UAE Sea Kayaking

While almost any patch of water can be of interest to the kayaker some places are just outstanding and the UAE has some amazing environments for the kayaker to explore. Kayaks give you access to places inaccessible to most and a completely different perspective. Kayaking accesses the places other boats just cant reach.

Try paddling around the Al Jazirah Port in Al Hamra, RAK and seeing everything from huge tugs and barges leaving piled high with rock next to the small local fishing fleet preparing their nets and crab cages. Or head over to Khor Kalba and explore the compact mangrove area rich with both fish and bird life. A kayak allows you to move silently and right into the shallows allowing you to explore right into the mangrove and see the detail in close up.

For the Sit On Top Kayaker the Abu Dhabi and Um Al Quwain mangrove and archipelago areas offer absolutely stunning areas to paddle in easily accessible and sheltered. Regular kayakers in the Um Al Quwain area will become blasé about seeing turtles, flocks of flamingos and having huge rays under their boat.

While longer journeys in more exposed water (open sea) are possible on Sit On Tops a closed cockpit Sea Kayak is in its element. A relative novice can cover 15km a day in a sea boat while an expert can cover anything from 35 to +60km a day in a boat carrying everything they need for multiple day expeditions. The entire coastline of the UAE offers interest to the sea kayaker. They will find completly deserted stunning beaches stretching for miles, see rays jumping, paddle below soaring cliffs, see city skylines from a different perspective and explore inaccessible mangroves and they’ll do it all under their own steam with only the sound of their kayak blades cutting into the water contributing to the quiet roar the sea makes even when calm. They’ll hear the turtle spash as it ducks back down after taking a breath, they’ll hear the sound of the cormorants wings as they pass and they’ll hear the wind in their ears.

Outstanding areas to explore for the sea kayaker include the coast between UAQ and RAK which has ship wrecks, a huge colony of Scotia Cormorants and inaccessible mangroves. Also look at the East Coast between Dibba and Kalba with its coves, islands and more exposed feel. For a very different feel plan some trips around the Palms off the city coasts.

The jewel in the crown on the Arabian Peninsular for the sea kayaker is Musendam. Wild and beautiful rugged coastline resembles the glacier-carved coasts of polar regions and is often compared to the Norwegian Fjords. The sea kayaker can explore the tourist hot spots for free while others pay to chug on the crowded dhows and then with a few stokes of a blade they’ll be off the beaten track paddling under soaring cliffs seeing remote communities rarely visited. There are so many possibilities for journeying in the Musendam area from day trips in Khwar Sham and  Khwar Habalayn to multi day expeditions on the wild and deserted east coast. The circumnavigation is an awesome and challenging journey thats rarely completed.

For the kayaker after more thrills and spills then its worth initially looking to the beach for surf. Sunset Beach, Um Seqeim, Dubai has a good surf community around it. There is also surf to be found in Um Al Quwain on the headland at the top of the town and also in Just south of RAK in Jezirat Al Hamra.

Further Reading:

For blog posts detailing a variety of sea kayak trips including forays into Musendam, exploring the Creek, turtles and rays in Um Al Qwain and a night time journey around The World development off Dubai click on the Sea Kayaking category of this blog (also found here)

 

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90 Responses to UAE Sea Kayaking

  1. david woodhouse says:

    I shall be moving to the UAE (Abu Dhabi) this year. Should I bring my sea kayak, or is it easy (and more economical) to buy one there?

    David

    • ianganderton says:

      David,

      You definitely want a sea kayak here. I’m not sure how much it costs to bring just one in. I’d be interested to find out and would really appreciate you letting me know what you find out.

      I work for the distributor here of Pyranha / P&H / Venture kayaks. I’ll get you some price information.

      Email me and let me know what kind of specification boat your after

  2. navin says:

    hey ian,
    i recently got my first kayak here in dubai,
    and it would seem that yours is the only place to find any decent information on places to go, every other site seems to be promoting a tour company or the like. so i just wanted to say thanks for the information! i have been kayaking once before at the Abu Dhabi Mangroves and it was amazing, after that i was hooked! i have seen that umm al quwain promises a wealth of life in and around the mangroves, and i was wondering if you know of any good launch sites where i can park my car there and go for a leisurely paddle? and perhaps if you are aware of any other good sites for kayaking it would also be appreciated. thanks again and i will be coming back to your blog regularly.

    navin

  3. eric hellgott says:

    Hey Ian
    I was wondering if you could plz let me know where to buy sea kayaks in Dubai.

    Thanks
    Eric

  4. Subodh says:

    Hi Ian,
    I live in Dubai and I intend to buy a Kayak. (I intend to learn Kayaking on my own, as I think it will be somewhat similar to a row boat- I will of course wear a life jacket.).

