The area of Kalba has so much to offer the nature lover with several very diverse habitats for its size – mountains, plains with acacia forests, mangroves, beaches, lakes, marshes and palm groves. It has long been one of my favourites places to visit in the UAE and so, I visit there often.
Things are changing though, in a good way, and the tranquil and picturesque enclave of Sharjah is now also an up and coming family and ecotourism destination in the UAE.
As the furthest south of the Sharjah Eastern Region enclaves, it boasts a large nature reserve which includes the Al Hafaiya Protected Area and Mountain Conservation Centre and Bird of Prey Centre and another which includes Khor Kalba Mangrove Centre.
You will find plenty of fabulous places to visit and things to do in Kalba, so let’s get started.
Khor Kalba Mangroves
Khor Kalba Mangrove Centre
The mangroves were closed to the public around ten years ago in order to rescue them from damage. However, you can now visit them within the area of Khor Kalba Mangrove Centre.
The centre is a wonderful place to visit and learn. An outdoor play and picnic area in Kalba Mangrove Park has stunning views over the mangroves, creek and mountains Click here to see more.
Kalba Mangrove Centre opening times: 9am-6:30, Saturday 11-6:30, Friday 2-6:30, Monday closed
Kalba Mangrove Center entry fee: Adults AED 15.50, children under 12 free. Senior Citizens 60+ and People of Determination free with one carer.
Kalba Kingfisher Retreat
You may want to treat yourself to an overnight stay at the Kalba Kingfisher Lodge, the first eco-retreat in Sharjah. Activities are also available from there, such as kayaking in the mangroves. Book Mysk Kingfisher Retreat Kalba.
The photo above shows the bridge to the boats that take you out to the Mysk Kingfisher Resort Kalba. In the background are the luxury tents. Each tent has a private infinity pool. The resort is part of the conservation area and you will see wildlife around.
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Al Hefaiya Mountain Conservation Centre and Kalba Bird of Prey Centre
These two centres are very close to each other and inside Kalba Conservation Reserve.
For more on Al Hefaiya Mountain Conservation Centre and the Bird of Prey Centre, click here. In the meantime, here are a few photos.
Kalba Ghail Dam
Kalba Ghayl Dam (also known as Kalba Dam) has water in it all year round, although the level fluctuates. Ducks live there permanently and are always happy with anyone who takes them some treats!
There’s a small area to sit on the dam side but you can walk around to the other side and find a quieter spot overlooking the water.
The Kalba hiking trail starts both at the dam and the parking area near the lake. Two high hills sit on either end of the dam and the graded trail goes up one, back down, along a connecting path and up the other. There is also a flat path going in the valley between the two.
You can do part or all but the entire route is around 8km. This hike is an excellent choice for sunrise, but late afternoon is also pleasant.
This is one you can do with children as long as they have a bit of stamina. (For more family hikes, see Hiking in the UAE.
You can access Al Ghail Dam from the ring road.
Kalba Parks and Beaches
The city has several parks, including Kalba Corniche Park and Al Sidra Ladies and Children’s Park, which have play areas, facilities, etc. The Corniche Park, also known as Kalba Park, sits between the road and the beach.
The beach has amusements for children, such as bouncy castles, trampolines and go-karts. The sand on the beach is similar to that of its neighbour Fujairah, and so it’s a darker sand.
Although you could camp at the beach pre-covid, it seems it’s not permitted any more. If you like to fish, you can do that here as long as you have a licence.
If you are a UAE resident, you can get a licence at the Fishermen’s Cooperative at Kalba Fish Market or any of the relevant locations in the Emirate of Sharjah. (If you want to go deep-sea fishing here, look up East Coast Fishing Charter.)
Further south is the new corniche development at Khor Kalba Beach. There are also new cafes and restaurants opening along both sides of the beach road. Tamm Coffee is one that serves Turkish food or you can just pop in for a coffee with a view of the Oman Gulf.
Al Hafiya Picnic Park
Al Hafiya Picnic Park is a beautiful spot and has a hide overlooking the protected area as well as a great play area. It has recently reopened after a long closure.
Al Hifaya Picnic Park Opening Times: Sun-Weds 9am-9pm, Thurs, 9am-11pm.
Al Hifaya Picnic Park Entry Fee: AED 5, free for two and under
Buy Exploring the Emirate of Sharjah – Walking and cycling tours and itineraries in the city and Central and Eastern Regions. Includes Kalba tours and itineraries.
