Kalba

Beach | City

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Sharjah): 35 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 2-3 Hours

Place Location: On The Coast Of Gulf Of Oman

Transportation Options: Bus / Cab

Travel Tips: None

At a distance of 12 km from Fujairah, 35 km from Khor Fakkan, 110 km from Sharjah and 122 km from Dubai, KKalba is a quaint town that is described as an exclave of Sharjah that lies on the coastline bordering the Gulf of Oman. It is one of the major tourist attractions in the emirate of Sharjah.

The town was captured by the Portuguese Empire in the 16th century and was referred to as Ghallah. It was attacked and sacked by the Sultan of Muscat in 1811 as part of the ongoing Omani campaign against the maritime forces of Al-Qasimi. It was a Trucial State from 1936 to 1951, before being reincorporated into Sharjah. However, peace was short-lived with more strife becoming evident with the establishment of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. A settlement arrived in 1972 with the mediation of Sheikh Rashid of Dubai and several other rulers in the area.

Kalba is particularly well known for Khor Kalba or the Kalba creek, a swampy area populated by beautiful dense mangrove forests deemed to be the oldest in Arabia. Over 500 hectares of magnificent mangroves were declared as Al Qurm Nature Reserve and is home to some of the most beautiful and rarest species of birds including the endangered Arabian-collared kingfishers. The area is not open to visitors at the moment but the avid birdwatchers are welcome to sit in the nearby coffee shop and try to spot the birds through binoculars.

Another must-visit place in Kalba is the Bird of Prey Centre that has aviaries housing owls, eagles, buzzards, vultures and, of course, falcons. This center has live demonstrations displaying various raptors and highlighting their historical significance to the tourists. Watch raptors at work during an hour-long show in the outdoor arena, which takes place twice a day, and see the birds up close during a behind-the-scenes tour of the center. The center remains open for 6 days a week with Monday being a holiday.

Apart from these, Kalba also has Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre which houses 30 indigenous species of animals. The visitors are taken around in golf carts with a trained guide accompanying them to satisfy their queries about the desert and mountain creatures. The tourists can also observe the multiple species of snakes, lizards, scorpions and hedgehogs that are exhibited indoors while the large enclosures holding the predatory Arabian leopards, lynx, and wolves are truly awe-inspiring. While in Kalba, one can also visit Bait Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamad Al Qasimi fort, the royal residence, and the beautiful beach. Located on the east coast, this is a heritage house that has been converted into a museum. There are a number of Islamic collectibles on display here that are worth seeing. The museum is closed for restoration.

Timings:

Kalpa Bird of Prey Center: 10 AM - 4.30 PM from Sunday to Thursday (except Monday), 2 PM - 4. 30 PM on Friday & 11 AM - 4.30 PM on Saturday

Bait Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamad Al Qasimi. 9 AM - 1 PM & 5 PM - 8 PM from Saturday to Thursday, 5 PM - 8 PM on Friday & 9 AM - 1 PM on Monday

Entry: AED. 5 per Adult for Bait Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamad Al Qasimi, AED. 50 for Kalpa Bird of Prey Center