    Firstly I would like to know if there is any need to have a licence to own a kayak, and take it to the sea? Are there any areas earmarked areas where it is permitted? Can I do it without being associated with any club?

    Secondly I would also like your suggestion on the type of kayak I should buy.( I have a limited experience of Laser Class Sailing and Wind Surfing, in Qatar.)

    Your advise on the above matters will be much appreciated.

    Regards,

    Subodh Joshi

    • ianganderton says:

      Subodh,

      Its not hard to learn yourself (take care not to pick up bad habits) but do be wary of kayaking by yourself until you can be very confident of self rescuing in the event of a capsize. I do a lot of solo trips but I have got a pretty bombproof roll and carry a pump for use in the event of a swim.

      Get a kayak specific buoyancy aid / personal flotation device (PFD) rather than a life jacket. Freedom of movement through out the upper torso is crucial to efficient kayaking and non kayak specific PFD’s are likely to hinder this.

      To the best of my knowledge there is no where in the Emirates where a licence for personal kayaking is required. If there is public access and your not going to impinge on someones privacy or palace 😉 then it seems on. There are cases where kayaking groups get access where no one else does because they’ve been making an effort to clean the beaches. I know of a policeman who got a berating down the phone by someone he obviously considered important when he challenged the group! This kind of +ve action by kayakers to leave places better then they found them will protect our access.

      What type of boat? Well that’s a big question! What type of boat do you want?!?

      What type of kayaking do you see yourself doing?

      It your serious about wanting to do what I would call proper sea kayaking and to me that’s journeying then I’d recommend a classic sea kayak style boat. The Easky 17 by Venture Kayaks is the boat to judge others by. I’ve used them a lot and have found them to be great. Its what I used for my circumnavigation of Musendam expedition.

      I think they have a couple in Adventure HQ at the moment. It would be easy enough to meet you there at some point to discuss your options.

      Hope this helps

      Ian

      • Subodh says:

        Dear Ian,
        Firstly, my alologies for not thanking you for your detailed response earlier. For some reason I did not get any intimation, when you responded to my mail. (I remember checking for your reply after about a week of my query, but I had seen no response, though your response date shows you responded the very next day.)

        For me it was inportant to know if licenses are required for kayaking. Now that I know the answer, I will start my survey for a Kayak. I may contact you for advise if required.

        Thanks again for your detailed response. It did help a lot.

        Subodh.

  5. phil rostom says:

    Hi Ian

    I’ve been kayaking here for 3 years now and usually end up doing the circuit around the marina, out past the palm and then back into the marina by the sheraton. bit boring i know, but nothing like getting out on the sea.

    just like to say thanks for all the info, i’ve been looking for places to go for ages. it seems unless you have a surf ski, clubs aren’t that interested.

    Do you know any good fishing spots, i usually try and go around the palm but haven’t caught much in 3 years!

    Let us know if you have any trips coming up, would be good to go out with someone else.

    Cheers
    Phil

    • ianganderton says:

      Phil,

      Glad to hear that the information has been of some use to you.

      Could you do me a favour and let me know the GPS access/egress points you use for the lap of the Marina and Palm you describe + any other relevant information. While you are a bit bored of it I haven’t done it so it would be handy to know any details. I can then post them here for others to find.

      I’m no fisherman so can’t help you much on that but I’ll see if my fellow regular contributor to Outdoor UAE has any top tips. Bear with me while I ask.

      On the subject of clubs and shared trips I do have something up my sleeve. Bear with me while I get a couple of things sorted and watch this space 😉

  6. phil rostom says:

    HI Ian

    Thanks for getting back to us. I’ve added the routes and egress points on google, here’s the link

    I usually go a bit further out on the sea part of the marina route to avoid the jet skis, hotel boats, etc. Great during the week, but obviously a lot busier on the weekend.

    Looking forward to hearing about the trips and fishing.

    Phil

  7. john says:

    HI Ian! very interesting blog! awesome trips!
    I have done the world islands a couple of times but during the day. Night trip next for sure! My current kayak is a sit on top feel free, and I am looking to upgrade to a wilderness systems Tarpon. Any idea where I can find those in DUbai?
    Thx a lot 🙂

    • ianganderton says:

      John, glad you find the info useful. To the best of my knowledge Wilderness Systems are not available in the region. Which Feel Free boat do you currently have and which Tarpon were you looking to upgrade to? The Feel Free Mokens offer good choices for fishing kayaks (http://www.feelfreekayak.com/products/moken12-angler/) and are available through Adventure HQ in Times Square, all Go Sports stores in Dubai and Al Yousuf Showrooms (Yamaha dealership) in RAK, Sharjah, Sheikh Zayed Road and Adu Dhabi branches

  8. john says:

    I have the Move which was a gift and used it for a year now. But I find it very slow. Was thinking of the Tarpon 120/ 140. I am basically looking for a fast sit on top. Bic scapa is another one I am considering. Though some of the reviews say its unstable in rough water.

