Sharjah is UAE’s third largest and third most populous city and is a delight to explore, especially for those interested in the Arab culture.
Fossil Rock is one of the most popular hangout spots for Dubai’s weekend warriors, from dune bashers and dune buggy riders to trail runners. The surrounding dunes are the perfect location to set up camp, especially for large groups who don’t mind a bit of noise and excitement. It’s also close enough to civilisation that newbies can feel comfortable knowing their home comforts are not too far away.
This is one of the best places in the UAE for a spot of dune bashing, but we recommend it for experienced off-roaders only. The Camel Rock nearby is also worth a visit, as is Big Red, a huge red dune that’s popular with dune buggying daredevils.
Dubai to Hatta Road, near Al Awir, Sharjah
Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization
Just about everything you’d want to know about Islam is addressed in this museum set in a stunningly converted souq on the waterfront. The ground-floor galleries zero in on different aspects of the Islamic faith, including the ritual and importance of the hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca), and on Arab scientific accomplishments, especially in mathematics and astronomy, while the upper floor navigates 1400 years of Islamic art and artefacts. Don’t miss the zodiac mosaic in the central dome.
The curation is decidedly old-fashioned and could do with a revamp, but there’s no denying the beauty of the objects on display. In particular, in gallery one look out for the 11th-century cat-shaped incense burner from Khurasan in eastern Iran and the gorgeous collection of lustreware ceramics. In gallery two, don’t miss the demon-headed and cow-headed iron maces.
Saturday to Thursday: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
Friday: 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Timings are subject to change during public holidays and Ramadan.
Entry Fees to the museum:
Children (under 2 years): Free, Children (2-12years): 5 AED (Rs. 95), Adults (13+ years): 10 AED(Rs. 190)
Wasit Natural Reserve
Known as the green lung of the city, this centrally located reserve is home to an exceptional wetlands centre that’s popular with bird-watchers.With a diverse ecosystem of coastal sand dunes, salt flats, ponds and a large lake, Wasit Nature Reserve is home to more than 200 bird species. It also attracts species of small mammal, reptile and insect, some of which were discovered for the first time in the UAE.
Bird-lovers should make a beeline for the Wasit Wetland Centre. There are eight hides with binoculars and information boards, while families can take a tour of the wetlands by golf buggy.
Sun-Thu 9am-6.30pm; Fri 2.30pm-6.30pm; Sat 11am-6,30pm; Sun closed.
Adult : AED 15 (Rs. 285), Kids under 12 : Free
Open Ramtha area near the suburb of Wasit, Sharjah (050 213 3915).