – firm sand, view – trees, bushes, lake, birds, gazelles.

Al Majaz Waterfront jogging track 400m, surface rubber with parallel paved track, view – park

Hamriyah Beach, long, beach sand or firm sand higher up. Barbecues, a few shades, no other facilities. View – beach/sea

Al Qarayen Walking/cycling tracks, rubberised walking track and paved cycling track, four public gym areas, behind Sharjah National Park, 2.2km, view – lanscaped verges, residential area.

Sharjah National Park, paved walkways, view – landscaped gardens, entrance 2dhs, facilities – toilets, mosques, shades, play area, kiosks. No cycling allowed on paths.

Heart of Sharjah – a gentle stroll through the old buildings of Sharjah which house museums and souqs, through quiet gardens and through to the Arts Area. Paved. On Sharjah Corniche.

Sharjah Corniche – paved walkway, view of the port, dhows and traditional buildings.

Buhairah Corniche – paved surface, goes right round the lake starting from near Crystal Plaza. Walk along the paved walkway or on the grass through palm groves to Noor Mosque, continue round through Majaz Waterfront along the waterside or through the gardens, continue further to the walkway left under the bridge to Al Qasba or continue straight around the lake to Al Khan Government Building Area or turn off before to Flag Island. If you take the Qasba, you can also continue on under the bridge turning left towards Mamzar or right towards Al Khan and up to Sharjah Aquarium. For walking probably want to choose a stretch but you could cycle the longer route. View – Buhairah Lagoon, palm gardens, landscaped gardens, Noor Island, Arabic architecture, beach, Flag Island.

Sharjah Beach

Al Khan Beach

University City – walk on the paved sidewalks or cycle on the road through University City. View – Arabic architecture, landscaped gardens.

Noor Island for a gentle stroll through different habitats. Entrance Adults 35 , children 20, under 2 free. View – Foliage, design elements, Buhairah Lagoon,

Green Belt Ladies Park, paved walkway, entrance with membership card which can be obtained with EID. View – landscaped gardens. Facilities – toilets, play areas.

Various neighbourhood parks around Sharjah

Ajman

Al Qurm Walk, jogging track 4.5km, surface: rubber, two narrow parallel paved tracks, firm sand either side and beach part of the way. Solar lighting currently being installed. View – creek, mangroves, variety of birds. See Al Zorah

Al Safiya Walk, Safiya Park – rubber jogging track with parallel paved cycling track, circles park, 1600m, small public gym at far end. View – creek, park. Connects to Qurm Walk above. Cycles available for rent and play area in park for small children. (See photos above.)

Al Zorah, paved walkway starting at Al Zorah Marina and continuing until around 100m before the roundabout on Ittihad rd (ca 6km?) View – mangroves, creek, birds, golf course, landscaped gardens.

Ajman Sports Park, rubber jogging track and parallel cycling track (bushes between) , 400m, large public gym, open 24hrs. Facilities – toilets, mosque, children’s play areas, five aside football, basketball and badminton grounds, cafes. View – park, landscaped gardens

Ajman Corniche paved, beach, cafes. View – sea.

Zorah Beach, Ajman – short walk, can walk round creek side also, beach sand and firm sand, fishing permitted with licence, no facilities. View – sea, creek. Bicycles can be hired at Quest for Adventure.

Al Tallah Camel Race Track – paved road circling the race track with a detour round the pavilion and sandy plain along the side. There is also a paved road on the inside of the track. Obviously you can’t use the camel track itself as this is also used for daily training, but the options are outside road with occasional cars, inside road with cars during races only, sandy area on the other side of the road, or inside green, sandy area. If you zoom in, you can see all these. Avoid Thursday mornings as camel races are held every other Thursday (not sure about weekend mornings). View – camel race track, camels, sandy plains, residential area on one side.

Masfoot – jogging and cycling track from dam to near fort. View – mountains, forts, gardens, stream at times. Walk around lake near the dam.

Umm al Quwain

Khor al Baida – Mangrove Forest – firm sand suitable for waking, running or cycling, probably not for scooters. No facilities. View – mangrove forests, salt flats, birds, sea, small beach, mangrove islands, (creek, port at southern end) The full length is around 6km so you could do up to 12 km end to end.

UAQ Beach – long stretch of beach and corniche (could possibly walk all the way to Sharjah Waterfront, Hamriyah on the beach but I’ve not tested that) View – sea. Public gym on Kite Beach. There is a cafe at Kite Beach Centre if you’re peckish after your walk and they have a variety of water sports.

UAQ Coast – between the mangrove forest and Ras al Khaimah, there are lots of areas to walk between the roads and the sea which are pretty green at the moment. Looks like a great place if you have a dog. Some parts have low grassy sand dunes.

Ras al Khaimah

Al Hamra Beach – add in a walk around the old abandoned village. View – sea, traditional buildings.

Ras al Khaimah Corniche

Rams Corniche (follow by climb up to Dhaya Fort) View – sea, harbour, mountains, plains.

Wadi Ghalilah – walks through fields, on road or firm sand, short (and long hikes). Views – mountains, old villages and buildings, foliage.

East Coast and Central Region

Beaches – Kalba, Fujairah, Loulou’a, Zobara, Dibba. Views – sea, mountains

Wadi Shees – climb up I’m guessing around 100 steps but you can also start at the other end with fewer steps then a gentle incline) to and walk through Old Residential Village. View – trees, farms, mountains, old houses

Al Rabi Tower Hike, Khor Fakkan, hike from the tower to the highest mountain in the town of Khor Fakkan. Requires sensible shoes, water, etc.

Al Rufaisah – The Walk, a relatively gentle incline down to Wadi Shie. You can continue into Wadi Shie and Al Miqsar Village. View – mountains, foliage, old village and fort.

