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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Experience Green Abu Dhabi – Four places in the emirate you can visit for free or AED 35


Dubai: If you want to explore a different side of Abu Dhabi during Eid al-Adha, then you must visit one of the locations listed by the Sheikh Zayed Network of Protected Areas, where you’ll find some of the rarest wildlife and plant species . world.

The Sheikh Zayed protected area network consists of 19 protected areas, but only four are open to the public. The rest “remains closed due to its vulnerability and is only open to researchers with visiting permits”, according to the Environment Authority of Abu Dhabi (EAD).

1. Al Wathba Fossil Dune Reserve

Alvasba Fossil Dunes Reserve

Image source: WAM

The fossilized sand dunes located just 45 minutes from Abu Dhabi city are estimated to be over 4 million years old. The Al Wathba Fossil Dunes Reserve consists of more than 1,700 fossil dunes, which are fluid shapes formed by the interaction between wind and sediment supply, covering an area of ​​7 square kilometers, the largest concentration of fossil sand dunes in a single area One of the protected areas is located in the emirate.

The area is the first protected fossil dune site in the UAE.

How to Explore the Fossil Dunes

As you enter the site, you’ll find a visitor center with viewing branches that allow visitors to look out over the formations of Al Wathba.

If you want to get a little closer, there is a fenced trail into the reserve. A series of signposts will guide you through a seven-kilometre well-lit trail, which is also passable at night.

Additionally, food and beverage trucks are stationed at various locations to serve visitors, and there are several shaded seating areas as well.

The Al Wathba Fossil Dunes are accessible via two inter-emirate roads – E30 (Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Qah Road) or E11 (Sheikh Zayed Road).

The closest landmark to this location is Al Dhafra Air Force Base. It is recommended to use a navigation app to find the exact location.On your app, enter the plus code – 5HCH+M6 Abu Dhabi to reach the area

How do I get into this area?

4WD is recommended to enter the area and park outside. Entry to the site is free, however you must register your details at the entrance.

2. Jebel Hafeet National Park

Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Located in Al Ain is the highest peak in Abu Dhabi and the second highest point in the UAE.

According to the EAD, more than 500 ancient burials have been discovered at the foot of Jabal Hafit, dating back 5,000 years, marking the start of the Bronze Age in the UAE.

It’s also home to some of the world’s most threatened wildlife, such as the Blandford Fox, the Brandt’s Hedgehog, the Arabian Tahr and the UAE’s only concentration of Egyptian vultures.

How to Explore Mount Hafeet

The area is accessible by car, with roads winding around the hills all the way to the summit.

Follow the signs from Al Ain to Jebel Hafeet. When you reach Malaqit Street (E40), take the Hafeet Street exit. It takes 20 to 30 minutes to reach the summit.

3. Eastern Mangroves National Park

Eastern Mangroves National Park

Image Credit: Eastern Mangroves National Park

The Eastern Mangrove National Park accounts for almost 75% of the total mangrove area in the UAE. This biodiversity hotspot includes salt marshes, mudflats and algal blooms.

How to Explore Eastern Mangroves National Park

The national park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but the mangroves are easier to see during the day.

You can take a walk along the trail, where you can see mangroves with a meandering waterway in the middle, and maybe even spot a greater flamingo along with hundreds of other bird and plant species.

If you want to take a closer look, the area also offers kayaking lessons through private operators for between Dh160 and Dh200.

4. Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center

Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center

Image Credit: Supplied

The Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center (SZDLC), located within Al Ain Zoo, uses interactive exhibits to educate you about the emirate’s rich biodiversity. The center has five interactive galleries:

1. Sheikh Zayed Salute Hall
2. The Abu Dhabi desert over time
3. Living World in Abu Dhabi
4. Desert People
5. Looking to the future

Tours of the center are led by trained Emirati cultural guides.


The main highway connecting the zoo is the E66 road. From Al Ain, take road E66, which leads directly to the zoo, then follow signs to the zoo car park. You can go to the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center from the main reception.

ticket price

After purchasing your ticket, you can enter the Al Ain Zoo, including the Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre.

Dirham 31 for adults
20 dirhams Suitable for children from 3 to 12 years old.
Children under three years old enter free.

To book tickets in advance, you can call the Al Ain Zoo Contact Center – 800966.
Time: 9am to 5.30pm


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