• What to Do

SPORTS & ACTIVITIES

From the west coast to the east, there’s so much to explore no matter whether you want to be active, adventurous or just kick back and relax.

It’s not just the heritage that attracts visitors to Sharjah. It is the only emirate with territory on both coasts, so you can swim from a city beach, hike through the mountains, dive in the Indian Ocean and kayak through the world’s most northerly mangrove forest, all without leaving Sharjah.

Sharjah is a great adventure sport destination, from offroading to diving; adrenaline junkies are well catered for. If you prefer ball sports to extreme sports, you won’t be disappointed; from the UAE’s original rugby club to one of its newest golf courses, Sharjah has it all, and, when the weather heats up, keep cool at the emirate’s ice rinks and bowling alleys. Fancy yourself as a sure shot? Make the most of Sharjah’s top class archery and shooting ranges.

Water sports fans are in for a treat. Kayak trips of KhorFakkan mangroves are exercise, nature and education all rolled into one. World championship powerboat races are exciting spectacles. And traditional Arabian sports, such as camel racing shouldn’t be missed.

All this activity aside, those who view a holiday as a chance for relaxation will find a collection of spas and beauty salons where top treatments are surprisingly reasonably priced.

Golf

Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club

Boasting a fully floodlit, Peter Harradine designed 9 hole course, this is Sharjah’s first fully grassed course. Played twice, the course is a par 72 in excess of 7,300 yards, and with between five and seven tee positions on each hole, it offers considerable variety and interest; and that’s before you negotiated the water hazards and bunkers. The Academy’s facilities include a 300m fully grassed driving range, 6,425 square metre world class short game area and 1,095 square metre putting green; all of which are fully floodlit. The club is welcoming to members and guests of all levels, with PGA professionals on hand to offer expert tuition. Coaching programmes are suitable for all ages, and equipment is available for hire.

Shooting

Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club

Facilities include ranges for indoor pistols, rifles and revolvers and 25m and 50m German Technology ranges. Weapons range from specialised target pistols to .22 M16s. Safety is of paramount importance and a fully trained safety instructor accompanies visitors at all times.

Sharjah Ladies Club

Established under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Jawahar bint Mohammad Al Qassimi, the 14 lanes are open to both air pistol and air rifle shooters. The facility has enabled the creation of a women’s national shooting team. Instruction is available. The club is a luxurious five-star setup on the coast near to the Radisson Blu resort and is a haven of pampering as well as shooting.

Archery

Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club

Target archery, using state of the art equipment, is offered at the indoor 20 yard range at SGSC. Tuition is available for all levels from qualified trainers and competitions are held throughout the year. The range is open Saturday to Thursday from 12:00 to 22:00 and from 14:00 to 22:00 on Fridays.

Horse Riding

Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club

Established in 1982, SERC is one of the UAE’s top equestrian facilities with one of the largest indoor riding facilities in the Middle East. The riding school is supervised by qualified international trainers and schooled horses are available for children and beginners. Pony tours are offered for young children at a cost. Group lessons are also available.

Ice Skating

Sharjah Ladies Club

To maintain your physical fitness, Sharjah Ladies Club offers its clients this unique facility for recreation, enjoyment, fun, and pleasure. From beginners to the most advanced, skaters can join a pleasant environment. Professional supervision and instruction is provided.

Sky 24

Taking sports, leisure and entertainment to a pretty high level, Sky 24 offers a great chance to get out of the heat on a sweltering summer’s day.

Off-Roading

Most car rental agencies offer visitors 4WDs capable of desert driving. If renting a 4WD, make sure you get the details of the insurance plan, as many rental insurers won’t cover damage caused by off-roading. Dune bashing, or desert driving, is one of the toughest challenges for both car and driver, but once you have mastered it, it’s a lot of fun. If you do venture out into the desert, it is a good idea to have at least one experienced driver and one other car to help tow you out if you get stuck. Most major tour companies offer a range of desert and mountain safaris if you’d rather leave the driving to the professionals. Driving in wadis is usually a bit more straightforward. Wadis are (usually) dry gullies, carved through the rock by rushing floodwaters, following the course of seasonal rivers. The main safety precautions to take when wadi bashing is to keep your eyes open for rare, but not impossible, thunderstorms developing. The wadis can fill up quickly and you will need to make your way to higher ground pretty fast to avoid flash floods.

Watersports & Diving

Sharjah is unique among the emirates in having coast on both the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, making it a dream destination for watersports lovers. The calm waters, sheltered coves and pristine beaches are ideal for getting out on the water and many of the beach hotels offer the opportunity to both guests and non-guests, although the latter may have to pay a beach fee. Many have equipment for sea kayaking, sailing and windsurfing and some may offer waterskiing.

Fishing

The fishing is good, particularly off the east coast, and many people come in search of big game fish as well as eating fish. The sport is superb, often fierce and frenetic, but at the end of it there is always a willing restaurant chef happy to barbeque your catch.

