Abu Dhabi’s secret animal island | Dear Alyne
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Sir Bani Yas Island is one of the top Abu Dhabi tourist places with a picturesque wildlife sanctuary, desert safaris and luxury hotels. The Abu Dhabi emirate has several exciting and awe-inspiring Abu Dhabi tourist places to explore. And Sir Bani Yas Island is one of the most amazing Abu Dhabi tourist places that is home to the UAE's most popular nature reserve, Sir Bani Yas Island’s wildlife sanctuary.
Sir Bani Yas Island is one of eight islands making up the desert islands of Al Dhafra. In 1971, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan declared Sir Bani Yas Island a nature reserve that is now the Arabian Wildlife Park. Covering 1,400 hectares, the park is a sanctuary for 17,000 free-roaming indigenous and exotic animals and birds, and home to animal breeding and relocation programmes.
This nature-based destination is home to stunning wildlife, a range of family-friendly adventure activities, five-star boutique hotels, luxury villas, purpose-built stables and historical sites.
Arabian Wildlife Park
Awarded the World’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination at the 2014 World Travel Awards, more than half of this incredible island is made up of the Arabian Wildlife Park that is home to Arabian oryx, gazelles, giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs. Guests can enjoy 4x4 nature and wildlife safaris in specially made vehicles accompanied by expert guides, with the island’s state-of-the-art stables offering a variety of equestrian activities and lessons for the whole family.
With three Anantara retreats on the island, guests can indulge in luxury five-star accommodation at Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara, enjoy beachfront seclusion at Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort on the eastern shores, and breathtaking natural beauty at Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort.
If you’re looking for a customised tour to explore the island in more detail, Danat Resort Jebel Dhanna, a hotel on the Abu Dhabi mainland, can help you book one.
This ancient island is also home to the UAE's only discovered Christian monastery, which can be visited during a Desert Islands Resort and Spa Culture Tour. Archaeologists have unearthed numerous discoveries, including the remains of a Christian church and monastery from the 7th and 8th centuries CE, and flint tools dating back to the Neolithic period (7,000 years ago). In addition, a trading settlement dating to the Bronze Age (4,000 years ago) was recently discovered on the island.
Sir Bani Yas Island was first mentioned in European literature around 1590 by Gasparo Balbi, an Italian jeweller and merchant, who referred to it as being located in a region where pearls were found. The tradition of pearling continued to be important until the early 20th century.
Sir Bani Yas Island is one of the largest of a group of many islands located along the Al Dhafra Region. The unique salt dome geology that leads to the creation of small mountains in the central area of the island are the remnants of a geological process that created outcrops of haematite and other rocks that rise above the surrounding terrain and sea.
So, if you’re looking to enjoy the island’s isolated white sand beaches, wildlife safari, guided nature and wildlife tours, and visits to archaeological sites, make sure you plan ahead of time.
SIr Bani Yas Island is definitely a brilliant holiday destination for your bucket list.
Planning a trip to the UAE? If Dubai is on your list, why not add a few days to your itinerary and visit Abu Dhabi after your Dubai vacation? You’ll be glad to know we’re just an hour away from Dubai by car.
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