When the concrete jungle concrete jungle-s too much…

Contrary to popular opinion, there is much green to see in the UAE. Beyond the confines and stretches of the bustling cities, no doubt, but it is there and it may even surprise you. Natural beauty in the UAE has always been a question of sorts, with the primary naturally occurring landforms being the expansive desert. But we’re here to tell you that there is actually much more. Go on – take a drive, take a break and get lost in some green.

Here are 10 green natural wonders to visit in the UAE.

Al Zorah Natural Reserve

 

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This lesser-known ecosystem in Ajman is made up of a tidal creek and a lush mangrove forest home to a rich variety of birdlife. Natural greenery is not that much of a common sight here, but this hidden gem is every nature lover’s dream. Mangroves are an important element of the coastline in this part of the world and you can spot nearly 60 species of birds, including the Greater Flamingo and a number of egrets and herons. If the sight of serene waters isn’t quite enough for you, and some adrenaline is the fix, you can also participate in water sports like windsurfing and kayaking.

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Siniyah Island

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This island is just 19 kilometres away from Umm Al Quwain and is easily accessible by boat. If you’re looking to take a break from the cityscape, Siniyah Island is the spot to visit. It’ll be a fun, spontaneous road rip, and you’ll witness beautiful rolling greens and endless blues at the end of it. Like many other spots of natural beauty in the country, the island is home to several species of birds like flamingos, herons, terns and plovers to be seen from the mudflats.

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Hatta

 

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There isn’t a spot quite as naturally beautiful as Hatta in Dubai. With its stunning views and exciting experiences, it’s a perfect spot to visit to be one with nature. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is truly a retreat, and best enjoyed when the temperatures go down. Of course, up in the mountains, it will be delightfully cooler, so you don’t want to miss out on this chance. Camping under the stars, kayaking and more smashing adventures await.

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Al Qudra Lake

If you’re looking for the perfect picnic spot, Al Qudra Lake might just be it. These artificial lakes in the heart of Dubai’s desert are best enjoyed in the cooler months when you can camp by the lakefront, take a ride down the Al Qudra Cycling track or enjoy some bites from the food trucks. It’s also a great place to spot native Dubai wildlife in their natural habitat including desert foxes, oryx, and a number of bird species including some on the endangered list, such as the steppe eagle and the Asian houbara.

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Sir Baniyas Island

There’s more than one mode of transportation involved in this one, but it’s worth it (pinky promise). Sir Baniyas Island is probably the most wildlife-dense location in the country. Home to over 11,000 animals, it’s practically one giant wildlife reserve, and several endangered species such as the blackbuck antelope and Arabian oryx as well as giraffe, ostrich and cheetah call the home. It’s a step into a landscape, with lush greenery and wilderness. You can take a safari tour of the island and explore the diversity as it roams free. It’s a 25-minute boat ride from Jebel Dhanna, which itself is a two-hour drive from downtown Abu Dhabi.

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Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary

This wetland reserve is closer to you than you think – right by the Dubai Creek – and is the perfect spot to visit to observe some 20.000 birds, mammals, fish and exotic plants in their element, and of course, all the greenery. There is a plethora of flora and fauna for you to explore and you can bring along your binoculars to spot migratory and residents birds displaying a dazzling assortment of colors, sizes, shapes and behaviors through three bird hides for bird watching at strategic locations.Entrance is free and there are binoculars available to borrow, too. It’s an ideal escape – not too far and with exciting things to do.

Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary

 

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Another wetland reserve, the Jebel Ali wildlife sanctuary consists of stunning mangroves, 2,000 hectares of wetland including the Ghantoot Marine Reserve, a coastal and marine area of coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and sandy beaches. You’ll find over 300 endangered species here, including the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, the mottled eagle ray, green turtle, Arabian gazelle, foxes, lizards and a variety of water birds. To visit the reserve you can join one of their turtle releases, BBQs, mangrove plantings or clean-ups.

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Al Qurm Nature Reserve

 

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Another stunning UAE nature spot to marvel at a natural mangrove forest is the Al Qurm Nature Reserve, which you’ll find at Kalba on the southern outskirts of Kalba village, on Sharjah’s east coast. The 500-hectare park of protected mangroves is home to species such as Arabian-collared kingfishers and hawksbill and green turtles. Enjoy guided kayak tours or go paddle-boarding around the area.

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Jubail Mangrove Park

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The stunning Jubail Mangrove Park in Abu Dhabi is an absolute must-visit for nature-seekers. A huge boardwalk will take visitors on a nature trail through the natural landscape of mangroves near Yas Island and, take it from us, it’s amazing. As well as the stunning nature walk, there’s loads of activities for the whole family to get involved in such as guided boardwalk tours, kayak trips, and e-canoe tours of the mangroves.

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Images: Supplied/ Socials