    • ianganderton says:

      John, I’m not surprised you find the Move slow, its a very short boat that is designed for maneuverability rather than speed. There are 3 Mokens and are described by length. As with any kayak the longer and thiner it is the faster and more directionally stable it will be. This will be combined with hull shape too. It sounds like a Moken 10 or 12 Angler would fit the style of boat you are after Moken 10 review from google search

      • john says:

        Thanks Ian! Got the bic scapa yesterday and took it to the world islands this morning. awesome kayak! very fast and good stability. happy man here 🙂

  9. Dan Boshier says:

    Hi Ian.
    Hope this finds you well. I am contacting you as i have just came across this site and love it i am an avid paddler, have paddled all over the world and i have been looking for like minded people like your self and everyone else thats wrote here, im so happy the paddle sport scenic is good out here. i was wondering if its possible if i could pick your brain on how things work out here and put some ideas across to you and see what you think!
    I understand your a busy man but any help that you could give me would be massively appreciated
    I look forward to hearing from you

    Dan Boshier

    • ianganderton says:

      Dan,

      Glad you’ve found the info useful. There are a few enthusiastic paddlers and more coming out of the woodwork all the time. I have a bit of a plan so watch this space.

      Email me with anything you’d like to chat about.

      Ian

  10. Alain Trudeau says:

    Hi Ian and other bloggers,
    Thank you for accepting me in your blog.
    I am looking to join a group of kayakers for a weekend camping trip to Mussandam, perhaps for the coming Eid. I own two kayaks ( RTM disco & Cobra expedition). Any one know a group I can join ?
    Alain

    • ianganderton says:

      Welcome to the blog Alain.
      I’m not able to join you I’m afraid, off to Sri Lanka in the morning SUPing.
      I created a Facebook page called UAE Sea Kayakers, try posting on there too, you may get some takers.

      Have a great Eid

      Ian

  11. Damien Jones says:

    Ian, superb Blog and glad I found it!
    Ive been looking at the circumnavigation of Musandam over the last couple of days and see, as I assumed that its an awesome trip.
    I see you completed the trip in 2 days, complete with blisters.
    Im returning to padling – former LD K1 padler, fit but not paddle fit – so assume 3-4 days for the trip, I may do a couple of recces prior.
    Any ideas for camping – are the beaches free to wild camp?
    Grateful for any advice – sea state, weather etc
    I’ll be in the shop on Monday evening next week – all my kit in UK so big spend! Or anyone have any second hand sea kayaks??
    Kind Regards
    Damien

    • ianganderton says:

      Damien,

      Glad you like the blog and are finding it handy.

      My Musendam circumnavigation took 4 days Khasab to Khasab. First day – Khasab to Kumzar, day 2 – Kumzar to Jazirat Al Hamra, day 3 – Jazirat Al Hamra to Khwar Habalayn / Khwar Sham Isthmus, day 4 – Isthmus to Khasab.

      Its been repeated twice since my trip in Jan 2010. A group of guys from RAK did it early this year (2011) and a Spanish team have recently just done it.

      I’m getting asked about this trip more and more atm so I’m going to write it up so folks have the info to hand.

      We have P&H Capella 166 RM for hire and Adventure HQ has Venture Easky 17’s available for hire too if that helps.

      Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer.

      Ian

  12. Damien Jones says:

    Ian,

    thanks for the response and looking fwd to reading the write up.
    Great help re the kayaks.

    KR Damo

  13. Wolf says:

    Hi Ian,
    I am a kayaker from Germany and I am very glad to found your very intereresting blog.
    In February 2012, I am in UAE and would like to buy there a kayak and do some trips.
    Maybe you can give me some advice to both.
    Many thanks in advance.
    Wolf

    • ianganderton says:

      Hi Wolf,

      Glad you’ve found the blog interesting and useful.

      I work for the distributor of P&H sea kayaks and Venture sea kayaks here in the region. Availability is limited at the present time due to the seemingly undiscovered quality of the kayaking here.

      The best availability is probably through Adventure HQ who are based in Times Square, Dubai. As part of Dubai Shopping Festival they actually have Venture Kayak Easky 17’s on sale at the moment, 25% off, which is unusual.

      Hopefully you’ll find plenty of inspiration to get you started on the water in my trip reports and the google map showing a variety of options

  14. Tim says:

    Hi Ian

    New to Kayaking in Dubai. Great job on the blog.

    IS there a particular brand you recommend for a starter? I’d prefer something I can also rest my fishing rod in too if there’s a particular model that has that facility?

    Would you also recommmend buying a second-hand kayak? I have seen some on Dubizzle.com.

    Thanks,

    Tim.

    • ianganderton says:

      Hi Tim

      Glad you’ve found the information useful.

