Paragliding, overnight camping: Mleiha National Park takes shape in Sharjah

Divided into at least three separate areas, the park will be a first-of-its-kind protected area in the emirate

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Wed 1 May 2024, 10:03 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 May 2024, 10:39 AM

From paragliding to overnight camping, UAE residents could soon enjoy a variety of activities at the Mleiha National Park when it opens up in Sharjah. The construction and development of the park are underway and fencing of the park’s 34km premises will be complete by the third quarter of this year.

Divided into at least three separate areas, the park will be a first-of-its-kind protected area in the emirate of Sharjah that promotes the conservation of the emirate’s natural history and preservation of its archaeological past.


The details were revealed by Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, CEO of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) during a call to Sharjah TV’s ‘Direct Line’ programme.

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The area, in Sharjah’s central region, is being developed as a national park following an Emiri Decree issued earlier this week by Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Different Zones

The Mleiha National Park will include three separate areas: the Core Conservation Zone, that will focus on preserving the natural environment and supporting wildlife; the Ecotourism Zone, which will offer eco-stays, adventures, and educational activities; and the Hybrid Zone, which will serve as a middle ground for conservation and sustainable tourism practice.

It will grant the general public access to experience its beauty and historical importance through sustainable tourism and ecotourism practices. “Here in Sharjah, which is endowed with immense historical and natural wealth, we continually strive to boost its global status as a top destination for investment and tourism in the historical and cultural sectors,” said Al Qaseer.

In parts of Mleiha, archaeologists unearthed the earliest evidence of human occupation outside Africa. With this discovery, it became one of the region’s oldest historical and anthropological heritage and is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site nominee list.

“We welcome the world to discover fascinating remnants of some of the earliest human settlements, from over 200,000 years ago, which were established here in the UAE,” said Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Shurooq. “The Mleiha National Park is going to be a living and lasting testimony to the formative role and unparalleled significance of the UAE and the region to global civilisational history”.

Conservation at its heart

The park will introduce a wide-ranging programme of educational and recreational activities, as well as opportunities for scientific research. However, with conservation at its heart, several activities are prohibited in the area.

Hunting, transporting, or taking any organisms or organic materials; damaging or destroying geological or geographic formations or areas that are shelter to animal or plant species or for their reproduction; pollution of soil, water or air; military manoeuvres and shooting training; and cutting or destroying trees or plants, or eroding the soil are all forbidden.

It also prohibits leisure and entertainment activities or sports that may kill, harm, or negatively affect wildlife.

The destination’s existing assets - the Mleiha Archaeological Centre, Moon Retreat, Al Faya Retreat, Sky Adventures, Glamping Area, and Mleiha Camping Site will continue to be integral parts of the national park to offer visitors unique experiences.

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