The United Arab Emirates has a lot of noteworthy and beautiful tourist destinations, both man-made and natural. Attracted by these, a huge number of tourists of every hue visit the UAE every year. Depending on your available time and budget, you can include as many destinations as possible. And one such must-visit destination is Sir Bani Yas Island.
Located around 170 km in a south-westerly direction from UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi, this beautiful Sir Bani Yas Island is a natural island. It is the largest natural island in the country. Arabia’s largest wildlife reserve is located here. It was established in 1977 and a lot of effort was made to grow and preserve this reserve.
Today, the island is home to millions of plants and a large number of animals & birds. It also has historical sites, stunning beaches, beautiful mountains, and forests. Your itinerary would be quite full once you reach Sir Bani Yas Island.
Things to See and Do at Sir Bani Yas Island
Sir Bani Yas Island is a paradise for nature lovers. Explore the forests, climb the mountains, or simply wander around – there’s no end to what you can do here. The prominent activities that you can indulge in here are,
- Visit the largest herd of the native and endangered Arabian Oryx and also Arabian tahr on a jungle safari in specially-made vehicles. Expert guides will accompany you and fill you in on the interesting tit-bits about these beautiful animals.
- The island is also home to other antelopes like the Mountain Gazelle, Sand Gazelle, etc. Also to be seen are giraffes, Barbary Sheep, and carnivores like cheetahs and hyenas. The chirping of various bird species would also greet you.
- Done with the jungle safari? Eager to get some exercise? Then it’s time to indulge in some serious mountain biking. The island is home to some really attractive mountains and hills, so you will have your fill of adventure as you race up and down these landscapes. You can also indulge in some nature trail walking through the forests. Good exercise and great fun.
- Did you know that Sir Bani Yas Island also houses a more than 1500 years-old Christian church? This is among the oldest in the region. Excavated in 1992, this church showcases proofs of ancient Christian habitat here. A must-see.
- Looking for seclusion and some private indulgence? Head for the Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort or the Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort. Private beachfront, luxurious spas, deluxe cottages ensuring total privacy – the resorts have it all and more. Let the kids enjoy in their designated play areas. And don’t miss out on the lip-smacking cuisine at the restaurants here.
How to Reach Sir Bani Yas Island?
- You can take a self-driven car or a rented car service from Abu Dhabi or Dubai. Take the E11 highway and reach Al Ruwais, via Tarif, Mirfa, and Baynoona. Then, take exit 113, marked Sir Bani Yas Island. Follow the road and drive up to the Jebel Dhanna Jetty. At the jetty, park the car at the secured parking place. Then, avail of a water taxi to reach the island.
- You could also take a boat from the designated harbor at Abu Dhabi and dock at Sir Bani Yas’s Royal Bay Moorings at the island. Small aircraft and seaplanes also leave the mainland and land on the small airstrip created on the island.
Best Time to Visit
Late autumn to the end of the spring season would be a suitable time to visit the Sir Bani Yas Island. Plan your visit anytime between October and March.
The entry fee for the park is AED 15. It is free for children below the age of 12 years. The park remains open every day (except Friday) between 2 pm and 6 pm.