      I work for the distributor of Feelfree, Venture, P&H and Pyranha kayaks here in the region so obviously I’ll recommend one of these 🙂

      What sort of kayaking do you fancy doing? Do you fancy messing about in waves and exploring mangroves or do you fancy journeying. Some kayaks turn easily but are slow in a straight line, some are great in a straight line and fast but dont turn easily. You cant have both. The longer and thinner a boat is the faster and straighter it will go, the shorter and wider it is the more maneuverable it will be.

      For maneuverability the sit on top Feelfree Nomad is a great place to start. For sea kayak journeys the Venture Easky 17 is what I would recommend. Both are at bargain prices at Adventure HQ at the moment during DSF

      • Tim says:

        Thanks Ian,

        Went down to Adventure HQ and saw they had the FeelFree Moken 12 ‘Angler’ (only 2 left) with 25 % off. Even got 25% off all the fishing gear too!

        It’s just the thing I was looking for…!

        Looking forward to trying out all your recommended spots from the google map.

        Thanks again,

        Tim.

      • Ian Ganderton says:

        Brilliant Tim, happy new boat day!!!

        Sash and Eric at Adventure HQ have been getting enthusiastic about kayak fishing recently so they will be good to tap for information. Also check out Kit’s articles in Outdoor UAE for local fishing info, he knows his stuff

        Let me know how you get on!

        Ian

  15. Adeel says:

    Hi Ian,
    You blog is very informative and a great read.

    I am new in this sport and am really enjoying it. We did Abu Dhabi Kayaking around the Ferrari world the other day and then a Musandam overnighter and both the trips were superb. We are planing to do Um Al Quain this weekend and had a couple of queries and hope you wont mind answering them.
    First of all what is the best time to go there, probably at high tide I guess. But when?
    Secondly out of the areas you mentioned to launch, which is the best place to launch and park the car?

    Regards,
    Adeel

    • ianganderton says:

      Adeel,

      Glad you’ve found the blog useful. Welcome to kayaking, I hope you get even just a tiny bit of what I’ve got out of the sport as its been a fantastic part of my life.

      With tides it depends on what you are planning. UAQ does get very shallow at low tide but that doesnt make it better or worse, just different. The only issue tides create is current. When the tide is either coming in or out the water has to move. Understanding how that works is key to kayaking on the sea. As kayakers we dont have a huge amount of forward speed, if the tide is working with us we get a free ride, if its against us its just plain hard work to go anywhere.

      There are access problems at the launch points on the RAK side of the area as shown on the google map I’ve posted. If you arrive quickly and are on the water with minimal faff you probably wont have anyone question you though. UAQ town by the fish market or municipality building are your other options. these give good access to the fishing boats etc but its a bit further to get away from the town etc.

      Which ever you choose there is lots to explore in the area

      Enjoy

  16. alperalpay says:

    Hi Ian,

    You are doing a great job sharing all this valuable information on your blog.

    I am an old rower and during my 3 years expat life in Beijing involved in Kayaking.

    Our adventure started by buying a 2 seater Klepper foldable kayak with a friend.
    As friends son also asked for a kayak and we didn’t been able to find suitable for his weight/height we build one for him…
    After having the confidence we also build a double seater for a neighbor and a solo for myself. They were quite heavy but looking like a piece of art especially before covering them with PVC.

    As Beijing was far from the sea, we were kayaking in lakes around Beijing with Great Wall scenery, on blurry water and under the suspicious eyes of locals trying to figure out what we are on to…
    At the end maybe as a result of our poor Chinese the plywood and varnish we bought was not right so our kayaks plywood started splitting 🙂

    Even tough I took my kayak back to Turkey with me it ended up being fire starter for barbeque.

    On February 1st I am moving to Ras Al Khaimah and this time I want to buy a kayak which will not end up in my barbeque.

    I want to buy a touring kayak which I can use for daily trips and overnight trips if can find time.

    Which kayak would you recommend for me ? I am a bit over 100 kgs (just a bit) .

    Best regards

    Alper Alpay

    • ianganderton says:

      Alper, glad you’ve found the blog useful and informative!

      I can’t believe you used your had build and loved kayak as firewood!!!!!! Gawd damn!!!!

      For here I recommend what I use, a 17ft good general purpose closed cockpit sea kayak. The 2 models I’ve used extensively here are the Venture Kayak Easky 17 or the P&H Capella RM 166. When you get to RAK we have both in our demo fleet. Hire one for a day and see how you get on with it.

      • alperalpay says:

        Dear Ian,

        Thanks for the info. Looking forward to try the kayaks you suggested.

