Do you love kayaking or just being around the mountains? If you’re thinking about these activities in the UAE, then Al Rafisah Dam Kayaking is perfect for you!
Recently, I’ve gotten the opportunity to visit this picturesque mountain recreational area and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had in the UAE!
The mountain scenery, the serene kayaking experience, and just the quick daytrip journey from Dubai are some of the reasons why travelers should check this place out!
Plus, it’s also a doable activity for solo travelers!
Disclaimer: While all recommendations and thoughts are my own, some of the links here are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Thanks.
Al Rafisah Dam is a recreational area located on the new Sharjah – Khor Fakkan highway.
Built in the 1980s, the dam has recently gotten a new look, making it Sharjah (the third-largest Emirate)’s recent attraction.
This attraction is near the village of Al-Rafisah, and dams the Wadi Shees, one of the most beautiful areas between Hajar Mountains on the UAE’s east coast.
The dam’s famous activity is kayaking and boating amidst Hajar mountains.
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The highlight of kayaking or boating here is how serene and majestic the mountains surrounding Al Rafisah Dam!
The dam is surrounded by sandstone Hajar mountain terrain, with a greenery landscape accompanying it.
If you come during the summer months, you can expect to see some ruins. In the winter months, they’re submerged underwater.
Solo Travel tip: The kayaking experience at Al Rafisah Dam is absolutely solo travel-friendly! There’s a single kayak that solo travelers can rent out at just 30 AED for an unlimited ride!
Plus, the kayak and boating rental are pretty much reasonable too!
- Single Kayak – 30 AED for unlimited rides
- Double Kayak – 60 AED for unlimited rides
- Paddle Boat – 90 AED for 1 hour ride (2 adults + 2 children)
- Brown Paddle Boat – 150 AED for 1 hour ride (3 adults + 2 children)
- Donut Boat – 250 AED for 1 hour ride (4 adults + 2 children)
Opening hours: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm daily
Heading to Al Rafisah Dam from Dubai?
Then you must take the new Sharjah-Khor Fakkan Highway!
This highway is so so so beautiful it’s as if you’re passing by mountain roads in Europe!
The highlight of this journey is the five mountain-excavated tunnels. Just passing by underneath these mountains is so breathtaking!
- Al Rogh Tunnel — 1.3 km
- Al Ghazeer Tunnel — 900 meters
- Al Saha 300 Tunnel — 300 meters
- Al Saqab Tunnel — 1.3 km,
- “Longest covered tunnel in the Middle East” Al Sidra Tunnel — 2.7 km.
Besides the tranquil experience of being in the middle of Al Rafisah Dam, the kayak or boating experience here lets you see nature up close.
Some of local residents of Al Rafisah that make the experience there so fun are the ducks and the gazelles!
They’re either quacking or swimming away in the middle of the lake. I’ve also seen the ducks sleeping in between the shrubs by the side of the lake so that was heartwarming to see!
The gazelles, on the other hand, are located on the protected part of a sandstone hill.
So you can only see them from afar. But regardless, it’s a nice feeling to be able to come that close to gazelles if you haven’t seen one in real life before
The park is located surrounding the spectacular Hajar mountain landscape.
There are several vantage points that let you take in the majestic view of the greyish-brown Hajar mountains.
Not only that, the park has 500m winding walkway that is surrounded by a collection of native plants and palm trees.
A wonderful escape from the bustling city.
There are shaded benches, and dedicated BBQ pits enough for every visitor coming to spend time there.
The playground on-site also makes Al Rafisah Dam a friendly destination for families coming here with children.
Besides the fact that Al Rafisah Dam is designed to be a recreational area, it is also a rest stop for all travelers heading to Khor Fakkan or Dubai!
Al Rafisah Dam is also a popular rest stop for bikers to chill out before they move on to the next location.
I mean, who wouldn’t love a rest stop that looks this good?
The fact that Al Rafisah Dam is located in the United Arab Emirates itself says much already.
The food served here is guaranteed halal, and there’s a musolla (praying room) available on site.
Muslim Travel tip: Do bring your own praying clothes as they do not provide.
Some restaurants & shops at Al Rafisah Dam are:
- Rafisa Lounge Restaurant & Cafe – Emirati cuisine experience accompanied by gorgeous Khorfakkan mountain views set against traditional furniture.
- Al Saad Ice Cream
- Coop mini shop – for snacks and general essentials
- Parking is available on site. If you come on the weekends or later on in the afternoon, expect to wait because it can be extremely crowded.
- Bring appropriate footwear (water shoes) and wear appropriate water-based apparels.
- Have a dry bag on board to keep your essentials safe.
- There is no entry fee to Al Rafisah Dam Recreational Center. Visitors are FREE to enter.
There are three options to getting to Al Rafisah Dam:
1. The best way to get to Al Rafisah Dam is by driving to that place.
If you’re not a local, I recommend renting a car, because that is cheaper and makes things easier.
2. Public Transport.
Here are some routes to consider:
- From Khor Fakkan City:
- 5 minutes car/taxi ride
- From Dubai:
- Take a bus from Al Fahidi to Fujairah (about 1 hour)
- Taxi/Careem from Fujairah to Al Rafisah Dam (approx 30 mins)
- Can cost around 100-130 AED
- From Fujairah:
- Via Taxi/Careem to Al Rafisah Dam (approx 30 mins)
3. Via tour guide
Here are some of the tours that I like:
- Wadi Shees & Al Rafisah Dam Full Day Tour
- Full Day Private Khor Fakkan Tour From Dubai (includes Al Rafisah Dam)
While you’re already in Al Rafisah Dam, why not extend your day trip and explore the rest of Khor Fakkan?
Plus, it can easily be done within half a day!
You’ll find the beach town a charming area to explore.