SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates: HH Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has stressed that development projects in Sharjah are carefully planned and implemented in a way that maintains the environmental nature of the Central Region, including its deserts, trees, plants and animals that the Emirate is keen to preserve. This is being achieved alongside development in various sectors – infrastructure, culture, tourism, heritage, economy and sports, etc.
The Sharjah Ruler made these remarks after inaugurating the Sharjah Safari on February 17. The largest safari in the world outside Africa, it is located within the Bardi Reserve in Al Dhaid, extending over an area of 8 square kilometers.
Dh 1 billion project
The Ruler of Sharjah, accompanied by officials and dignitaries, later toured the Sharjah Safari and was briefed about its various facilities and attractions. The Sharjah Safari is set to become an unparalleled natural reserve and tourist attraction in the UAE and the region. The Ruler was briefed on the multiple facilities and services of the Safari offering the visitors and residents a real African safari experience. The Sharjah Safari boasts 12 natural environments, each representing a specific region in Africa and replicating the life and terrain of the brown continent and its unique animals and birds.
HH Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi pointed out that the Sharjah Safari project, which began five years ago, cost approximately Dh1 billion, is environment-friendly and is aimed at protecting the environment of the region. It offers a carefully created natural habitat to help the various species of animals and plants live and reproduce. “The Safari will also provide around 300 jobs for young people in the region,” he said.
Major Projects in Central Region
The Sharjah Ruler noted that the Emirate is implementing several other key projects in the Central Region, such as Al Maleha area and Al Dhaid Fort and Al Bathaa Lake, which will host rowing competitions and ensure water supply in the region. The Emirate is also developing pastures and other wildlife reserves in the area. He referred to the Sharjah Sports City, located on the Sharjah-Al Dhaid Road, which is being developed with world-class facilities and infrastructure to host various competitions, including swimming and rowing etc.
The Ruler stressed that the Emirate of Sharjah has been keen to preserve its heritage, values and traditions, and promoting its authentic identity. He called on all Emiratis to assume their national responsibility, take care of their families and children, and be proud of their religion and the country.
The Sharjah Ruler thanked all those who took part in ensuring the success of the Sharjah Safari project, including engineers, experts and specialists as well as administrators and guides.
Need to Preserve Heritage
He stressed the need to preserve Bedouin culture’s special characteristics, customs, values, heritage and identity, citing the efforts of Al Wusta television channel, based in Al Dhaid, in this regard. The channel regularly hosts the elderly, poets and narrators to celebrate this heritage. The Ruler called for preserving natural habitat and desert areas and their environmental components against urbanisation work through Amiri decrees, as well as entrusting the Department of Municipal Affairs, Agriculture and Livestock Resources to document the names of trees, dunes, wells and other terms relating to the region’s environment.
Real African experience
The Sharjah Safari offers visitors a simulated adrenaline-filled visit to the natural regions of Africa. The first stop into this journey, “To Africa” takes visitors on a unique walking experience to explore the wildlife endemic to the eastern coast of Africa.
In the area, Sahel, visitors get to explore the region’s deserts and grasslands and the rich diverse wildlife, spanning from the Atlantic coast of Mauritania in the west to Eritrea and the Red Sea in the east. The third region, the Savannah, spans the eastern and southern Africa. These grasslands cover almost half of Africa and are home to some of the most distinct biodiversity in the world.
The fourth area, the Serengeti, celebrates the largest wildebeest migration in the world every year. The fifth region, Ngorongoro, formed from an extinct crater, is a unique ecosystem and home to some of Africa’s most famous species.
The sixth region, Moremi, is inspired by the canyons and valleys of southwest Africa formed over centuries by heavy monsoon rains. These dry and sandy riverbeds contain aquifers that support life throughout the dry season.
More than 50,000 Animals
The Sharjah Safari will be home to more than 50,000 animals from more than 120 species of animals that live in Africa, especially the black rhino, which is one of the most important and rare animals in the safari. More than 100,000 African Acacia trees were also planted at the Sharjah Safari, including local and African species.
The Safari offers its visitors an integrated experience to discover the true colours and flavours of Africa and its islands. They will get to see the flamingo and other birds, the Madagascar island, and the Aldabra giant tortoise. They can also explore an African village, as well as the traditional farm with Watusi cattle, Zanzibar village, and multiple facilities and sections, filled with hundreds of species of African animals and plants.
The opening ceremony was attended by Sheikh Salem bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Advisor at the Sharjah Ruler’s Office, Sheikh Khalid bin Abdullah bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman for Sharjah Ports, Customs and Free Zones Authority, HE Sheikh Khalid bin Essam Al Qasimi, Chairman of Department of Civil Aviation Sharjah, Sheikh Salem bin Abdulrahman Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Ruler’s Office, Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Statistics and Community Development, and a number of senior officials and dignitaries of the region.