        About kayak ending up being firewood, as the plywood was rotten it was not safe to use the kayak anymore and barbeque is one of the things we worship in Turkey (thats why we have Turkish abbs and I weigh over 100) so my kayak served for a holly cause 🙂

        Best Regards
        Alper

  17. Muzammil says:

    Dear Ian,
    I am a beginner and find your blog very informative. Good job.
    I have an inflatable Kayak and I have paddled in Mamzar beach and the Mangroves of Khor Kalba. I used the ordinary Life Jacket and yes it does make paddling slightly uncomfortable – apart from this are there any safety concerns?

    Also, would you recommend inflatable kayaks for any of your recommended locations? I own an Intex make Challenger K2. Also any advise for using the inflatables will be highly appreciated.

    I don’t want to buy a hard kayak yet as I am not a regular paddler and I can’t store it in my flat and take it around on top of my saloon car :-). My longest kayaking trip lasted only about 3 hours!
    Best regards,
    Muzammil

    • ianganderton says:

      Muzammil,

      I’m glad you’ve found the blog handy and informative.

      To answer your questions:

      1- as you’ve found a life jacket is a bit uncomfortable but wearing something is better than wearing nothing. There are no real safety problems with life jackets but there are inconveniences when compared with a personal floatation device (PFD). For instance with all the bouyancy on the front its difficult to swim in a life jacket when compared to a PFD.

      2- An inflatable kayak is suitable for any trips as long as its limitations etc are understood. This is the same for any design of boat. there is no perfect kayak for all conditions. Your inflatable kayak will not be as fast through the water and will be more affected by the wind than one of the sea kayaks you see in my pictures. When out kayaking learn make a point of looking to see how far you have been and how long it has taken you. From this you’ll start to be able to gauge your average speed. Also clock how different weather conditions affect your speed and how adverse weather conditions can use up a lot more energy generally. This information all feeds into the mix when planning trips.

      An inflatable kayaks will be ideal for exploring relatively sheltered water and for ease of carrying and storing if living in an apartment. A sea kayak is the tool for the job if your planning on journeying but they dont fit in lifts 😦

      I’d be keen to hear any stories and see any photos you have of your inflatable in action

      Ian

      • Muzammil says:

        Ian,
        Thanks for your response. I will definitely share some of my pics. Paddling is fun and I think I may end up buying a sea kayak sooner than I thought I would.
        Muzammil

  18. samy says:

    hey
    love your blog.
    im a kayaker from the UK.
    which kayaking is most popular here?
    sea,fishing or recreation.
    from the kayaks i have seen in the stores here i think its
    sea kayaking -20%
    fishing-30%
    recreation-50

    thanks for discussing.

    • ianganderton says:

      Hi Samy, welcome to the sandpit.
      From sales the recreational sit on top kayak probably amounts to at least 75% of boats sold here.

      But

      This is not necessarily related to time spent kayaking. I’d suggest that its pretty evenly split amongst the fishermen, sea kayaks and surf ski paddlers atm.

      Of course there is Wadi Adventure, the largest pumped whitewater facility in the world (to the best of my knowledge) out in Al Ain in the shadow of Jebel Hafeet. This adds white water kayakers into the mix but only time will tell on this

  19. Wolf says:

    Hi Ian,
    your blog has helped us to find a kayak equipment in the UAE. We have taken some nice sea- kayak tours at some places described here. The above by Samy mentioned whitewater canal Wadi Adventure in Al Ain, we have also tested. It’s really a nice facility with various degrees of difficulty. Here are some pictures :
    https://picasaweb.google.com/atopus/WadiAdventureWhitewaterAlAinUAE
    https://picasaweb.google.com/atopus/UmmAlQuwainUAE
    Best regards
    Wolf

    • ianganderton says:

      Hi Wolf,
      Cool, sounds like you’ve been having a great time out and about. I’ll have a look at your photos when I next fire up my laptop.
      I agree with you whole heartedly about Wadi Adventure. I’m really glad to see it open at last. I was involved in the development of the channels there and its certainly a world class facility with an excellent staff with Fergus and his team.
      If you grab a copy of this months Outdoor UAE you’ll see my article is about white water kayaking. How crazy is it that its possible to write an article about what water kayaking here in one of the driest regions on earth!
      Hope to catch you on the water some time.
      Ian

  20. ianganderton says:

    Wolf- Just had chance to look at your pictures and I’ve got to say its really exciting to see such good pictures of folks having a great time out and about in boats. Thank you for posting them. Please do share more of them when you get the chance so that other visitors to this blog can also see just how good the kayaking here can be.
    Thanks for your comments, they are much appriciated.
    Ian

  21. Mohammad says:

    Hi Ian,
    I really like to buy a kayak and join a group! but I don’t know where should I go?! I’m newbie

  22. Hasan says:

    Ian this is an interesting blog, the UAE is very different to the UK where I am from and it makes sense to take up a hobby that I may not have had the chance to do for different reasons in the UK. A group of friends and I are interested in giving Kayaking a try, we are all first timers (actually I have been once in RAK, and throroughly enjoyed it). We would like to go out with a professional on an ‘introduction to kayaking’ type of trip, we do not have any equipment, can you reccommend any clubs that would give us an introduction on the water, and provide the equipment, taking us out preferably somewhere interesting in the UAE.

