Sitting just a forty-minute drive away from Dubai, Ajman covers just 260km², making it the smallest emirate in the UAE. Its more relaxed rate of development makes it a more laidback place to stay than Dubai, though you can still enjoy all the action before heading back to your peaceful retreat. Boasting its own fantastic stretch of sand, lined by a promenade of cafes and restaurants to take it easy at, you can indulge in one of the luxury resorts along the beaches. The emirate of Ajman comprises three parts; the main city area on the coast, simply known as Ajman, plus its two enclaves, Al Manama and Masfout. Lesser inhabited, Al Manama sits just over an hour’s drive away, with fortresses sitting among its honey-producing trees. Masfout, which is located close to the border of Oman, is where the Hajar Mountains cross from Oman into the UAE and offers some hiking spots for outdoor explorers. With most of the attractions in the city of Ajman and the surrounding area, Ajman could be your new favourite way to experience the UAE.
|Language||English and Arabic|
|Time Difference||4 hours
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Spanning a 16km stretch along the Persian Gulf, the peaceful sandy beach of Ajman is the main draw of the emirate. The waterfront promenade, known as the Corniche, is perfect for a stroll or a bite to eat in one of the cafes and restaurants that line the way. Something of the social hub of Ajman, the area comes to life in the evenings and on weekends, with the locals enjoying barbecues on the beach and taking it easy over a meal. You can have fun with watersports too, such as paddle boarding, windsurfing, jet skiing and banana boat rides on the pristine sea, plus you can explore the souks and markets to seek out Arabic gems at a much lower price than you would find in the larger emirates.
The capital city of the emirate, Ajman city sits along the coast of the Arabian Gulf. While the Emirate may be a little more subdued than its neighbour of Dubai, the city still offers plenty to see and do. Its modern city centre boasts a vast shopping mall, hosting over sixty international local and international shops, plus a food court and cinema showing the latest Hollywood films. Alternatively, Al Ittihad Center offers a more authentic local experience, with homeware and gifts shop in a pedestrianised location, while there are plenty of other retail opportunities available, too. For a spot of history, the Ajman Museum is also set within the city area. Housed in an 18th century fort, you can learn about the history of the smallest emirate, with old manuscripts, weaponry, pottery and jewellery - some dating back as far as 3,000 BC. You can also find out about the pearl trade that once dominated the area, while families can head to Al Hamidiyah Park to play basketball, football or take a spin on the go-kart track.
Ajman may be one of the younger Emirates, but it still has interesting culture and history. While in the city of Ajman, stop by the fish market to see why fishing is so deeply rooted in emirate's heritage. With a tasty array of fish freshly caught and ready for sale, you can have your selection filleted, spiced and grilled in front of you for a tasty Ajman treat. It is also one of the UAE's largest dhow building centres, so you may be able to catch a glimpse of one of these traditional style boats bobbing in and out of the harbour. Ajman’s enclave, Al Manama, is where you will find three fortresses sitting among the simr trees. The Manama Museum is housed in its own 20th century fort, where seven large rooms display a collection of weaponry, Bendouin jewellery and handicrafts. In Masfout, you can see Ajman’s oldest mosque, Bin Sultan Mosque, which was built in 1815 from clay and plaster.
Nature and Wildlife
The Al Zorah Nature Reserve is a surprisingly vibrant ecosystem located just outside the city. A haven of bird and marine life, there are almost sixty species of bird in the reserve, including pink flamingos and herons, which you can spot as you explore the mangroves by kayak. Ajman, and the rest of the UAE, is perfect for birdwatchers, who can seek out more than one-hundred species who regularly breed in the region, plus the large number of migratory birds who migrate between Europe and Africa. From Ajman, you can also head out to explore the Arabian Desert with a 4x4 adventure to rev across the dunes or take a quieter approach to spotting native oryx and gazelle.
The Hajar Mountains offer ripe opportunities for hikes and mountain bike trips. Stretching across Oman and into the UAE, you can head out about 120km to the enclave of Masfout to walk or cycle the rocky terrain along old Bendouin and Shihuh pathways, where cooler temperatures offer a break from the summer heat. Masfout Castle is the characteristic relic of the area, which once defended against oncoming bandits.
The 18-hole Al Zorah Championship Golf Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, offers a beautifully manicured spot set within a picturesque natural environment. Opened in December 2015, find the latest technology and a pro shop selling the world’s top golf brands plus a 350-metre driving range where you can warm up or fine-tune your technique.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic direct from London Heathrow. Emirates direct from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow.
Via Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways from London Heathrow and Manchester.
From London Heathrow to Dubai: 6 hours 45 minutes.
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