Khor Kalba & Kalba Corniche | Following The Bikers’ Trail

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My husband is a biker, a late bloomer in that. Like most Bengali boys with overprotective parents, this boy’s passion in wanting to *be one with the machine*, saw the light much later in life. On Fridays, much before the break of dawn, S is out of the house as he joins the other bikers who ride/glide through the darkness along with other bikers – the Harley gang and the newspaper men! They – the Harley gang that is, ride out to different predesignated destinations in the UAE taking routes that are breathtakingly beautiful, seeking out beyond the chrome and the leather, beyond the wind in the face, beyond the harmonious yin and yang of Top Dead Center and Bottom Dead Center, there lies the open road of philosophical exploration (as chalked out in this book that explains a rider’s philosophy). And sometimes, we drive down a route that he has been able to jot down – gifting ourselves with a few hours of a rejuvenating escape from the city of Dubai, my adopted home. Sudden bursts of golden sand interspersed with lush green farmlands, a surprise photo-op as camels cross the streets, mini tiffin breaks at an unknown roadside cafeteria, a discovery of a *meal of a lifetime* in a run down restaurant, shuddering at bikes thundering across the highway, and a heavy numb sleep after sheer exhaustion… these are only a few highlights of each of these drives. Long after we reach home, when I close my eyes at night, all I keep seeing is a kaleidoscopic slow-motion of whirling sands and a drive through a snaky, stony mountainous road –  visuals that I haven’t been able to describe until I chanced upon this drone video.

Zero Gravity. from Airspectiv Media on Vimeo.

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Leaving a sleepy city behind on a Friday morning, we hit the roads following the same route on the last consecutive Fridays. Our destination this time had been Kalba. First, a halt at Khor Kalba where the droopy mangroves form a subtle foreground to the blurry Hazaar mountain ranges and the tune of Adhaan drifting from the far away mosque fades in with the chirping of birds and the rustle of leaves. Much like the cliched proverb, in all these drives, our final destination isn’t as important as much as the journey that it entails. A GPS navigation system will unmistakeably take you to all the final destinations, however the route that we take is what makes our drives so worthwhile – so varied in its landscape, and each halt being contradictory from the previous one. When we are on our own, our first stop is the Ghadeer Saeed Ghadeer cafeteria at Margam – already an hour onto our drive. But if you are driving in a big group, the best meeting point would be a large gas stations while you are still near the city – it gives you the last minute chance to stock up on your habitual urban essentials. The Emarat gas station on the Dubai – Al Ain Highway after you have crossed the Rugby7 stadiums, is a popular meet up point – and if you are an automobile freak, this is where a lot of hot custom built 4-wheelers gather before they begin their drive off road. Here’s capturing both our trips in one long sequence of photos (a discovery of a cute little restaurant called Breeze Grill in a one-star motel called Breeze Inn in our first trip … and an organised barbeque in the latter, courtesy our friends celebrating his son’s birthday)…

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Kalba… the site of Al Gorm and Al HafiyeDSC_7926

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Breeze Grill and Fishermen’s Village…  DSC_7988

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Kalba Corniche and a tea break before heading back to Dubai… DSC_7986

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The direction to Kalba along the Bikers Trail: Hit the Al Ain Road from Dubai; after the 1st Emarat gas station after Rugby Sevens, take the Exit 47 and continue left towards Margam; at the T junction, take the right towards Dubai-Hatta road, continue for about 200m and take the 1st right exit just after you have crossed a row of small shops and groceries; you will come to a small R/A – take right; from 2nd R/A take the 2nd right; then again from R/A take right towards Nazwa; from R/A take 2nd exit which should take you through the Wadi Al Helo tunnel; Take the Maliha-Kalba road and then take the Kalba exit (Maleha road) – this becomes Sharjah-Kalba road. Cut through the mountains. You come to Kalba city… from R/A take left – the 3rd exit; and the next R/A, take the right exit and immediately after there is a exit to the parking lot. Continuing on this route will bring you to Kalba Corniche. To return to Dubai, take the Dubai exit after seeing this board, otherwise you will end up driving to Khorfokan!