    Regards

  23. ianganderton says:

    Hi Hassan,

    Sorry for the delay replying, I thought I had via my mobile but it looks like it didnt post it, aplogies again.

    Your best bet atm is http://www.noukhada.ae based in Abu Dhabi. They run some excellent trips with several variations.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  24. ianganderton says:

    Here is an excellent report of Alan Pimm-Smith’s Dibba to RAK point to point circumnavigation of the Musendam Peninsular. Grab a brew, pull up a chair and take some time to read about this magnificent sea kayak journey

  25. BD says:

    Hi Ian and fellow readers. I’ve been kayaking at Al Hamra for the past few months and I’m looking forward to more adventure, But I have one concern which I haven’t come across on your post yet. What about sharks or other wildlife hazards? Do you hear about sightings or contact with small craft like kayaks along the UAE coasts? I am anxious to do the mangroves, but aren’t such habitats susceptible to harboring larger wildlife–crocodiles perhaps? (I know these things aren’t indigenous here, but what about invasive species?) Just wonder if you, Ian, or any of your readers have had any experience along these lines.

    On a more pleasant note I have to say I love what I’m seeing in this blog. And I’d like to mention a great kayaking opportunity I stumbled upon recently. I spent a night at the Al Jissah Shangri-la resort outside of Muscat in Oman. The coast there, as some may know, is absolutely magnificent, with golden colored cliffs and rock formations jutting out of the water all along the coastline. If staying at the hotel, use of the kayaks is free. So, if you don’t have or can’t transport your own you can still enjoy a magnificent kayaking opportunity without having to pay a marine operator.

    Cheers,
    Bruce

    • ianganderton says:

      Hi Bruce,

      Sounds like some great kayaking. I need to get over to Muscat to explore, sounds awesome. The Diminyat Islands are also on my ‘explore’ list.

      I’ve never heard of a kayaker having any problems anywhere from the sea’s more aggressive inhabitants. A sea kayak at around 15 to 17 foot long is not going to be prey to anything.

      I’ve seen lots of wildlife though. Sea kayakers, particularly in the Umm Al Qwain area, get very blasé about seeing turtles, I have a video somewhere, and rays, again there is a very cool pic somewhere.

      Very different from the early Zambezi kayakers who used to get hassled by big crocs all the time apparently :eeek:

  26. Paul van de Ven says:

    Hello Ian,

    Your blog seems one of very few places to find some practical info about kayaking around here. There is a few companies who do tours, havent contacted any of those yet, but might do soon. Ordering our new kayaks, a Nelo c-trek for myself, and an Azores for my wife. Having them shipped from portugal, with some friends, to share transport costs. As my wife is utterly new to kayaking, and I have not got much experience myself, which of the points on your map do you think are relatively easy to use? Will obviously do some practising and training from the beach for a while first once the boats get here, maybe try to reach the world islands with a group, but then really want to get out to the mangroves and other nice areas to see together with my wife. I have only done some white water kayaking in the past, but want to try touring now, moved to Dubai a year ago, and finaly getting some spare time now.

    • ianganderton says:

      Hi Paul

      Glad you’ve found the blog useful, yeah there isn’t much other info around at all and hence starting it

      As long as the wind and sea state are low then most of the launch sites will be fine. The tidal flows here almost negligible until you get up to Musendam or at the narrowing a at the mouths if the mangrove areas.

      Goo places to explore are the marina launching from the beach near the Sheraton, a lap around the Burj Al Arab launching from Sunset Beach is cool too. Remember that the wind and therefore the sea state tents to be a lot lower early in the morning so it’s worth getting up for as you learn how things work. Getting off the beaches is often the biggest problem because of surf. Simply use the guideline that if your not sure don’t, just find yourself an early coffee instead. As you get more experienced, particularly your wife if she hasn’t paddled before, you’ll quickly find yourself reading the conditions. If you have an epic early on you’ll likely not have a kayaking partner!! Ha ha

      Enjoy

      Ian

  27. Marian Costea says:

    Hi, guys! For the first time after so many uears in Abu Dhabi , I enjoyed the mangroves area while kayaking. Relaxing and good experience overall. I launched in the same place as Noukhada and, for afirst timer like me and my 5 year old son, it was great. I am looking forward for another suggestions.
    Best regards,
    Mario

  28. Tesh says:

    Hi, I’m new to kayaking and live in Dubai. Was hoping to get your input on kayaks i’m looking at. Trying to get a single seater that I can use once in a while just off the beach. Looked at the Firefly by Advanced Elements. Any thoughts? Does your company have something that might be suitable for me?

