Al Rafisa Dam

Rafisa Dam Khorfakkan

Al Rafisa Dam in Khorfakkan is a great family location in Sharjah Eastern Region with play areas, kayaking, doughnut and paddle boats, a lovely walk on the other side of the dam, seating areas and a restaurant, there’s plenty to do. It’s one of our favourites for sure!

(This post was last updated on 22 December 2023.)

The lush and vibrant landscaping and the expansive lake between the mountains make for a relaxing spot to enjoy your weekend or holidays. And with all Sharjah’s family destinations, there’s something for everyone.

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Al Rafisah Dam boating

Enjoy kayaking on the lake, hire a pedal boat or take a doughnut boat if you’re feeling lazy and all you have to do is steer. Head to the opposite side and circle the small island where you can see gazelles.

Over towards the end opposite the dam are ducks swimming around, sometimes with ducklings in tow. You might find they follow you too.

Al Rafisah Dam kayak prices are:

  • single kayak AED 40 unlimited time (min. age for single is 16)
  • double kayak AED 80 unlimited time
  • small pedal boat AED 100 per hour (can take 2 adults and 2 children age 2-10)
  • large pedal boat AED 150 per hour (can take 3 adults and 1 child age 2-10)
  • doughnut boat AED 250 per hour (can take 4 adults and 2 children age 2-10)

You can pay cash or card but I often find with places around here, it’s best to be prepared with both. Life jackets must be worn. Children under 2 are not allowed on any of the boats.

Al Rafisah Dam boating timings are 7 am to 9pm.

Nature at Al Rafisa Dam and Lake

You can spot bees, butterflies and many birds among the rich foliage. Look out for herons and other aquatic birds on the lake, as well as migratory birds visiting for the winter or passing through. A few friendly cats live there too.

waterfall rafisa dam

One of the main features is the artificial waterfall, which runs down the mountainside, starting next to the restaurant and going down to the lake. It’s also a popular photo spot and the greenery and bright colours make a perfect setting.

The water level of the lake is usually high these days due to the amount of rain the area has been seeing, but if it drops, you’ll see some ruins in the middle of the lake.

ruins under rafisa lake khorfakkan

Al Rafisah Rest Area picnic areas, seating and play areas

Al Rafisah Rest Area has many different seating areas and picnic areas, with new ones down by the lakeside and others on the higher levels.

There are four play areas, two for little children and another two for older children.

Food and drink at Al Rafisah Rest Area

Al Rafisah Lounge serves food and drink and has indoor and outdoor seating with a gorgeous view over the lake and mountains. It serves a varied menu.

rafisa lounge view

A coffee shop, an ice-cream parlour and a small co-op sit on the parking side of the rest area and are perfect for picking up snacks and drinks if you prefer to sit among the gardens or next to the lake.

The Walk and Al Rafisah Hiking Trail

For some exercise, follow the signs to The Walk. Once you reach the other side of the dam, turn right down the steps for The Walk, a path along the foot of the mountains with sheltered benches where you can rest and enjoy the view or sit and chat with friends or family.

Collage of The Walk at Rafisa Dam Khorfakkan showing foliage and benches

Continue through the underpass under the highway and you’ll come out at Al Miqsar Village, an old settlement soon to open as a luxury resort.

For more invigorating exercise, turn left at the end of the dam and take the zig-zagging hiking trail up the mountainside to Suhub Rest House at the top. It’ll be worth it for the stunning views!

suhub rest area khorfakkan, restaurant on mountain top overlooking bay

The trail is one-way and around 7.5km (4.7 miles) there and back, with an elevation of about 440 metres(1,430 ft). Some parts are steep with loose rock, so proper footwear is required. Remember to take plenty of water and a hat or similar.

al rafisah hiking trail Khorfakkan, zigzag trail on mountain

Buy The Ultimate Guide to the Emirate of Sharjah now to help plan your trip

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Other attractions at Al Rafisah Lake and Dam

At the opposite end stand two watch towers up on a hill. These have recently been restored and a path is being built to them.

Al Rafisah Dam in Khorfakkan has also become an exciting addition to the Sharjah Light Festival. The mountains are lit up with a spectacular light show during the festival, which takes place in February.

Mountain lit up at Al Rafisa in Sharjah Light Festival 2023

Al Rafisah Dam Location and Directions

Al Rafisa Dam is next to the new Khorfakkan Road, just a few kilometres from the city of Khorfakkan. It sits between the mountains at an altitude of 200 metres.

To get to Rafisa Dam from the west coast, head to the E611 Emirates Rd and take the exit onto the S142 for Khorfakkan. After passing through the fifth tunnel, you’ll see the signs up ahead. If you don’t like tunnels, take the old route via Fujairah and up the east coast.

Take me to the map

Al Rafisah Facilities

Al Rafisah Dam Rest Area has toilets, a mosque for men and a prayer area for ladies. There is paid parking in front of the central area and at either end of the lake.

Planning your visit to Al Rafisah Dam

Rafisa has been one of our favourite locations since it opened in 2018 and we usually stop off for an hour or two and combine it with somewhere else nearby for a day trip. However, you could easily spend a few hours or even the whole day there, especially if you do some activities too. As it sits just outside Khorfakkan city, there are plenty places you can combine it. Our favourites to add to our trip are Wadi Shees and the old souq in Khor Fakkan. See below for some more ideas.

Apart from these options, you could take The Walk, continue through Wadi Shie and on to the city right through to the old town or corniche. This would be a great cycling option too if you have the right bike.

wadi shie khor fakkan

We usually go mid to late afternoon, hire kayaks or pedal boats, then have dinner or fresh juice at Rafisah Lounge and then head into Khorfakkan town. Al Rafisah can get quite busy at weekends and public holidays.

To help you plan your itineraries for your trips around the Emirate of Sharjah, I recommend buying my guide book to the emirate or my book of walking tours and itineraries.

Buy Exploring the Emirate of Sharjah – Walking and cycling tours and itineraries in the city and Central and Eastern Regions, includes Khor Fakkan

Buy Exploring the Emirate of Sharjah – walking, cycling tours and itineraries

exploring sharjah book cover and sample

What else is near Al Rafisah Dam?

Buy Exploring the Emirate of Sharjah – walking, cycling tours and itineraries

exploring sharjah book cover and sample

If you liked this post, you may also like my post on Kalba. Or go here to read about Seven best reasons to visit Sharjah.

FAQ about Al Rafisah Dam Khorfakkan

  • What is Al Rafisah Dam entry fee? It is free entry
  • When does Al Rafisah Dam restaurant open?
  • What are Al Rafisah Dam Activities? They include kayaking, pedal boats, doughnut boat, hiking, walks, play areas for children, picnics.
  • Is camping allowed at Rafisa? No it isn’t.
  • Are dogs allowed at Al Rafisa? No, dogs are generally not allowed at any Sharjah destinations

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