Glowing skyscrapers, luxurious buying, and the System 1 Grand Prix would possibly first come to your thoughts whenever you consider Abu Dhabi. However the emirate’s ecological websites are attracting vacationers, residents, and expats alike. In honor of World Setting Day—June 5—take a look at these pure and inexperienced Abu Dhabi websites and begin your journey planning. Abu Dhabi is open to quarantine-free journey from the U.S. as of July 1.
Eco-sites close to the capital
Whether or not you’re dwelling in Abu Dhabi or simply visiting, you don’t need to journey far to see the less-developed facet of the emirate. A number of websites are close to the capital metropolis, on each the mainland and on islands.
There’s a mangrove sanctuary on the island of Al Jubail, for instance. You may stroll alongside picket boardwalks by means of the greenery at Jubail Mangrove Park, which opened in January 2020. You’ll see a number of birds, together with herons, and maybe turtles and different sea life. The most effective time to go to is at excessive tide.
Simply 40 minutes outdoors the capital metropolis is Al Wathba, the place there’s each a wetland reserve and desert dunes. Featured in films—together with Star Wars: The Drive Awakens—is Al Wathba Fossil Dunes. They’re uncommon and weird sand formations created because of wind and calcium carbonate. The dunes are additionally an necessary wildlife habitat. On a nighttime safari at Al Wathba, you’ll see nocturnal desert mammals and lizards that keep away from the warmth of the day. Due to infrared lights, you would possibly even (safely) spot a scorpion.
Between the dunes and the town is Al Wathba Wetlands Reserve. About 250 totally different fowl species dwell right here, plus just a few reptiles and mammals. Within the spring and autumn, 4,000 pale flamingos with shiny pink and black wings benefit from the wetlands—the one common breeding web site for higher flamingos within the Center East. Select between two strolling trails: you’ll see flamingos on the purple path and have an excellent likelihood of seeing lizards on the inexperienced path. The reserve was positioned on the IUCN Inexperienced Record of Protected and Conserved Areas in 2018, the primary web site within the area to be acknowledged with the designation.
Eco-sites in Al Dhafra, Abu Dhabi’s western area
Abu Dhabi’s western area, Al Dhafra, is about two thirds of the whole emirate. It consists of seashores, islands, desert and sand dunes, and there are a number of historical archeological websites to discover within the space.
Why not take an Arabian safari on Sir Bani Yas Island? It has an immense wildlife protect that’s dwelling to greater than 17,000 free-roaming animals, some indigenous and a few launched. You’ll see desert animals such because the endangered Arabian oryx, numerous gazelles, and carnivores like hyenas and cheetahs. The island can also be the location of the ruins of a Christian monastery, constructed round 700 CE and rediscovered in 1992.
For luxe stays on Sir Bani Yas Island, there are three Anantara resorts to select from: beachfront at Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort with mangrove kayaking, snorkeling, and horseback driving; in tented luxurious with gazelles roaming by at Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort; and in lodge suites overlooking the Gulf and in pool villas at Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara.
Al Dhafra can also be dwelling to Rub’ al Khali—the Empty Quarter—the most important uninterrupted stretch of sand on the planet. The immense sand dunes right here change with the winds. You may take daybreak walks within the desert (possibly even discover a geode crystal), gaze on the stars with out gentle air pollution, and be taught concerning the tradition and traditions of the Bedouins.
Eco-sites in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi’s japanese area
A favourite web site in Abu Dhabi’s japanese area is the UNESCO World Heritage web site of Al Ain Oasis. It’s about 90 minutes from the capital and close to the border with Oman. Surrounded by desert, the six oases listed below are a few of the oldest continually-inhabited settlements on the planet.
Al Ain is named the Backyard Metropolis. It exists due to the falaj—the traditional irrigation system that also operates as we speak—that nourishes the town’s 147,000 date palms and different lush shade timber. You too can go to historic websites just like the Al Jahili Fort and the Hili Archeological Park, a UNESCO web site with historical tombs.
Close to Al Ain is Jebel Hafit, Abu Dhabi’s highest mountain and the second-highest within the UAE. It’s the location of fossils, the 5,000-year-old Jebel Hafit Tombs, in addition to beautiful views of each the dawn and sundown. On the best way again to Al Ain from Jebel Hafit, cease at Inexperienced Mubazzarah Sizzling Springs—it’s a fantastic place to dip your toes after a winter hike.
Underwater Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi has a number of marine protected areas and loads of websites for scuba diving, freediving, and snorkeling. For individuals who don’t wish to get moist, you may admire the ocean life from above on a kayak paddle by means of the mangrove forests.
You would possibly see dolphins, endangered Hawksbill and inexperienced turtles, the Arabian angelfish, and butterflyfish swimming close to brightly-colored corals. Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve has the world’s second-largest neighborhood of dugongs, that are cousins of the manatee. Ras Ghanadah is the location of one in all Abu Dhabi’s largest protected coral reefs. There are even a number of ship wrecks to dive; the Outdated Cement Barge wreck is a prime snorkeling spot too.
Quarantine-free journey from the U.S. starting July 1, 2021
Abu Dhabi reopened to worldwide tourism in December 2020. As of July 1, 2021, vacationers from greater than two dozen “green list” nations are in a position to enter Abu Dhabi with out the necessity to quarantine. New nations are added to the record frequently.
Test Abu Dhabi’s present Covid journey protocols, together with testing necessities, on Visit Abu Dhabi’s website. Visas can be found upon arrival for U.S. passport holders; functions and payment funds may also be achieved prematurely.