    • ianganderton says:

      Hi Tesh,

      I’m not familiar with the firefly I’m afraid.

      Of the Feel Free kayaks the Nomad is the starting point for all things. If you want a fast boat for doing journeys then something longer and thinner will be better. If you want something nippier and more manoverable for playing in the surf then something like a Move will be a good option. If you want something all round then it’s the Nomad that’s the optimum choice

    • ianganderton says:

      I’m not familiar with the kayak you mention I’m afraid Tesh

      Global Climbing distribute Feelfree kayaks and either the Move or Nomad are excellent options for getting started

  29. David says:

    Dear Ian,

    i ahve been looking for a sea kayak in Dubai for several months and no one seems to carry much stock. I am new to Sea kayaking and didnt really want to fork out 7.5k straight away for a venture sea kayak.

    I am a fit 194cm 100kg person and feel a 17ft is what I need.

    Is there any other suitable sea Kayaks around or possibly some good quality 2nd hand ones to buy?

    David

    • ianganderton says:

      I’m afraid good kayaks don’t come cheap. The Venture range is the entry level range from the Pyranha group. Composite boats can be in the 20K range!! A cheap boat will have leaky hatches and a flexible hull that sucks up energy.

      There are bargains to be had on Dubizzle but there are also mistakes to be made too!!

      I might know of a second hand P&H Capella that is a bargain and I can vouch for it having been appropriately looked after. Email info@globalclimbing.com to enquire. I’m off to Nepal tomorrow mountain biking so can’t follow up myself I’m afraid.

      Ian

    • ianganderton says:

      Global Climbing does have some second hand ones available atm. Contact info@globalclimbing.com for info

  30. Will says:

    Dear Ian,

    Just found your blog and very impressed. Great insight into mountain biking and kayaking, really useful

    I recently bought quite an expensive Hobie kayak from Adventure HQ, 1 man, specialised fishing type. Being a novice, I didnt realise how heavy it was, and so the small hand-pull trailer they gave me is almost impossible to mount the kayak on, let alone wheel down to the beach. Secondly, I’m about to go to Ikon to get a decent roof rack for my car to mount it on, but again wondering how the hell i’m going to get the thing on the car when its so heavy. I dont want to have to ask my wife to break her back helping me every time! I’m regretting having bought this type now, as friends of mine have much cheaper and lighter kayaks.

    Interested to hear your ideas!

    thanks,
    Will

    • ianganderton says:

      Hi Will,

      I’m not a big fan of the Hobie “pedallo’s”. All they need is a big swans head on the front and they’d be complete.

      Maybe I’m stuck in my ways after over 30 years of paddling kayaks of all types or maybe I just really appreciate the simplicity, adaptability and efficiency of a kayak with a paddle.

      They are light, adaptable, can cope with the most extreme environments on the planet, have few moving parts etc etc.

      Give me a sea kayak any day of the week. The same design has stood the test of time since the Eskimos developed them.

      I’ll leave the pedallo’s for theme parks thank you very much

      Ian

    • ianganderton says:

      I’m not a big fan of the Hobie pedallo’s I’m afraid. Heavy and over complicated armchairs that should have swans moulded into the front.

      Sorry, you’ve got a conundrum there

  31. Sarah says:

    Hi,

    I have just found this extremely informative, many
    Thanks!.i went kayaking for 1st time with my husband
    And 5 yr old son today at the mangroves Abu Dhabi
    With noukhada. We has such a gr8 time we are now going to buy a kayak
    Tomorrow! Our question is can we launch free of charge
    From same place and where else in Abu Dhabi?
    Thanks if you can help

    • ianganderton says:

      Hi Sarah,

      I’m not sure exactly where Noukhada are launching from atm, I know they’ve been moving around a bit in recent times.

      To the best of my knowledge there has never been any charges or problems launching from the same spots they use, they are good guys. Have a chat with them, I’m sure they’ll point you in the direction of other launch sites to explore from too

  32. Mohamad Mostafa says:

    Hello,
    Is there any license or regulations for kayak fishing in UAE?

    • ianganderton says:

      Hi Mostafa,

      I see you’ve found the Kayak Fishing Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/205849129542740/

      To clarify- you don’t need a permit or licence of any sort for kayaking here. That said you may occasionally come across officials who think you do. In my experience its best not to argue.

      Because of the freedom a kayak has you may also accidentally find your self near sensitive areas like oil and military installations or VVIP accommodation. To avoid any issues your best just giving these as wide a berth as possible and moving out of the area as quickly as possible.

      As you know you do need a permit for fishing.

      Hope this clarity’s the situation

      Ian

  33. Fawwaz says:

    Hello Ian, how long do you think it would take to Kayak from the sir bani yas in the south of the country to Doha if I went to Delma island then across open water until hitting the Qatari coast up to Doha?

