The tiny Emirates of Ajman and Umm Al-Quwain don’t have quite the same number of sightseeing options as other parts of the United Arab Emirates, but don’t write them off your itinerary hit list. They may not be the most well-known UAE tourist destinations, but there are some interesting attractions and things to do here for both those who want a relaxing sun-filled holiday as well as culture and history buffs.
The shoreline is some of the best in the country, with uncrowded strips of white-sand beach,while the Ajman Dhow building yard and the Al-Dur archaeological site provide excellent excursions for those who don’t want to laze in the sun.
The 18th-century fortress that was once Ajman’s first line of defense is now the city’s museum. The exhibits here focus on the traditional local lifestyle, with dioramas of typical day-to-day life as well as archaeological finds from nearby sites. There is an excellent display of Emirati weapons and a manuscript exhibit.
As well as being the town’s main stronghold, the fort was once used as the ruler’s palace and later as the location for the city police station. The fort’s major archaeological features are its two wind towers, two watch towers, and grand gateway now fronted by two cannons.
Ajman Dhow Building Yard:
On the north side of Ajman creek, the Dhow Yard is noted as the world’s largest dhow building center and one of the area’s most interesting sightseeing attractions. Dhows are built using traditional tools and manual skills that have been handed down through the generations, all without blueprints. The Dhow Yard in Ajman also crafts the speedsters that participate in the Dubai Powerboat meets. About 20 to 30 boats are built at one time, and anyone interested in this ancient craft should definitely make time for a visit here
The coastline all around Ajman is rimmed by luxury hotels, each with their private patch of pristine white sand. Noted for some of the prettiest beaches in the United Arab Emirates, this is the place to come if you’re looking for serious sun-and-sand relaxation time. Non-guests can usually use the beach and take advantage of the hotel facilities by paying a day-pass fee. If you want a day of lazy sun lounging, Ajman’s beaches really can’t be beaten.
The Mowaihat archaeological site is located on the outskirts of Ajman city. It was discovered in 1986, when workers were laying a new sewage pipe. A circular Umm al-Nar type tomb was uncovered, and a rescue excavation commenced. Numerous examples of soft-stone and painted Umm al-Nar ceramic vessels were uncovered, as well as more than 3,000 beads, two stamp seals, a number of copper implements, and the remains of several dozen people. At the time of its discovery, the Mowaihat tombwas the first evidence of Umm al-Nar occupation in the Northern Emirates.
Subsequent discoveries on the Gulf coast at Al Sufouh, Tell Abraq, and Shimal have identified other major sites from this period. The site itself is probably only of interest to serious archaeology fans, but you can view the unearthed finds from the site in Ajman Museum.
Ajman City Center:
Compared to other Emirati cities, Ajman is a rather sleepy place. This port city is set along a creek that divides the town in two and has a pleasant shore-side promenade petering out at a fine white sand beach. Archaeological discoveries around Ajman provide evidence that the town was an important Bronze Age settlement. Within easy reach of town are the mountain villages of Manama, with its small fort, and Masfut, known for its colourful marble
Although not yet finished, this new coastal development when completed will contain yacht marinas, luxury hotels and apartments, dining choices, and a golf course (which is already open). The preserved coastal section here, which includes one million square meters of protected mangrove forests, is of most interest to travelers. Amid the shallow lagoons ringed by mangroves are excellent bird-watching opportunities, with more than 50 species of migratory birds, including huge flocks of flamingos. Stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, boat tours, and nature walks are all on the plan for the Al-Zorah district in the near future.
Manama and Masfut :
Within easy reach of Ajman city is the Hajar Mountain towns of Manama and Masfut. Manama has a small fort, which is currently being converted into a museum dedicated to local history, and is the closest town to the new Al Naseem Nature Reserve (still in development and not open to the public). Masfut is a good place to get your hiking boots on and take a mountain walk. The road to Masfut, with the scenery changing from dunes to the Hajar foothills, is one of the biggest attractions of a trip here, as is the temperature, which is always cooler than the coast.
Umm Al-Quwain Fort and Museum :
Umm Al-Quwain Fort once guarded the entrance to the old town by overseeing both the sea and the creek. The facade, with its two rounded towers, has been well restored. The fort now houses the town’s small museum. Inside, the exhibits focus mainly on local archaeological sites, including finds from the Al-Dur archaeological site. There are also ethnographic exhibits introducing local life and traditional Emirati customs, artistry, and craftwork including jewelry, textiles, metalwork, and a display of weaponry dating back more than 200 years