Inter Continental

Khor Fakkan 101

Khor Fakkan
Category: Travel

Sharjah’s East Coast has that middle-of-nowhere feel with all the mix that an adventurous soul would crave.

You’ve probably never heard of Khor Fakkan all your life—shame. Here’s a quick crash course of sort, anyway.

The “Creek of the Two Jaws,” as what the place’s name means, is a Sharjah town some 25 kilometres from Fujairah’s centre. It is some 137 kilometers and two hours’ drive away from Sharjah itself.

The place, a paradise for lovers of outdoor activities, is called “Creek of the Two Jaws” because it is set in a splendid bay flanked by two headlands.

Khor Fakkan, a tempting place for the explorer in you, is believed to have been a Portuguese outpost around the 16th century with two forts—one on the northern side, the other on a hill by the southern side. These structures, which are now ruins, offer excellent stopovers for history buffs wanting to be at the sight of an invasion by the Persian navy, which overran the forts around 1623, and the subsequent conflicts that ensued culminating in another Persian invasion around 1737.

Aside from the fort ruins, Khor Fakkan has a picturesque, isolated coastline that few people know about: Heart Beach, an area where the closest you can get to a direction is an image scrawled on a hillside above it; finding your way to it indeed adds a little excitement in your cravings for adventure holidays.

Heart Beach is some 15 minutes’ hike from a last-chance petrol station by a roundabout at the northern end of Khor Fakkan Beach near Oceanic Hotel. Behind the station are steps that go over the hill. No pain, no gain, so walk and you’ll be rewarded with, and as one traveller who’d been there described it, pure, uninterrupted heaven, an idyllic, quiet, unspoiled beach where the sand is soft and white.

The Arabian Sea and its magnificent underwater life and corals make Khor Fakkan breathtakingly irresistible. Situated on Sharjah’s East Coast, which runs along the Gulf of Oman, Khor Fakkan is scenic with the spectacularly rugged Hajar Mountains rising to 1,000 meters, crisscrossed by deep wadis, or small water basins.

The sun-soaked, sandy beaches and the blue Gulf of Oman make this coast a haven for diving, fishing or just relaxing. The Khor Fakkan waters are full of kingfish, tuna, barracuda, red snapper, and hammour. Fishing aficionados can just pick their spot and wait patiently for the nibble. The warm and shallow waters of Khor Fakkan around the Sharque Island and Snoopy Island just across from the Sandy Beach Motel are best for snorkeling, as well.

Due to the variety of marine and coral life found in warm and relatively unpolluted waters of the East Coast, diving is a very popular sport in. Khor Fakkan, which is also an ideal spot for water skiing and windsurfing. Nearby hotels like Oceanic Hotel & Resort, which is tucked into one of the headlands, offer snorkeling and dive tours.

Khor Fakkan can be covered in a day, or you can spend a weekend there away from the bustle of the city.

The Al Marjan Diving Centre, Central Souk, Corniche Park and a ladies park are all located along the picturesque Corniche. The town has numerous supermarkets, an Arabic restaurant, a few fast food outlets and a pharmacy.
Khor Fakkan’s Rifaisa Dam is located a few kilometers up in the mountains behind the town. It can be reached through a gravel track off the ring road where, as you drive up, you can see remnants of stone houses built in the wadis. There is a track to walk along that takes you from one side of the dam to the other.

Another must-see is Wadi Wurrayah, a popular site some 15 kilometres inland from Khor Fakkan. Accessible by four-wheel drive vehicle, the wadi offers a deep year-round pool. It also has a seasonal waterfall. Wadi Wurrayah is perfect to pitch tent for the night to yet again explore “Creek of the Two Jaws” in your middle of nowhere.
Driving from Dubai, you can reach Khor Fakkan by following signs to Masafi before turning right for Fujairah. On the outskirts of Fujairah, you’ll come to a roundabout. Go left towards Dibba and continue on the coast road until you reach Khor Fakkan.

So tag everyone along and go Khor Fakkan for the weekend, where you can hike in the morning, camp in the night and enjoy another day of discovery.