Khor Fakkan Corniche – jogging track and paved, view – sea, mountains, gardens.

Dibba al Hisn, round the long Corniche of Hisn Island. View – sea, mountains, Dibba (Oman) bay.

Dibba al Hisn Canal – jogging track and parallel paved way along the canal, small public gym at either end of the Corniche. (Can continue along to Dibba al Hisn beach.) View – sea, mountains, canal, gardens.

Kalba Corniche Walk, along Kalba Lake, paved. View – lake, mangroves, mountains, gardens. (This is further south than Kalba beach)

Buhais Geology Outdoor Trail, near Madam. View – mountains, plains, Bronze Age tombs. 10 dhs entry 12 and over.

Jebel Buhais, near Madam, is an archaeological site with findings several ages back to the Stone Age. Climb the hill and also visit the tombs, etc nearby. If you prefer, you can book a guided tour with Discover Mleiha.

Discover Mleiha trail around archeological sites. View – mountains, desert, plains, caves.

Fujairah Hiking Trails

Fujairah has several hiking trails to follow.

Places to visit during school breaks

Some parents have been asking for ideas for what to do with their children during the upcoming school break and so I have compiled a list and sorted it into categories and a lot of them are educational. Some are repeated as they fit in more than one category. Those that I have written blog posts about include a link. Please remember I don’t cover anywhere in Dubai or Abu Dhabi as they tend to get enough coverage already. Also as this is a general list, there are some busier places you may want to avoid at this current time.

(The prices were correct at my last visit. If you find them to be different, please let me know. )

Science-related

Transport-related

Archeology/history-related

Nature/plant-related

  • Botanical Museum, Sharjah Desert Park 15dhs for all museums/centres in park, under 12 free, closed Tuesday
  • Islamic Gardens, Sharjah Desert Park 15dhs for all museums/centres in park, under 12 free, closed Tuesday
  • Mangrove forests, Ajman, UAQ, RAK
  • Noor Island adults 35, child 20, butterfly house 15 dhs extra (combined ticket 2 for 1 in Entertainer)
  • Walk through Old Residential Village, Wadi Shees

Animal-related

  • Noor Island adults 35, child 20, butterfly house 15 dhs extra (combined ticket 2 for 1 in Entertainer)
  • Arabian Wildlife Centre and Children’s Farm, Sharjah Desert Park, 15dhs for all museums/centres in park, under 12 free, closed Tuesday
  • Wasit Wetlands Nature Reserve, 15dhs including buggy ride round lake, under 12 free, closed Tuesday
  • Kalba Mountain Conservation Centre, Adults – 25dhs plus VAT, children under 12 free
  • Kalba Bird of Prey Centre, Adults – 15dhs plus VAT(free return within one month), children under 12 free. (was still closed recently, not sure if now open)

Geology/natural history-related

  • Buhais Geology Park, closed Tuesday
  • Natural History Museum, Sharjah Desert Park, 15dhs for all museums/centres in park, under 12 free, closed Tuesday
  • Discover Mleiha – Children’s workshops on fossils, paleontology – book in advance
  • Dhaid Wildlife Centre, entrance 10 dhs? for adults, children under 12 free, closed Tuesday (please note, there are no animals here)

Art

  • Sharjah Art Museum, free
  • Sharjah Art Foundation
  • Bait al Naboodah, free
  • Calligraphy Museum, Heart of Sharjah
  • The Rain Room art installation Adults 25dhs Children 6-12 15dhs, under 5s go free.
  • Arabic Architecture – Sharjah government buildings in Al Khan, Government House Roundabout, Quran Roundabout, University City, Sharjah, Sharjah Municipality Building, Sharjah Mosque.

Just for fun!

  • Al Rafisah Dam – lake, play areas, picnic areas, nature, ducks, pedalos, kayaks, etc starting from 30 dhs.
  • Khor Fakkan Corniche
  • Kalba Corniche Park
  • Kayaking and other water sports – Ajman Marina, RAK, KIte Beach UAQ, Khor Kalba
  • Al Majaz Waterfront – restaurants and cafes, more happening 4pm onwards – mini golf, splash park, boats, car rides (pretend old style cars), multiple play areas, jogging track, park
  • Al Qasba Canal – restaurants and cafes, paid play areas, occasional festivals
  • Ajman Marina – play areas, boat rides, restaurants and cafes, beach, caravan site, birdwatching, golf
  • Al Suwaidi Pearl Farm with boat trip, Al Rams, Ras al Khaimah 300 dhs, children 200 (?) dhs
  • Discover Mleiha – dune-bashing, horse-riding, UniMog tour, workshops, stargazing and more (all need to be booked in advance)
  • Jebel Jais – Sky Maze, Sky Tour, Sky Flight, food trucks, picnic areas, views, camping, hiking

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Umm al Quwain Mangrove Forest

If you are like me and enjoy walking on a natural surface surrounded by nature, or if you enjoy bird-watching, this is a place for you. You can walk, cycle or drive the full length of the mangrove forest (approx. 9 km) And if you go on a weekday morning, you’re unlikely to meet anyone on your way. (Well, you might meet me!)

At either end of the forest, there are small beaches to sit and admire the view, watch out for local or migrating birds or just enjoy the peace away from city life. It’s a stop off point for many migrating birds and birds found living there include Western Reef Heron, Greater Flamingo, Crab Plover, Socotra Cormorant along with sandpipers, plovers, shrikes and many more. You might even be lucky enough to spot a Greater Spotted Eagle or a Kingfisher.

You can also enjoy the mangroves from the other side by renting a kayak or taking a kayak tour. There are tours of different lengths and at different times of day including sunset. You might see crabbers out and you can also join nighttime crabbing tours from the Flamingo Hotel.

Please note that swimming and fishing are strictly prohibited here.