Corniche Walk is further south on Kalba Lake and opposite the local government buildings. Again, there are plenty of grassy areas to sit on with a view of the water, mangroves and mountains.
You can walk or cycle from the flagpole around the lake to the mangrove centre. Then, if you’re feeling energetic, you can continue to the new corniche. For children, there is a play area near the flagpole and a public gym near the mangrove area.
Pedal boats, doughnuts and kayaks are one of the popular Kalba attractions and are available for hire at Kalba Kayaking at very reasonable prices.
Next to Starbucks, you can find a couple of captained boats that can take you out for a ride on the lake. The scenery is simply stunning, so try one of the boat options to enjoy it all the more.
From the new Kalba Waterfront, which sits at the head of the lake, you can book the floating cafe for you and your family or friends. It’s an excellent option for a special event like a birthday or anniversary. You can book through their website here.
There are also several lovely cafes and food trucks along the corniche, depending on the time of year.
Gardenia cafe and Starbucks are near the flagpole. A branch of Gardenia Cafe is also in Kalba Clock Tower and has a great view. You may need to reserve at peak times.
Kalba Clock Tower
Opened in the spring of 2022, the Clock Tower offers fantastic views over the town, lake, mangroves, sea and mountains.
There is a viewing deck on the 7th floor and Gardenia Cafe on the 5th. In the basement is a gallery of old photos. The clock tower sits amidst small but lovely gardens that you can walk around during your visit.
Kalba Clock Tower opening times: Daily 7am to midnight.
Kalba Clock Tower entrance fee: 5 dhs, free for children under 13, People of Determination and senior citizens 60+ and one carer. Park on the corniche as the entrance is via an underpass/subway from there.
The area has a rich history and both the fort and Bait Sheikh Saaed bin Hammad al Qasimi are currently undergoing restoration. They will reopen soon and the fort will contain a museum.
Al Ghail Fort
Al Ghail Fort is open to visitors and is situated inside the Bird of Prey Centre. There is no additional entry fee.
Even if you don’t visit the Bird of Prey centre, you can see the fort from the ring road and Kalba Rd.
Khor Kalba Fort
A Archaeological sites in the area date back to the Bronze Age. Although the areas are fenced off, some can still be seen easily.
A new site was recently discovered in Khor Kalba which is thought to be the remains of a Portuguese castle. You can see the larger fort behind which has also recently been restored.
A rock art site at Khatm Al Melaha will soon be open to visitors. You can learn more about the history of the area and the other Eastern Region enclaves at Al Hisn Museum in Khor Fakkan.
Kalba Waterfront Mall
The Waterfront Mall sits at the head of the lake and the outdoor terraces have a wonderful view over the water, mangroves and mountains. By night, the reflection of the corniche lights, majestic government buildings and mosques and the flagpole glimmer on the water.
The mall is newly opened and until now only a few shops are operating but there are around three restaurants and cafes open with both indoor and outdoor seating.
An indoor play area is at one end and a Geant supermarket will soon open at the other. Outside on the water side , apart from the long terrace, there is a small shore.
Around Kalba City
Near Kalba Fort is a beautiful mosque in a simple but stunning white and gold. Next to it is a small newly developed souq with tailors, perfume shops and cafes.
On the opposite side and next to Sheikh Saaed bin Hammad al Qasimi House are yet more new cafes with a sea view. Park your car and have a wander round. The fish market is currently there too.
A little further north, you’ll come to Soor Kalba and see the new souq with its Moorish design in white and deep blue. On the other side another new souq is under construction. This will soon house the various fresh food markets.
Finally, here’s a selection of photos of mosques, Sharjah government buildings incorporating Arabic architecture styles, fish laid out to dry in Al Ghail and the harbour.
Many exciting projects are under development bringing new Kalba attractions, including a water park, family park and an outdoor theatre. It’s definitely a place not to miss!
Now you don’t need to wonder any more what to do in Kalba. With all these wonderful options, it’s time to start planning your trip!
Buy Exploring the Emirate of Sharjah – Walking and cycling tours and itineraries in the city and Central and Eastern Regions. Includes Kalba.
Here are some other great places you can visit nearby – Al Hayl Fort, Fujairah Adventure Park, Ahfra Hiking Trail, Fujairah Grand Mosque, Umbrella Beach, Fujairah, Wadi al Helo
If you liked this, you may also like my posts on Khor Fakkan, Dibba Al Hisn and Al Dhaid. Don’t forget to bookmark this one first.
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This page was last updated on 5 March 2023.