Sharjah is ramping up its focus on adventure and ecotourism with a number of new projects.
Khor Fakkan, on the UAE’s east coast, will be home to one of the biggest developments with the opening of a new adventure park next year.
The seaside town in Sharjah will be the site of Khor Fakkan Adventure, an ecotourism project launching at Al Soueifa mountain.
Geared towards families, it will offer several activities including hiking trails, biking trails and a zip line that will have guests soar over Luluyah Beach before landing in the surrounding waters.
There will also be a giant swing that allows visitors to swing over the mountain landscape and an alpine coaster, where adventure seekers can travel down the mountainside on a bobsled-like cart.
Updates on the latest developments from Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) were revealed during the second day of Dubai's Arabian Travel Market, alongside a host of other project expansions.
Speaking to The National, Ahmed Al Qaseer, chief executive of Shurooq, said that expanding the authority's ecotourism offerings is a key focus, especially during the UAE's year of sustainability.
And Khor Fakkan, which was also named the best Arab tourist city this year, isn’t the only destination being developed. There are major works underway to extend Shurooq's existing luxury tented resorts and eco-retreats across the emirate.
“We're focusing on the expansion of the Mysk Kingfisher Retreat in the beautiful mangroves of Kalba, a protected area. We've added around 20 rooms, so in total we have 40 rooms now and we'll start receiving guests in the coming two months,” said Al Qaseer.
In central Sharjah's sweeping dunes, Mysk Al Badayer Retreat is also being extended and the resort will have 15 new tented structures each with private swimming pools, and ranging in size from one to three bedrooms. It will welcome guests before August, Al Qaseer confirmed.
Nomad by Mysk, a roaming glamping trailer concept that was announced in 2021 is finally on track to open next year.
The close-to-nature adventure travel experience will debut in the mountains of Kalba. Twenty aluminium airstream trailers will offer travellers a unique place to stay and reconnect with nature in the popular ecotourism destination.
Al Qaseer added: “Sharjah is an emirate that is diverse. We have the city of Sharjah, a cosmopolitan cultural city, and then there is the central region with all the beautiful resources, deserts and archaeology. Then we look to the east coast where there's mountains, woodlands and beaches — there's a lot of diversity and a lot of protected areas.”
He also confirmed opening dates and updates for two new luxury resorts coming to the emirate of Sharjah.
Having partnered with the Lux Collective — a Singaporean hotel company that’s behind swanky resorts in the Maldives and Mauritius — Shurooq will open the Lux* Al Bridi Resort inside the Sharjah Safari project in autumn next year. As the only luxury retreat inside the 800-hectares Al Bridi Reserve, the resort will offer visitors access to unique experiences including opportunities to spot the Big Five — rhinos, buffaloes, elephants, lions and leopards.
In Khor Fakkan, Lux* Al Jabal Resort is on track to open in the second quarter of next year. The nature-surrounded resort is set on a hillside overlooking Soueifa beach and villas that offer picturesque views over the bay.
“It's the first Lux operations in the Middle East and we're excited about that,” said Al Qaseer. “At Shurooq, we like to be a little bit adventurous. Every hotel has its own story, and we try to work with operators that share the same values and offer strong experiences. After the pandemic, people are craving experiences rather than just looking for a beautiful hotel.”