Drive along the Fujairah corniche (waterfront) and go as far as you can without your passports—to the UAE/Oman border.
Start at the Coffee Pot Roundabout
Set your car’s odometer to 0.0 as you come through the distinctive coffee pot roundabout at Fujairah’s suburb of Faseel. This, says the road sign, is the beginning of Corniche Road.
You have passed an ADNOC Service Staion on your right and at this distance you have reached the Fish Roundabout with an ENOC Service Station on the left.
The Fujairah International Marine Club is a bit further along, built in the shape of a ship. The Marina is part of this complex. Jet Skis can be hired from here. Also there are many fishing charter boat companies for the trips out on the Arabian Sea.
View Fujairah Corniche to Kalba in a larger map
Keep going through this roundabout parallel with the sea.
Further along on the seaward side is a grassy children’s playground and a place where there are occasional community gatherings.
At this point look right and you can see up Fujairah’s main street.
You are in the suburb of Al Gurfa.
There is, on this right side, a children’s racing car track, dodgems?
Just after some horse stables you will see Café Maria and immediately after this, set in from the road, is the bull butting arena. There are no signs but on late Friday afternoon, locals and tourists gather for this bovine spectacle.
Al Yaqout or Paint Ball can be played at this point.
You enter another roundabout so prepare to drive through it exiting in the same direction.
You have entered the suburb of Rugaylat, which is especially known as a centre for Fujairah fishermen.
After the lights, on the left hand side there is a good shop to get fishing equipment, including handheld fishing lines on a spool (only about Dh6) which are good to use at the Khor Kalba beach.
You encounter a sign, ‘Welcome in Kalba’ (all the signs at Kalba are like this not ‘Welcome to Kalba’).
Go through the roundabout and you are in Kalba (كلبــاء) and therefore in another part of the emirate of Sharjah.
After the roundabout you will see signs saying you are in Sour Kalba.
You reach the beginning of the Suhailah shopping strip.
Over on the left (seaward side of the road) is one of the best children’s parks in the region.
Turn off (right) for Suheilah Park but we will continue hugging the beach.
The Kalba Fort is on the right side. You can take photographs but it is closed to the public.
The UAE Interact-Kalba says:
“Early in the sixteenth century the Portuguese, expanding their empire in the Indian Ocean, built a series of forts along the southeastern coast of Arabia, including one at Kalba. In his Viaggio dell'Indie Orientali (Venice, 1590) the Venetian jeweller Gasparo Balbi mentions a place on the Arabian coast called 'Chelb' which is probably Kalba. Kalba was visited by a Dutch ship called the Meerkat in 1666. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Kalba was tributary to Sharjah, but in 1937 it was recognised as a Trucial sheikhdom by the British government.”
On the seaward side at the end of the children’s park is the HH Saed Al Qasimi House (Bait Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamed Al Qasimi). This house (bait) was built between 1898 and 1901 and belonged to one of Kalba's eminent, elder citizens, Sheikh Saeed bin Hamed Al Qassimi, who was also a former ruler of Sharjah.
As well as looking at the different rooms you can see old photographs, coins, artefacts and some magnificent poetic verse written on one of the walls.
The Al Qasimi House costs Dh3 for adults, Dh6 for a Family, Children are free or you can use a ‘multi use’ ticket. Open Sat-Thurs 9am-1pm & 5pm-8pm. Fri- 5-8pm. Closed on Mondays.
Straight after the fort, go through the roundabout, coming off (toward the sea) at an 11.00 o’clock position. You will now be on Corniche Street and over on the left side is the Kalba Fruit, Vegetable and Fish Souks (markets). Further along is a café housed in a building made of traditional materials.
This is a long stretch with great views of the sea and fishermen getting ready for their next venture out into the Arabian Sea.
Watch out for the speed cameras.
You have reached the suburb of Hiteen.
You go through another roundabout and enter the suburb of Al Bridi.
Entering the suburb of Al Nighala.
You that you are entering Khor Kalba. Khor means creek in Arabic.
Note the lovely date palms surrounding an old mosque and some old Emirati rowing boats on the sand.
You enter another roundabout and again come through at an 11.00 o’clock position. There is a strip of shops on the right beginning with a ‘restaurant’ (probably more like a café) that is very popular with the locals who like to sit, chat and play table games.
On the left are some government buildings, police, coast guard etc. Do not take photographs around this area.
Watch the two speed humps as you approach the Breeze Motel on the right.
There are some fascinating boats on the left including a couple of dhow (traditional Arab sailing vessels) and some traditional Emirati rowing boats (with rowlocks which involve tying the oars on with wet rope). See the wire pots for catching crayfish.
After passing an Ice Factory and the Kalba Fishing Cooperative you come to a roundabout.
If you go around it, at the 11.00 o’clock position is a gravel road going over a bridge and the tidal creek below.
Over the bridge on the right is a children’s playground but the road branches (I usually take the left fork) that goes down toward one of the best beaches (my favorite) on the east coast—Khor Kalba beach. Many people come here and camp the night (but don’t tell everyone).
Go right around this roundabout or this is the first exit right when approaching the roundabout.
One of the most important conservation areas is on the left with the oldest mangrove forest in Arabia. There are many endangered species here and this is one of the most popular bird watching areas in the UAE.
Beside the road on the right a sign tells you that this is the suburb of Al Maqtia. On the left is an estuary and a scenic walking path with picnic areas alongside that go for a long way in this southern most tip of the UAE’s Gulf of Oman coastline.
At this roundabout you want to keep hugging the water’s edge and walking path so plan to go around until you exit at a 9-10.00 o’clock position.
There are many new and elaborate buildings on your right.
You will see shops and some signs pointing right to the Al Ghayl Fort and the Wadi Al Helo. At the roundabout you can head right on this major road (through the mountains and tunnel) to places like Hatta, Abu Dhabi or the internal road to Dubai and Sharjah.
Keep on going through the roundabout in the same direction.
At this point there is a sign indicating that you can turn right to go to the Khatan Al Milahah archaeological site.
At almost 20 kilometres you reach the Omani Border where passports are needed if you are going through to the neighboring country.
Do let me know if there are other landmarks to point out or links to insert that would enhance this drive.
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: Our starting point—the Coffee Pot Roundabout in Fujairah’s suburb of Faseel. I took this photo through a window from a top floor apartment in the new Siji Hotel Apartments.