8.30am Get on the road
Aim to start your journey before 9am. The drive to Khor Fakkan – a tiny, picturesque town 17kms north of Fujairah on the East Coast of the UAE, is just over 100km from Dubai, so be prepared to spend around two hours in the car. Packing a few picture books or travel games should help keep the nippers occupied. Head towards Al Garhoud and the Airport Road. Then follow the signs to Al Khawaneej.
9.15am Drop into the Posh Paws Animal Sanctuary
We love this family friendly sanctuary in Al Khawaneej, where the children can pet and feed all manner of rescued creatures. Because Laura, the owner, is so hands on, all the animals are very friendly and well used to being handled. There is also the opportunity to feed carrots and apples to hungry goats and miniature ponies, as well as playing with puppies, guinea pigs and bunnies galore. We particularly like the baby emus, which stand five foot high and enjoy a good scratch. Parents can take this opportunity to enjoy a quick tea or coffee. A word of warning though – it might be difficult to get the nippers back into the car afterwards.
Free. Open daily, 9am-5pm. www.poshpawsdubai.com (050 273 0973).
10.30am Resume your journey
Continue on your way to Khor Fakkan. Follow the signs to Al Awir, and Highway 50. From here, you need to head towards Dhaid, and from there, follow the signs to Fujairah. Play ‘who can spot the most camels’ once you enter dune country. There are plenty of opportunities to stop off on the way, at petrol stations for additional snacks and loo trips, as well as a quick leg-stretch once you get into the more picturesque, mountainous terrain of the Hajaar range. Khor Fakkan is situated almost exactly between Dibba and Fujairah on the Indian Ocean, around 20kms from Oman.
12.30pm Visit the local produce market
By now you will have reached the friendly little town of Khor Fakkan. The local fruit, vegetable and fish market is a great place to experience a bit of the local culture, and to pick up some bargainous fresh produce at the same time. Prices are low, and vendors are open to bargaining. Pick up some healthy fruits to enjoy on the beach with your picnic – and to take home too.
1.30pm Enjoy a swim and a beach picnic
A superb picnic spot can be found on the Khor Fakkan public beach, which is clean, well maintained and serene. The beach is approximately two kilometres from the main shopping street, and there are spectacular views of the mountains around the bay. The beach is safe for swimming (although the water will be cooler than the Arabian Gulf you’ll be used to in Dubai) and there are playground facilities on the sand too. We like the fact that there are plenty of palm trees to provide shade from the midday sun.
3.30pm Visit the Al Wurrayah Falls
Take advantage of the wetter climate at this time of year, and visit the falls, which are around four kilometres from the Oceanic Hotel & Resort. You will need to be in a four-wheel-drive to get to them, but they are worth the trek. At the waterfalls, you'll also find a natural fresh water pool which you can swim in. The pools are filled with a combination of rain and spring water from underground reservoirs. They are also usually inhabited by tiny, freshwater fish – and sometimes frogs. It goes without saying that this is an area of natural beauty, so any rubbish generated by snacks and picnics, should be cleared up and taken home with you.
5.00pm Head back into town for some nosh
Our usual port of call in Khor Fakkan is the very reasonably priced and charming Oceanic Hotel & Resort. Plus, if the kids haven’t had quite enough water fun, there are pool passes for day guests who book a table for dinner at one of the restaurants. However, the Oceanic is currently under refurbishment, and won’t be re-opened until mid- January. So, as an alternative, you could head into town, up the main street, and sample a hot meal from one of the many small restaurants serving up a range of Indian, Arabic and griddle or rotisserie-style meals. You’ll fill your boots for next to nothing and can also enjoy watching the street life from an al fresco table.
6.30pm Time to go home
Not only have you enjoyed a thoroughly economical day out, but the drive back should be a peaceful one too after all that fresh air and water fun!
Don’t forget to pack:
- Swimming and beach togs
- A large picnic
- Thermos flask of tea or coffee
- Travel games and books for the car
- A bag of carrots or apples
More fun stuff
It’s difficult to appreciate all that Khor Fakkan has to offer visitors in just one day. Here are a few more ideas in case you fancy visiting again The Oceanic Hotel and Resort re-opens in mid-January after a major refurbishment. This charming and relaxed four-star hotel, set in manicured gardens, offers visitors a huge range of water sport activities and excursions, from snorkelling trips and diving to whale watching in the Musandam. Visit www.oceanichotel.com
Plan a fishing day trip with Khor Fakkan Pleasure Boats. If you get together with another family, you can book for a day-long excursion which includes your captain (manning the boat), cooler boxes filled with water and drinks, all the fishing equipment you’ll need, and fins, snorkels and masks for everyone too. Catch a couple of barracuda in the morning, head to Shark Island for a lunchtime barbecue (also provided). Cook your barracuda and climb to the island’s peak for some fabulous photo opportunities. Then finish off with a twilight cruise back to shore. Dhs1,000 (group day rate). www.khorfakkanboats.com
Follow the heritage trail. Khor Fakkan is home to a ruined Portuguese fort and several archeological sites preserved by UNESCO. There’s a museum in town, and just a few clicks away towards Fujairah, you’ll find the Al Bidiyah Mosque – rumoured to be the oldest mosque in Arabia.