Even a DESERT Diva likes a weekend at the seaside, although ours was a mid-week break.
We travelled from Al Ain to Khor Kalba, taking the E102 through the mountains (it is a dual carriageway with crash barriers so it isn’t like a “real” mountain road) from Wadi Al Helo.
First stop was the bridge over the creek at Khor Kalba – the most northerly mangrove in the world. This area is officially closed to the public for redevelopment, and has been since March 2012, however you can still sneak onto the bridge (N25 00.870 E56 21.652) with your camera and if you are lucky you will see hawksbill turtles – we try to time our visit for when the tide is going out and have achieved a 95% success rate in spotting them.
Passing the local fishing fleet – yes that would be old battered Toyota Landcruiser pick-ups – our next stop off is always the Public Cafe at the end of the waterfront. We sat outside in the semi-shade of a rotunda and feasted on shrimp biriani and salad, all the while watching the waves gently crash onto the beach.
Our overnight accommodation was in the lovely Fujairah Rotana Resort, for which we had bought a Groupon voucher – our dinner bed and breakfast cost us 565aed++. If we were to stay here again we would opt for B&B and have our dinner in the a la carte restaurant instead of the all-day buffet restaurant. The food was good but as the hotel caters for package tourists, the atmosphere in the buffet restaurant was reminiscent of a school dining hall!
The room was nice, the staff friendly, and it was good to have access to the private beach and pool.
Our destination the next morning was the beach next to the Sandy Beach Motel – from here it is possible to swim across to Snoopy Island which is a haven for sea creatures. The weather was cool – around 22C and the sea was a bit chilly so we donned wetsuits and life jackets before taking to the water.
Wherever I go I always seem to be a magnet for biting/stinging creatures and this trip was no different – after about 10 minutes in the water my bare arm was stung by a jellyfish; where are the sunfish, sea turtles and rockfish when you need them? Neil is a very keen snorkeller and thankfully he was wearing a stinger suit, so I urged him back into the water where he caught the sealife on our GoPro Hero3.
Al Aqah is around 40kms north of the city of Fujairah.
It is possible to camp on the beach next to the Sandy Beach Motel but this area may be busy at weekends – there are no toilets or showers.
There are a number of hotels to choose from and outwith school holidays they can be quiet and reasonably priced – here’s a search from booking.com. It is also worth checking bulk-buying sites such as Groupon and Cobone for special deals.