With a floating restaurant and turtle conservation sites…

There are many sides to Dubai, it is of course, a land of almost unrivalled innovation, a desert oasis where record-breaking skyscrapers sprout from the sands like wildflowers. It is a sanctuary of safety and tolerance, an incubator of creativity, a curator of regional stories past and future – and it has some pretty gnarly beaches.

This last aspect of Dubai holds an extraordinary gravitational pull on prospective new residents and tourists alike – and it’s one that’s about to receive a dramatic boost, with a new megaproject now signed off by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.

Bay Watch

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The Jebel Ali Beach project will make a sandy stretch in the south of the emirate, the longest public open beach in Dubai at 6.6 km. Occupying 330 hectares of the Jebel Ali Wildlife Sanctuary, the undertaking will include a 5 km sandy beach (with creation overseen by Nakheel); as well as a 1.6 km mangrove beach which Dubai Municipality will develop.

Talking about the beach’s features, His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Commissioner General for Infrastructure, Urban Planning, and Well-Being Pillar said: “The plan includes a 2 km open swimmable beach, a 2.5 km diving sports area, a walkway with viewing platforms to blend with the surrounding environment, and recreational and service areas for beachgoers of all ages, including kids play zones, sports and marine activity areas.”

“The beach will be connected with integrated infrastructure, including a two-lane road in each direction, parking for 1,000 vehicles, 80 bicycle racks, a cycling track, and a 5 km running track.”

In terms of aesthetics – expect a mix of boho chic and themes that reflect natural marine and desert forms.

Rule of three

Jebel Ali Beach will comprise three thematically distinct sites – The Pearl (located to the right, close Palm Jebel Ali) will become a centre for recreational fun with a lively family-focused seafront, sports activities, a swimming pool, kids play areas, a beach club with a pool and private (paid) beach, restaurants, cafes, shops, and… a floating restaurant “in a unique location.”

The Sanctuary, as the name suggests, has a recentring geared towards the natural world. Here indigenous animals, including nesting turles will be given priority of space, alongside minimum impact recreational and sports facilities.

Finally, The Nest is your opportunity to explore the verdant majesty of the mangroves. There’s a careful balance of educational and entertainment experiences alongside environmental conservation. Knowledge-thirsty beachgoers can visit a centre to learn about biodiversity, turtle rehabilitation and how to join the efforts that preserve the coastal ecosystem.

In collaboration with nature

Described by Tayer as “the first of its kind in the UAE” – the Jebel Ali Beach Development Project will seek to grow and exist in perfect harmony with the natural world around it.

The consideration goes beyond creating world-class facilities for human visitors – this beach is being shaped with special attention paid to enhancing the natural habitats of the local turtles; and the planting of mangrove trees.

All part of the master plan

The Jebel Ali Beach Development Project is part of a larger directive issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to carve out the world’s-best public beach network.

The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan called for an increase in the length of public beach space by a huge 400 per cent.

Dubai currently has eight public beaches – Al Mamzar Beach, Al Mamzar Corniche, Jumeirah 1, Jumeirah 2, Jumeirah 3, Umm Suqeim 1, Umm Suqeim 2, and Jebel Ali Beach. All of which have been awarded the Blue Flag status, a stamp of quality that looks at the cleanliness of the water, environmental management and public safety.

Last month we reported on the developments going on at beaches on the other end of the Emirate. Sandy swathes at Al Mamzar and Jumeirah 1 are getting their own grain-top glow up that will include a floating bridge.

Images: Provided