Enjoy winter sunshine and world-class eating in UAE's chilled-out Ajman

The UAE is made up of seven emirates – or lands – but most of us only know Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which leaves five undiscovered destinations for year-round sunshine.

Ajman, a 40-minute taxi ride from Dubai International Airport, might be the smallest emirate, but it packs a mighty punch, with glorious mountains, ancient forts, lively souks, long stretches of desert and practically untouched beaches along its Persian Gulf coastline.


GET IN A FLAP

The Al Zorah Nature Reserve is a sanctuary of mangrove forests, sandy beaches and turquoise lagoons.

Home to almost 60 species of birds, you can walk the scenic pathway to spot snacking flamingos.

The best way to get a sense of the vastness and beauty of this ecosystem is to take a guided two-hour kayak tour, £35 per person (Questforadventure.net). 

FEEL LIKE A VIP

In need of some TLC? The luxe Oberoi Al Zorah hotel is all about relaxation.


Surrounded by olive trees, with sweeping ocean views, there’s an 85m pool, private beach, spa and gym.

Choose from suites with terraces to three-bed villas with a private pool.

Staff will spoil you with mango ice lollies, ice-cold water bottles and refreshing face towels.

Rooms cost from £210 a night, including breakfast (Oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-al-zorah-ajman).

Or for something a little different, try the Caravana Beach Resort, staying in a cool caravan right on the beach, with your own barbecue and private hot tub, from £150 per night (Caravana.ae). 

HIT THE DUNES

Explore the sands surrounding Ajman with a desert Jeep safari.

Extras include dune bashing (driving fast over bumpy sand), sandboarding, camel rides and an unlimited evening barbecue with belly dancing entertainment.


Tours cost from £17 for two hours (Arabian-safari.com). If you prefer hiking, the Hajar mountain range, 80 miles to the south-east, has loads of trails.

It is cooler in the mountains, but it’s still best to stick to early mornings or October to March (Ajman.travel).

DINE WATER-SIDE

If all that activity has made you hungry, the Oberoi’s Vinesse restaurant serves sublime international cuisine.

The chicken makhani curry, £25, and dal tadka, £7, stand out. Seafood lover?

Head to the beachside Aquario restaurant, which is all cloud-like sofas and chilled vibes, serving everything from sushi to barbecued catch of the day.

A meal for two costs about £50.

If you want to carry on the party, take a 15-minute taxi ride to the Salt & Sea bar at the Fairmont hotel, where music and cocktails await, right on the water’s edge (Fairmont.com/ajman). 

FYI

Return flights from the UK to Dubai cost from £440, (Emirates.com). 

For more info, visit Ajman.travel.

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