A blue lake that sits cozily between the tall stretch of dark brown Khorfakkan mountains, Al Rafisah Dam is one of the must-visit places in UAE that satisfies your nature cravings.
This dam, a man-made Khorfakkan lake, was built in the 1980s and gathers water from wadis around the area. It only opened up to the public lately with a number of new and really cool recreational activities.
It’s a great place that has insta-worthy sightseeing areas for visitors who are heading out to the spot, making it one of the best places to visit in Khorfakkan. So if this valley is on your weekend list, here are the popular Al Rafisah dam activities fit for all kinds of travelers and visitors.
Al Rafisah Dam Boating
Explore the waters of the Rafisah Dam and the base of the huge dam itself by kayaking, paddle boating, or on donut boats. The mountains near the dam are restricted and closed off for climbing to protect wildlife, but getting on a boat means you get to row near the mountain base and stand a good chance to see animals like Arabian deers and mountain foxes hidden in between the mountain passages or crooks.
Rowing in these calm waters also gives you a chance to get close to flying ducks, pelicans and see lake dwellers like carp and catfish swimming below your boats. So if you are looking for a “kayaking in Khorfakkan” experience, then this is definitely one to try.
Al Rafisah dam boating timings and fee: It costs 30 Dhs per person on a single kayak for unlimited time or 60 Dhs for a double kaya for unlimited time
Hiking & Walking Trails
Hiking in Khorfakkan offers thrilling new paths signed as The Walk on the direction board at Rafisah dam. Made for hikers who love exploring the land on foot, this particular trail is lined with lush green trees and exotic fauna.
The Walk starts at the bridge of the dam, where you can see the stunning azure lake that looks almost like a fjord on one side while the other side offers a jaw-dropping view of the gorge. After crossing the bridge, The Walk diverges into two paths.
Path 1 starts at the left side, offering a thrilling hiking trail that takes you by the edge of the mountain. It’s a steep climb that needs some good shoes to trek up to the summit.
The path is slightly narrow and starts at the bottom, along the side of the lake, and eventually climbs up leading to the summit where you get an incredible view of the entire dam and the roads below.
Path 2 is a trail that is an easy walk along the gorge of the dam. A secure railing prevents anybody from toppling over and lets you see the dam from the side of the huge spillway gates. The water doesn’t rush out of here so the entire area is taken over by nature’s lush green.
This path is an easy trek for rookie hikers and the trail has benches under mango trees for anyone that needs to catch a breath.
Najd Al Maqsar Archeological Site
If you still have a bit of time and energy to spare after your thrilling hike, then go for the Najd Al Maqsar site. It’s a historical settlement that has been sitting quietly for 300 years. Najd Al Maqsar is an underrated archeological site in UAE built between the towering mountains of Khorfakkan by ancient villagers who took refuge at the peak from rushing water torrents that used to flow below.
The site consists of 13 houses built with natural resources like mud, stones, and palm fronds. There are also pieces of ancient tombs and a Khorfakkan fort that’s perched at the very top, overlooking the entire valley beneath them.
Since the settlement is built on a mountain top, a maze of stone stairways takes you from one part to the other. The stairs can be slightly exhausting for those who aren’t used to trekking or climbing often but discovering this ancient site that showcases how villagers once lived around centuries ago makes the effort worth it.
So there you have it. Rafisah dam has a collection of amazing activities that makes it one of the best things to do in Khorfakkan and should not be missed!