Kayaking

Kayaking is a wonderful way to get up close to nature and explore the coast and inshore waters. Weaving your way pas the gnarled trunks and overhanging branches of the mangrove forest, you may encounter turtles, crabs, and even the critically endangered (there are only around 50 breeding pairs) Halcyon Chloris Kalbaensis, or white-collared kingfisher which is unique to this small area.

Diving

Diving is popular and the clear waters off the east coast are home to a variety of marine species, coral life and even shipwrecks. You’ll see exotic fish, possibly moray eels, small sharks, barracuda, stingrays, sea snakes and even turtles. Another option for diving enthusiasts is a trip to Musanadam. Part of the Sultanate of Oman, it is often described as the ‘Norway of the Middle East’ due to it’s many inlets and cliffs that plunge straight into the sea. Sheer wall dives with strong currents and clear waters are more suitable for advanced divers, while huge bays with their calm waters and bountiful shallow reefs are ideal for the less experienced. Courses are offered under the usual international training organisations.

Camel Racing

This is a chance to see a truly traditional local sport, though now with a modern twist as the camels are steered by ‘robot’ jockeys, controlled by an operator in one of the gleaming 4WDs that follow the races. Races take place in the winter months and additional meetings are often held on public holidays. Races are usually held early on Thursday or Friday mornings, but you should see camels out being exercised during the day in the cooler months. Sharjah’s camel racecourse is near Al Dhaid, and there are tracks in each of the other emirates too.

Horse Racing & Showjumping

Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club

Horseracing in the UAE is great sport and big business, running from November all the way through to the world’s richest horserace, the Dubai World Cup, in late March. Sharjah Spectator Sports holds meetings through the season, on Saturday afternoons with six or seven races per meeting at 30 minute intervals with the first race at about 14:00. Entrance is free to all racecourses in the UAE and soft drinks and light snacks are available. A Pick Six competition to select the winners of each race is held at every meeting with big prizes on offer. Results of the competition are announced in the paddock following the final race. There are regular showjumping and dressage competitions throughout the season, from November to March. There are also a whole series of events for purebred Arabians. In Sharjah all events are held at the equestrian and racing club, but there are also events across the UAE.

Paintballing

Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club

The Paintball Park at SGSC is world famous and is amongst the very best in the Middle East. The extraordinary and exciting floodlit park can accommodate up to 150 players in one session in teams of up to 14 players. There are two phases, the 5,000 square metre jungle phase (complete with bunkers, trees, hills, trenches, bridges, hut and even an old aircraft), and the Sahara phase; you can also indulge in a spot of target practise to help hone your skills. The park is run by friendly and qualified marshals and state of the art equipment is provided and for sale in the pro shop. The park is open from 10:00 to 22:00 and refreshments and changing rooms are available.

Bowling

Bowling is a great indoor activity for the long hot days of summer. It is available at Ewan Bowling Centre at Ewan Hotel, Radisson Blu and Sky 24 at Al Durrah Tower.

Cricket

Second only to football in popularity, impromptu cricket matches can be found on most areas of wasteland on Fridays and during the evenings. Sharjah is also home to the 27,000 capacity Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium which, between 1984 and 2003, hosted One Day International tournaments involving the world’s top teams. The stadium has been designated as the home ground for Afghanistan’s national cricket team for all One Day Internationals and first class matches; they also have full use of the facilities at Al Dhaid cricket village. Al Dhaid cricket village is a 10,000 capacity venue used by international teams for training and as the host of local competitions including the Al Dhaid Ramadan Cup. Sharjah Cricket Stadium also played host to the Bangladesh Twenty20 League in 2010.

Dhow Cruises

There are many operators who offer cruises sailing north from Dibba following the coastline where steep rocky cliffs rise out of the sea. You’ll pass small fishing villages and will hopefully see dolphins and turtles, and have the chance to snorkel in the pristine waters. Prices start at around Dhs.200 per adult for a full day, including lunch, refreshments and snorkelling gear. Cruises depart from the Omani side of Dibba and can be arranged by most hotels or tour operators. Dhow cruises also operate around Khalid Lagoon and offer a great opportunity to view the modern city from the form of transport that first defined it and brought it fame and wealth.

Traditional dhow races, rowing races and even dragon boat races are often organised in the waters of one of the city’s lagoons, offshore from the Corniche or in the bay at KhorFakkan over on the east coast.

Power boating

On the west coast, Sharjah’s Khalid Lagoon plays host to the Sharjah Formula 1 Powerboat Grand Prix as part of the annual Water Festival, held in December. Described as being akin to driving a Formula 1 car across a ploughed field, it is one of the most spectacular and exciting sports in the world, and, as the season finale, Sharjah is its most dramatic home. The boats reach speeds of up to 225kph (130mph) as they race around the buoyed course.

Football

The ‘beautiful game’ is as popular in Sharjah as it is across the rest of the planet. If you’re in need of an organized game while you’re in Sharjah, head for Sharjah Wanderers. Impromptu games happen throughout the emirate although it is at Kalba on the east coast that you cannot move for friendly matches; visitors are often welcomed as extra players.

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