Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Boating around Karachi’s Oyster Rocks

A Beautiful Karachi Sunset Around Manora Island

Oyster Rocks
There is a bunch of small islands in the proximity to Karachi’s southern coastal line with Manora in the West and Clifton’s Sea View in the East. These islands are usually frequented by amateur fishing enthusiasts but can also be a really good family excursion in a city which is usually dubbed as a commercial hubbub with little recreation opportunities.

(Zoom out for a clear picture of Oyster Rocks Location)

View Larger Map

Two in One: Rock Climbing with Seafood!
While pondering about where to take our expat guests who were not so impressed with the favorite local pastime, i.e. wandering around shopping malls, I shared this idea which got immediate support from the younger generation. After taking a nod from the family bureaucracy, I called Hasan – who is usually a quick resource in our friends circle for all things fun – and as expected, he knew someone at Kemari who arranges boating and crabbing tours. After a little haggling, I got a Rs. 10,000 deal which included sunset jaunt to the rocks along with the onboard seafood menu for 15 people (~650 per head).

We reached the jetty around 3:30 pm where Arif, that ‘someone’, received and helped us in parking our cars in the adjacent private parking – which was not an easy task otherwise due to the heavy traffic. By 4:00 we all got settled in the locally made boat and reached our destination in an hour or so. The sea was smooth and the weather was just perfect to enjoy both the cool sea breeze and the warm sunshine.

Our captain Ibrahim anchored the vessel rather casually around one of the rocks before we leaped onto the pebbly surface. The baccha party was really excited and within minutes they all reached to the top of the cliff with their parents yelling and following. Sights from the summit included Habib Bank Plaza on one hand and the open waters of the Arabian Sea on the other.

After an hour of fun, we descended back to the boat where Ibrahim was giving dum to the much wanted karak tea – included in the menu.

After having tea and snack, we left the makeshift harbor to catch the sunset near Manora Island. Behind us, jets of the KPT Fountain started blowing water high in the air while the sea started getting a bit rough, which only added to the fun of the excursion.  Once we entered back into the channel, where the water was much calm, Ibrahim docked the boat again, but this time in the middle of the sea, to prepare food in the onboard kitchen.

For me, the best part had yet to come, i.e. Seafood: Prawn Masala, fried fish, and crab lollypops; all fresh and supplemented with potato cutlass and spicy potato bhujia! I was so overwhelmed with the food that you can excuse me for not capturing those freshly cooked scrumptious dishes with the camera. 

The best part was also the last part, and we returned back to the jetty around 8 after another memorable picnic, Alhamdolillah!

Tourist Boat with the Carpeted Upper Compartment (Kemari, Karachi)
A Passenger Boat Leaving for Manora Island from Kemari, Karachi
A Liner Sailing Out of Kemari through Baba Channel (Karachi)
Fishermen Going Back to Kemari (Karachi) after a Day's Catch
Oyster Rocks (Karachi) Visible from the Boat
Giant Oyster Rock, Karachi
Summiting Karachi's Oyster Rock
Artificial Enclave Around Oyster Rocks, Karachi
Open Waters of the Arabian Sea near Karachi
Entering Back to the Chartered Territory
Fresh Jheera Prawns to be Served Shortly
Fresh Saram Fish

Warm clothes: Take layered clothing, especially hooded uppers as it gets windy and cold in the open sea even if the mercury is on the rise in the city center.
Parking: Car parking is available on an adjacent private facility for Rs. 100. Don’t bother taking the car into the Port.
CNIC: There is a Navy check-post right in the sea which requires showing CNICs of atleast each male voyager.
Season: Daytime is the best during winters (October-March) while evenings suit the hot summer weather.
Photography: Since it is a cantonment area, therefore, photography is prohibited, or discouraged actually, so being discrete as much as possible. (Btw, I used my cell phone for photography, and that too in the moving boat – the reason for low resolution pics)
First Aid: Keeping basic medicines would be wise, however, the whole journey remains in the city precinct and one can rush back quickly in case of an emergency.
Directions: See the below map from Karachi City Center (Hasan Square)
Advanced Booking: Though experienced folks go directly to the jetty and negotiate directly with the boatmen – booking one in advance was a good experience especially with the family in the tow in the chaotic port environment and pushy touts.

Other Interesting Day Trips Around Karachi:
The Great Canyon; Long Drive Around Makran Coastal Highway
Fish Massage and other Mysteries of Ranikot
Heritage Buildings Around Karachi's M. A. Jinnah Road


  1. Awesome! It couldn't be much simpler.

  2. Spend Rs 1000 per head instead of 650 and get 8 hours instead of 5 plus more activities.
    Instead of taking all the headache by yourself and finding boats by yourself in the noisy enviornment of kemari port I would recomend you guys to go with snorkeling company named Scuba Club. I had the best adventure of my life with these guys.Charges were reasonable for local boat Rs 20000/ for 20 person but there was a capacity of atleast 30 person in that boat.In addition to other activities they offer fishing,swiming(snorkeling equipment was also provided),well served and hygenic food including chicken biryani,cold drinks,tea and nimco were also provided.Water sports including rockclimbing and cliffjumping were also included in the package.Cliff jumping was the most thrilling moment for height freak person like me.For families they also provide a fibre boat with a room,toilet and kitchen but that was bit expensive and after all our group comprises of only boys of my age so we prefer more economical package.
    Here is there facebook link and website (but website seems to be outdated so visit their facebook :

    1. Boy, no offense but that sounds more like an ad! And then at their FB, charges for Oyster Island are mentioned as 2,000/- per head against 1,000/- as you mentioned, which is way too much especially when they are not serving the delicious seafood, which those 'desi' boats serve live and fresh! But to those who look down upon 'desi yet authentic' style, these organized group thing might be more appealing.

  3. hey, I was planning to go for crabbing , can you give me the contact of this person?