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Apart from the first glimpse of the golden sands and the love-lock with camels, a gyrocopter almost landing on us, the other thrills include driving through the 1.6 km long Wadi Al Helo Tunnel on the Sharjah-Kalba road, or finding junk 4 wheel drives along the Kalba Corniche. A decade back, I remember we could actually drive into the marshlands of Kalba as it used to be a very popular picnic spot. But not any more. A depletion of the marshlands and the habitats of a few precious species have now made this area a protected one where I believe a lot of conservation work is taking place. After whiling away here walking on the grass barefoot, trying to fix the kite that dipped into the water, lying down on the mat and snoozing off under the pretext of sunglasses, and a non-stop munching – we drove down to the Kalba corniche. On our first trip, we had discovered a cute little restaurant called Breeze Grill – absolutely a single lady show. Our lunch took an hour to cook, but when it came to the table – fried rice, chicken in oyster sauce, fried squid and grilled whole fish,  there was no looking back – the plates were empty in seconds. A further drive along the Corniche and you will find two more restaurants (written family style) and a few cafeterias serving *strong tree* (actually serves nice Saffron teas).

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On our 2nd trip, Big Z brought with her a homemade no-bake Peanut Butter & Oat Cookie Bars (above right, recipe in Big Z’s blog – ahem!). Apparently it had been inspired by our first trip – the green grass, the dates and the earthiness of Khor Kalba. It tasted divine, but more importantly I loved the inspiration and the thought that went into its creation. Sometimes, no plan is the best plan and nothing can be more exhilarating than hitting the roads. Although it will take me a long time to convince myself to pillion ride with S (although he assures me that I will fit in his bike!), I look forward to the Fridays when we drive along a route that he has ridden before. Enjoy the weather in this season and ride on or drive on, as your heart desires. Also sharing a little good news before signing off – I am very happy to have been shortlisted as one of the finalists in BBC Good Food Awards 2014. Today, the blog has become my alter ego. Yes, I blog in my head all the time and every moment – food or otherwise, is captured in text and in photos in a manner that is designed for a blogpost. My iPhoto album is stacked with folders and sub folders and sub sub folders. If I don’t go out for a year, yet I will have topics to write about for the next 365 days of the year. And this even after having my recent Mac crash along with all the photographs that I have been taking over the years. I have also decided not to feel guilty about not having written on so many places that I have intended writing on. And letting myself free in my already cluttered blogging mind as I rewind on this random trip on a Friday!

Unblogging it all… Ishita

PS1: We did a barbeque at Khor Kalba on our 2nd visit, only to be stopped by an official from Sharjah Municipality saying that barbequing wasn’t permitted here. No cautionary board around… #justsaying!

PS2: In 2012, this 5 km green belt was declared a protected area through a resolution by His Highness Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. And In March 2013, the site was added to the Ramsar list, as a wetland of international importance (the convention is an international effort to protect the world’s most important marshlands.

PS3: Here’s a recount of our Kalba trip from my 13 year old blogger friend Srishti aka srishtiblogs!

Disclaimer: Please note that this post is not a sponsored post and the subject, story, opinions and views stated here are my own and are independent. While you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from these posts. You can catch my daily food and travel journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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12 thoughts on “Khor Kalba & Kalba Corniche | Following The Bikers’ Trail

    1. A little drive out of the city can be so refreshingly different. The East coast and the Hajjar Mountains are one of my favourite places in the UAE – which explains a bit of why I am not always able to visit the Farmers Market on Fridays – although my support is there – always. Not to mention my orders via Debbie’s instagram!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Ishita.
    I had been a silent visitor to your awesome blog for quite some time. I could not resist commenting after this post 🙂

    Well, I am a fan of the Hajjar mountains too.. We have been to some places along this mountain range.

    We had visited Khor kalba in Nov of this year. Our experience here
    http://colorsofourrainbow.blogspot.ae/2014/11/an-uplanned-adventure-khor-kalba.html.

    I really wish you had posted back then. Would have gotten us easier up to this place.

    Do check out our blog
    http://colorsofourrainbow.blogspot.ae/

    We have been to two more places along this range. Khorfakkan and musandam. Hope they interest you.

    Thanks again for the detailed directions.. It will make our next visit a ton easier.

    Like

    1. Thanks for hopping by… why have you been a silent visitor when you blog yourself? Don’t you know that every blogger longs to hear from their readers? I will be too happy to read your comments. Musandam is on our list too.

      Like

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