A return to nature…

Jubail Mangrove Park opened in January of this year, offering visitors the opportunity to explore one of this region’s most fascinating natural habitats.

Found nestled away on a quiet outcrop of Jubail Island, Abu Dhabi — the mangrove park became an instant hit with locals, residents and tourists.

With its distinct meandering 2.3km boardwalk, proximity to the city, unbelievably good value ticket rates and *shakes head* just look at those turquoise hues — the park represents an easily-accessible, soothing antidote to the freneticism of modern urban living.

But of course, as with all touristic attractions, the pandemic forced a temporary closure back in March, and the wooden boardwalks have remained untrodden ever since.

Green shoots

Until now that is. Today we learned that the park would be reopening, all being well, and pending final approvals — on October 1, next Thursday.

We also discovered that the park’s developers had been busy during the period of closure, as there are some exciting new features for visitors to look forward to.

We spoke with Richard Russell, Chief Operations Officer of Jubail Island Investment Company (JIIC), who told us about new ranger-led, guided boardwalk (from Dhs50), kayak (Dhs100), and e-canoe tours (from Dhs80) of the mangroves.

These excursions will provide an opportunity to learn about this enchanting ecosystem, as well as appreciate its outstanding natural beauty. For the first time, the park’s visitors will also be able to use a stand-up-paddle board to explore the maze of mangrove.

The award for most exciting new activity goes to the fact there will be an opportunity to get your hands dirty with a bit of conservation, and plant new mangroves in the on-site nursery.

Eco Domes

Please note that this ‘glamping facility’ hasn’t opened yet. As soon as we have a launch date, we will keep you updated.  

Last time we went to check out the mangroves, we discovered a series of luxury glamping domes. The project codenamed Jubail North was still under construction, were able to snatch a sneaky preview.

Excitingly, Russell said that this eco-lodge project was now finished, they’re just waiting for the final sign off from the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT).

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Well this all sounds great, but, what are mangroves?

Mangroves are plants that have adapted to thrive in environments of high salinity. The trees on Jubail are all ‘grey mangroves’ (after the colour of their branches and roots). The little upward-pointing woody stalactites you’ll see are called ‘breathing roots’ – enabling the plants to store oxygen during high tide.

Safe sailing

Of course the park is fully compliant with all the pandemic safety requirements and will be DCT Go Safe certified. Thermal scanning facilities have been set up and all staff and guests will have to wear masks.

Richard Russell said that, some of the new rules — capacity limits, and the requirement to book online in advance — will have additional benefits to the mangroves and guest experience, other than just safety.

The flow of guests will be much easier to manage, and visitor impact reduced.

Russell wanted to offer special thanks to the partners that have been instrumental in the success of Jubail Mangrove Park, including Abu Dhabi Municipality and Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD).

Jubail Mangrove Park, Al Jubail Island (next to Saadiyat Island), Abu Dhabi, 8am to 7.30pm daily, Dhs15 for adult, Dhs10. Tel: (05) 63032423. park.jubailisland.ae