    • ianganderton says:

      Hmmm, don’t know. Haven’t got access to google earth to check distances. Have you worked out the kilometres per leg?

      In a sea kayak I plan on about 6km per hour as a starting point. I can sustain that easily enough for 6 hours of tide. Add on tidal assistance as well of course.

  34. Irfan says:

    Hi Ian

    Fantastic to read about your explorations in the UAE and Oman. I am a process of buying a tandem inflatable kayak. Have no idea how to choose one. Can you please help me in this? Cheers, Irfan

    • ianganderton says:

      Sorry Irfan I havent got any info or experience with which to help you properly. Only advice I can give is to try before you buy, many inflatables seem to be of poor quality leading to them being difficult to paddle due to bad ergonomics and floppy construction.

  35. Wesley says:

    Hi Ian – i notice you are a distributor for Venture. I have an Easky 15 sea kayak and am looking to get the deck pod. Do you know where i can get one in Dubai? thanks

  36. Maureen says:

    Hi Ian,
    Are you still the distributor for a few of the kayak companies? I’ve been to Adventure HQ to see the kayaks but they hardly have anything other than Hobies. Is it possible to have a quick chat through my requirements for a kayak to get a few recommendations re models and brands? – I previously had a Quality Kayak – Tasman Express Lite – lightweight, pedal-rudder, back support, plastic etc.
    Kind Regards,
    Maureen

  37. Jonathan says:

    Hey, great blog – the only one of its kind! Im a new Kayaker in Abu Dhabi and this was invaluable information for me! Are there any other locations you know of in Abu Dhabi?

    • ianganderton says:

      Hi Jonathon,

      I’d suggest popping down and talking to the guys at Noukhada, they know the area pretty well now and, as long as you don’t catch them when they are super busy, should be able to point out a few other places to get you started.

      • Jonathan says:

        Thanks Ian, sorted! One last thing. I recently got the Point 65N Mercury as I simply had nowhere to store a longer non-modular kayak. Situation has recently changed and im looking to get a normal sea kayak. Ive been looking at the Easky17 and the Capella 166. Which would you recommend, or would you suggest another one?
        Cheers

      • ianganderton says:

        The P&H Capella 166 is what I use and its excellent. I’ve also extensively used the Easky 17 including the circumnavigation of Musendam. The Easky is more tuned to beginners with a flatter hull and less expensive construction. The Capella is a better long term buy if you can find one

      • Jonathan says:

        Thanks, do any UAE stores sell the Capella? I can see the Easky in Adventure HQ but cant find the Capella anywhere.

  38. Jon says:

    Hi Jonathan from Jon. I’m in Abu Dhabi too and might be able to help with some local info, etc

  39. phil says:

    Hi Ian

    I was hoping you might be able to give me some advice for a trip i’m trying to plan in Oman. I wanted organise a two day trip for a group of kayakers, that would involve camping for one night.

    The objective is to raise money for a charity in Gambia. We’d done really well raising money a couple of years ago by taking a group around the palm. I know it wasn’t the biggest challenge in the world, but some of the guys had only been out on the sea a few times. i think you wrote a blog just after, when you kayaked around the world islands.

    We’re planning to go mid November when the weathers better and hopefully when the seas are calm. Although I’ve lived here for 8 years, i’m a bit crap on where to go in Oman. I have done the Fjords on a boat trip, but was hoping you might have an existing route with egress points.

    I’m really sorry if i’ve missed a blog above that would have given me all the info i need!

    Be great if yourself or any readers on here want to join us.

    Here’s the charities website if you’re interested.

    http://www.footballgambia.org

    Nothing to do with kayaking, i know, but a really good cause. BTW, none of the money raised pays for people to go to Gambia but goes directly into the charity.

    I’m thinking of planning a kayaking trip there next year.

    thanks
    Phil

  40. David says:

    Hi Ian

    My wife and I am looking to get back into kayaking having sold our sea kayak when we moved her from Sydney (stupid I know). I am preferably looking for a two seat fiberglass sea kayak with a ruder. Is there anyone distributing these in the UAE.

    Regards
    David

    • ianganderton says:

      Hi David

      I dont know of any double sea kayaks distributed in the region I’m afraid. But what you might find if you search in the right places are some second hand ones from the fleet that used to be used for the Abu Dhabi Adventure Race. These were recently sold off. I know they exist but have no idea where to point you to start looking. I’d start with a wanted ad on Dubizzle probably.

      Hope this helps

      Ian

  41. Wolf says:

    Hi Ian,
    Hi kayakers in UAE,
    we are once again in Dubai and of course we paddle.
    Are there any important events, meetings or kayaking trips in which we can participate?
    Wolf
    http://picasaweb.google.com/atopus

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