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Sir Bani Yas Island – ‘Out of Africa’ in the UAE

Have you ever wondered what lies on all the islands off the coast of Abu-Dhabi? Of these many islands, the one that has recently attracted most attention is Sir Bani Yas Island.  Thanks to decades of conservation work and ecological investment, it is now home to thousands of large, free-roaming animals and several million trees and plants. A bird sanctuary as well as a wildlife reserve, Sir Bani Yas Island showcases nature through activities such as adventure safaris, kayaking, mountain biking, archery, hiking and snorkeling as well as luxury accommodation thanks to the three resorts operated by Anantara.

Known as the home of Arabia’s largest wildlife reserve, more than half of Sir Bani Yas Island is made up of the Arabian Wildlife Park. The island shelters more than 13,000 free roaming animals including Arabian Oryx, gazelles and giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs.

This exotic destination is famed with both tourists and locals as a perfect escape from the urban life of the main cities in the UAE, namely Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Due to its remote, off-shore location, the best way to travel to this exotic allure of Arabia is via seaplane with Seawings, as only with a seaplane can one connect such a remote destination so easily by avoiding a lengthy drive (approx 5 hours from Dubai).  Seawings offers the flexibility of customizing the route thanks to departures from Dubai and Abu Dhabi and choosing the preferred travel time.

With the ease of the luxury seaplane journey, you will take off from the waters of Dubai Creek or Yas Marina and fly onto the desert island that introduces you to the dozens of unique Arabian species while the Anantara resorts provide luxurious accommodation options in the wilderness.

The seaplane flight to Sir Bani Yas Island would not be just a means of transport, but an experience in itself. As you fly only 1,500ft above sea level, you will be exposed to the scenic views of the Arabian shores and will be fascinated by the clear blue waters surrounding the desert islands.  As you touch down on the waters beside Sir Bani Yas Island, the smooth water landing will be another highlight and an unforgettable experience of this journey.  An island such as this one, with such unique beauty is fully taken in if one has a bird’s eye view from the top.

Once you prize yourself out of the comfort of the seaplane journey, there are a plethora of daytime attractions and activities within the island. The safari nature of Sir Bani Yas Island showcases through the wildlife, breathtaking adventures, fine dining and spas and luxurious resorts.

Things to do on Sir Bani Yas Island

Wildlife: With more than 13,000 animals making it their home, Sir Bani Yas Island provides an authentic environment for wild animals and birds to roam freely. You can enjoy the guided 4×4 Nature and Wildlife Drive and explore Arabia’s greatest nature reserve, a haven for both indigenous and endangered mammals.

Adventure:  This is the island of adventures and activities. If you are up for adventures, you will never get bored on this island as there are many things to do such as land sailing, mountain biking, horse riding and nature walks. The ‘History and Cultural tour’ visits a unique early Christian site which dates back to the late 6th century.

Relaxation & Fine Dinings: If you’re looking for pure relaxation, unwind by the pool of one of the resorts or relax on one of the beaches that the island offers.  Furthermore, delight yourself to the wealthy culinary adventures that the Anantara resorts on Sir Bani Yas Island offer.  Eight fine dining options are available on the island offerings tastes of the Mediterranean, Africa, and the Middle East.

Accommodation: Sir Bani Yas Island provides an effortless escape into nature, one that imbues the magic of the wild and the charm of a desert island. The island provides you with Anantara’s luxurious resorts of Desert Islands, Al Yamm Villa, and Al Sahel Villa.

Formerly the private estate of the UAE’s founder Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Desert Islands by Anantara exposes you to the magnificent Arabic environment yet modern hotel that consist of a wildlife conservation area, riding stables and a water sports center.

The Al Yamm Villa Resort offers a Mediterranean environment that overlooks the lush green mangroves and offers you privacy and luxury in the same time.

Finally, the Al Sahel Villa Resort situated on a grassy oasis within the Arabian Wildlife Park offers an African and Arabian environment. The resort will provide you with an authentic yet private and relaxing unforgettable stay.

Whether you are on Sir Bani Yas Island for a day, a weekend, or a full-week, you will get the opportunity to experience the pristine splendor of this natural island.  This island provides an effortless escape to the nature, wildlife, and desert which is best accompanied by a luxurious and comfortable seaplane flight from either Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

But there is only so much that can be said about Sir Bani Yas Island, the rest has to be experienced.  There is a lot of truth in the old quote that states ‘travel is as much about the journey as the destination’ and this is certainly true for this unique island.

 

Florina Zhubi

Dec 12, 2016

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