Thursday, August 19, 2021

Khorfakkan, UAE's Hidden Gem

Khorfakkan has grown popular in the last couple of years. Thanks to the Sharjah government's initiative to revive and redevelop this unique part of the city, we have new places to explore.

Khorfakkan means “Creek of Two Jaws”, is an enclave of Sharjah, tucked into the emirate of Fujairah. It centers on Khorfakkan Bay, home to the curved Khorfakkan Beach and a deep-sea port.


If you want to get the most of Khorfakkan, I suggest dedicating a full day or two to it.

Your Khorfakkan itinerary sightseeing must include Shees Park, Wadi Sheesh, Rafisa Dam, Al Miqsar Village, Al Rabi Tower (Al Rabi Hiking is optional, or do it the next/another day), Khorfakkan Park & Open Beach, Boat Trip to Shark Island, Khorfakkan Waterfall, Khorfakkan Amphitheater and Khorfakkan Fish Market. There is so much to see and do in this not so sleepy town. You wouldn't regret seeing Khorfakkan. The best time to go is from November to March when the weather is good.

Places to visit in Khorfakkan

1. Shees Park

Shees Park was our first stop in Khorfakkan coming from Sharjah. Shees Park is a recreational park with a 25-meter high artificial waterfall, a viewing deck, play area, coffee shop, shaded seating areas, and an outdoor theater. We were there during wintertime and it was the perfect weather to roam around.





Here's a video on YouTube of our visit.



2. Wadi Shees

Just behind Shees Park is an oasis and hiking trail with lush vegetation called Wadi Shees Nature Trail. This hidden nature spot and the surrounding Hajar Mountain terrain is subsequently an area of natural beauty. It has old village houses, farms, falaj or water system, and flourishing flora and fauna.








3. Al Miqsar Village

Before I talk about Rafisa dam, there is also one interesting place called Al Miqsar Village just opposite Rafisa dam. We saw it by accident when Ferald missed a turn. It was an old abandoned village with a watchtower that sits on top of a mountain. It was being renovated when we came but was well worth the visit. 

I mean look at this view.





Here's a video of our Al Miqsar Village tour.


4. Rafisa Dam

Rafisa dam is not new. It was built in the 1980s and it was already there all this time. It recently got upgraded and now has a visitor center and rest area not to mention a kayaking facility, a mosque, outdoor play areas for children, a parking lot and supermarket as well as a popular restaurant with lake view. This dam was built for the purpose of storing water and generating electricity for Khorfakkan. After its renovation, it also now serves as an ecotourism spot in Sharjah. A must visit I must say. 





Kayaking is AED 50 for half an hour. 


You can also go duck feeding. You'll be amazed to see that there are also fish in the water. 


From Rafisa dam, we drove to the town center in search of lunch. We were there on a Friday and it was late to realize that all restaurants will be closed for prayer. We ended up waiting for the prayer to finish. We were also too famished to search for a local restaurant and settled at McDonald's because it was the first to open after prayer. Nonetheless, the kids were happy to have a full stomach before we continue with our Khorfakkan tour.

Please go check out our video below.


5. Khorfakkan Beach Park

After lunch, we laze around under the shade of huge old trees at Khorfakkan Beach Park with the sound of lapping waves of the ocean-this is the Gulf of Oman. We stayed there until 3:30 pm before moving to our next destination - Al Rabi Tower. 


This was not our only visit to this park. At other times, we laid a picnic mat here and enjoyed a nice lunch by the sea. There is a restaurant but you can also bring your own food like the locals do. Toilets are also available for public use.



6. Boat tour to Shark Island

While you are at Khorfakkan Beach Park, there are tour operators that offer parasailing, jet skiing as well as boat tours to Shark Island. For AED 200 Dhs/boat, they will take you and your friends to Shark Island for swimming and snorkeling or just a boat trip. 





7. Al Rabi Tower 

Al Rabi Tower is the start and end of an impressive trail overlooking Khorfakkan and the bay. The tower was built in 1915 and is historically known as a part of the defense network of Khorfakkan.


You can just stay up Al Rabi Tower viewing deck and not go for the hike or you can do both. If you choose to stay at the Al Rabi viewing deck, the view is nonetheless beautiful, either by day or



or by night






8. Al Rabi Hiking Trail

Al Rabi Hiking Trail is one of the best hiking trails in UAE for me mainly because of its amazing panoramic view. Difficulty-wise, I cannot comment because this was the first hiking trail I tried in the UAE but I can say it is good for beginners like us. It was challenging, I kid you not but the Al Rabi Mountain summit has all the right ingredients for a fulfilling adventure. 


The trail is well marked. At 395 meters above sea level, it is doable as long as you have the determination. We'd only reached the 1000 m mark on our first attempt. The kids were tired from the days' activity and cannot push forward. We finally reached the summit on our second attempt by doing it first thing in the morning as we reached Khorfakkan and it was truly a fulfilling and proud moment once we reached the summit. So proud of our kids for not giving up and pushing to get to the top. Well done. 


Celebratory photo with other hikers who were with us in the trail who never stop until we all reached the top. 


Overall, it will take you at least 4 hours to complete the hike including breaks and photo ops. 

Here's more of our photos during both hikes.










I would recommend doing the hike and sightseeing separately especially if you have kids. The hike takes so much of your energy leaving you tired to do and see other things. But if you can squeeze all these activities in a day, by all means, do so. It will be worth it.



There's more to Khorfakkan, it's not finished yet because there are still a couple more places I haven't shown you. 

9. Khorfakkan Artificial Waterfall


Although artificial, the Khorfakkan waterfall was carved out of natural rocks. It's a view to behold from the beach park across the street. The structure was built with viewing windows at the top where visitors can watch the water flow down the rock.

10. Khorfakkan Amphitheater

Inspired by Roman Architecture, the newly built amphitheater can accommodate 3500 people. It was designed with a state-of-the-art cooling system, making it the ideal outdoor venue for upcoming events in the city. Visitors can also sample delicious dishes at the amphitheater’s restaurant and cafĂ©. Both the waterfall and amphitheater are facing the Gulf of Oman giving visitors a stunning view. 





11. Khorfakkan Fish Market and Zebedi Fish Cooking

Our trip to Khorfakkan will not be complete without going to the local fish market ever since we discovered Zebedi Fish Cooking. We go to Khorfakkan fish market not necessary to buy fish (well you can if you want because it is super fresh and doesn't cost as much if you are in Dubai) but to eat fish.

This fish dish. 


A humongous platter of grilled fish and other kinds of seafood. It is good for 4-6 people at 150 dirhams. It has 2 large grilled salmon fillets, 2 butterflied grilled sea bream, nuggets of fried calamari, and grilled tiger prawns on a bed of yellow rice. Served with fresh garden salad and dates. You can actually opt to buy your own fish at the fish market and ask them to cook it for you. They will weigh your fish and charge you for the service. We prefer to order from their menu because we love how they prepare and serve it.  For us, this is the best way to end your sightseeing tour of the amazing town that is Khorfakkan. 


As of this writing, a mountain top destination called 12. Al Suhub Rest House recently opened in Khorfakkan. We haven't seen it yet but heard good things about it giving us another reason to visit the town. The rest house stands almost 600 meters above sea level and offers panoramic views of Sharjah's east coast and the Gulf of Oman. 

That's about it. Thanks for reading until this far. I hope I inspire you to visit Khorfakkan with your family and friends. I promise you won't regret it. 

Click on the photos to enlarge.

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Cheers
Carla