UAE: Now, try paragliding against backdrop of Hajjar mountains in new Sharjah adventure

Residents can avail of special learning classes and also obtain a license after 30 flight classes



KT photos by M. Sajjad
KT photos by M. Sajjad
by

SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 13 Jan 2023, 5:40 PM

Last updated: Sat 14 Jan 2023, 1:23 PM

Adventure lovers fasten your seat-belts. A brand new paragliding-cum-adventure destination called Sky Adventures at Al Faya is opening up in Sharjah this week, and it's guaranteed to knock the socks off thrill-seekers with some heady, sky-high action.

The destination will offer residents a unique paragliding experience against the backdrop of the rugged Hajar Mountains. There are also special classes for those wanting to learn, and one can obtain a license after completing 30 flight classes.

Nearly an hour’s drive from Dubai, the new adventure destination at the beautiful location on Maleha Road is being launched by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), in partnership with Emirates Aerosport Federation, and will open its doors to the public on Monday (January 16).

Sky Adventures offers three packages and membership options for amateurs and professionals. For amateurs, there is tandem paragliding where you can soar with experienced professionals. Then, there is a comprehensive, expert-led course where you can learn how to paraglide on your own and get an international paragliding licence. The third option is guided flights for licensed paragliders who want to experience the majesty of floating above the desert landscape while accumulating flight time.

Cost of the adventure

A flight for amateurs costs Dh750 per head, while an introductory training course is priced at Dh8,000 for 30 flights.

Akmal Rakhimov, a paragliding pilot who has experienced flying and gliding in many countries across the world, said that the view and the landscape at Al Faya are out of the world. “As the sun sets, it’s the best time for gliding. One can see the different shades of grey and orange on the ground and above," said Rakhimov.

"The landscape is just unique. It takes you back in time, and as no buildings or towers are visible; we feel as if we are gliding in ancient times amidst mountains and desert.”

The organisers take the paragliding enthusiasts on a buggy to the top of a dune for take-off, with the flight duration lasting nearly 20 minutes. Many seasoned paragliders who have been frequenting the area, can stay in the air for hours together. The paragliders land on the piece of the green patch of land a few hundred meters away from the take-off point.

'Glide like a bird'

Paragliding is a smooth activity and cannot be rushed at any point, explained Rakhimov. “We do not jump, and we glide along like a bird in the sky. If someone is lucky, they can even witness the birds flying beside them,” said Rakhimov.

Ahmed Obaid Al Qaseer, acting chief executive officer of Shurooq said: "Our portfolio of destinations and activities continues to expand. The new 'Sky Adventures', which will be open to the public on Monday, is one among them, providing a thrilling and unique experience for adventure seekers. Visitors will have the chance to see Sharjah from an entirely different perspective. It represents a great opportunity to promote growth and investment in the tourism and adventure sector.”

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Eisa Hilal Al Hazami, chairman of Sharjah Sports Council, said: “The centre will enable adventure and aero-sports seekers to paraglide and get official international licences. Besides, it will host paragliding championships and tournaments from the UAE and the region, thus cementing Sharjah’s position at the international level and supporting the sports and adventure tourism sector in the emirate.”

“It will encourage the public to take to sports and adventure, while getting a chance to explore these stunning regions," said Al Hazami. "We look forward to increasing the number of paragliders and fostering a sport-culture in Sharjah through this centre.”


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