Travel guide to Sir Bani Yas Island

Sir Bani Yas Island, one of the only pre-Islamic Christian sites to be found in the UAE, is rich in history and culture. It is a perfect weekend getaway desert retreat and an offbeat location few people of UAE are aware of.  The island houses numerous species of animals like cheetahs, oryx, giraffes, and 13,000 creatures and is a window for those seeking to get personal with nature.

The island is located 8kms off the western coast of Abu Dhabi, very close to the Saudi Arabian border. Sir Bani Yas Island can be reached by car, boat, or plane. When travelling via car, one can follow the E11 highway directly from Abu Dhabi or Dubai as the roads are clearly marked. Boating or cruising to the Island also forms a part of the adventure and your personal boat could be docked at Royal Bay Moorings. Sir Bani Yas Island tour package operators like Seawings operate charter flights from Dubai Creek to the Island which is a great way of getting a bird’s eye view of Dubai.

Since the island contains the ruins of ancient Christian Nestorian monasteries, the largest Christian site in Eastern Arabia, it is a rich cultural heritage site as well. It is a quiet animal preserve which houses three world-class luxury resorts, namely, The Desert Islands Resort, Al Yamm Villa Resort, and Al Sahel Villa Resort which are beautifully decorated with rich colours and have warm interiors displaying the country’s opulent Arabic spirit. The Desert Islands Resort has its own spa and pool. The Resort pool offers a fantastic view of the beach and a surreal sunset. Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort is an oasis of serenity, which is enhanced by the sight of the free-roaming animals and the majestic flamingos that fly over the mangrove lagoon. If you want to take guided treks to the nearby salt-domed hilltops, and enjoy picaresque evenings at the Savannah Grill, Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort is the perfect place to stay.

The entire island is populated with freely roaming animals with boundaries at places to keep the Cheetahs away. Among the adrenaline pumping activities, Kayaking, snorkelling, and mountain biking are popular. For experienced swimmers, Kayaking is available in the open seas while for the inexperienced ones, it is available through mangroves. Horse riding, archery, and deep sea fishing are more relaxing adventures. Guided nature walks and open safari jeep drive around the place are usually the ideal ways of exploring the island.

The island is also popular for the breeding programs and greening the desert initiative. For mountain biking riders, set out to explore the on and off-road trails through the Arabian Wildlife Park, beaches, and lagoons. There are other spots to explore as well including the archaeological ruins and the wind turbines located on strategic points in the island. Date palms are mindfully planted all over the island in the shape of Dallah, an Arabic coffee pot which epitomises hospitality.

The Island is a treat for amateur and professional photographers alike. However, if one is not willing to step out and simply chooses to stay indoors to enjoy the comfort of cozy lightings and mahogany tables or maybe just enjoy a good drink and cigar, the Desert Island is equipped with a well-equipped library and is a welcoming reader’s retreat.

So, when doing your Sir Yas Bani Island booking, don’t forget to book your private flight charter with Seawings. You can also book charter flights to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Rash Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Ajman, and Oman.

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