Sharjah is getting set to open four new tourist attractions across the emirate as part of plans to welcome more visitors.
From a luxury waterfront hotel in Kalba to an ecotourism resort in Mleiha that will be open before the end of the year, the new destinations will give people more reasons to visit the emirate, which already has a solid reputation for its unique heritage and cultural landscape.
The tourism landmarks are being developed by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and are located across the emirate – from Khor Fakkan on the east coast to the central region of Al Dhaid.
The plans are all part of a strategy to open up more of Sharjah to tourism, especially the eastern and central regions, which have “massive untapped potential in the travel and leisure sectors,” says Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, executive chairman of Shurooq.
The four sites are also part of a vision to transform Sharjah into a leading hub of nature-inspired experiences and it’s hoped they’ll boost the emirate's tourism appeal for both overseas travellers and people living in the UAE.
More details about each of the new projects will be released soon. Here’s what we can look forward to.
Khor Fakkan’s first water park
Located on the east coast of the UAE, Khor Fakkan has amazing natural views of the mountains and beautiful beaches paired with a climate that tends to be a little more seasonal than the rest of the country. Shurooq is already developing the beach area in this region to include an amphitheatre, a skating rink, sport courts, picnic areas and a huge children's play area.
A newly announced family-friendly hotel will also be set in the area and will have 66 rooms. It is set to be home to the first water park in Khor Fakkan. The region will also get another Chedi Hotel by way of Al Jabal Resort – The Chedi Khorfakkan. This villa resort will be located in the mountains and will offer luxury stays fused with Emirati traditions. It will be the second Chedi in Sharjah when it opens its doors in 2021, after The Chedi Al Bait opened in March.
A family-friendly safari park retreat
Surrounded by gravel plains and Acadia trees in Sharjah's Al Dhaid region, the Seih Al Bardi Kabeer Safari Park is set to be Sharjah's first. The 14-square-kilometre park inside Elebriddi Wildlife Protected Area is being carefully developed in partnership with the Environment and Protected Areas Authority, an expert in Sharjah's natural ecosystems and biodiversity. As well as attracting safari enthusiasts – a new type of visitor for the emirate – this sustainable tourism project will support conservation efforts and be home to up to 50,000 native and imported animals. Shurooq's new 60-room family retreat will be the first hotel to open in the wildlife park and guests can bank on seeing springboks, impalas, wildebeest, giraffes and rhinos on their stay.
Kalba Waterfront's lagoon-view hotel
Kalba is an exclave of Sharjah that lies beyond Fujairah on the country's east coast. This location gives the region a distinct ecotourism advantage – its home to mangroves, lagoons, palm forests and mountains.
Only a few minutes from Oman's northern border, the Kalba Waterfront is a project already in development that looks set to be one of the country's most beautiful malls. It will come with gorgeous views of the mangrove-lined lagoon, as well as a sprawling park where visitors can reconnect with nature. It will also have an outdoor shopping promenade, al fresco waterfront dining and a 1,600-square-metre children's play zone. Few details have been announced about the new luxury hotel that Shurooq will open there, but it's set to make the most of its location in an area of natural beauty, directly adjacent to the waterfront.
The Moon Resort at Mlehia
Mlehia has already built a name for itself as the place to go for adventure deep in Sharjah’s deserts. About an hour from the city, it is renowned for dune bashing, fat biking, quad biking, trekking and other desert escapades.
The site also has an intriguing history – excavations here have revealed the oldest evidence of human life outside of Africa. Shurooq's new addition to the Mlehia area is The Moon Retreat. This ecotourism resort is a family-friendly desert haven that will welcome its first overnight guests by the end of 2020. The aptly named retreat will also offer guests epic stargazing opportunities, thanks to very little light pollution in the vast Mlehia desert.