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Take a walk on the wild side and discover the wilderness of Sir Bani Yas Island, one of the eight desert islands of Al Dhafra. This dramatic landscape is home to stunning wildlife, a range of family-friendly adventure activities, five-star boutique hotels, luxury villas, purpose-built stables and historical sites.

The Arabian Wildlife Park makes up more than half of this incredible island. It's one of the region’s largest wildlife reserves home to more than 17,000 free-roaming animals, including Arabian oryx, gazelles, giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs. Guests can enjoy 4x4 nature and wildlife safaris in specially made vehicles accompanied by expert guides, with the island’s state-of-the-art stables offering a variety of equestrian activities and lessons for the whole family. If you’re looking for a customised tour to explore the island in more detail, Danat Resort Jebel Dhanna, a hotel on the Abu Dhabi mainland, can help you book one.

The ancient island is also home to the UAE's only discovered Christian monastery, which can be visited during a Desert Islands Resort and Spa Culture Tour. Thought to have been built around 600AD and abandoned in 750AD, the monastery was rediscovered during excavations in 1992.

Relaxing stays

With three Anantara ventures on the island, you can holiday in seclusion, engulfed in the heart of nature.

1. Stay in the lap of Arabian luxury at the five-star and family-friendly Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara, a true retreat for your mind, body and soul.

2. Enjoy beach-front seclusion within one- and two-bedroom villas on the eastern shores at Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort.

3. Soak in the breathtaking natural beauty by staying within one of the 30 villas at the private Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort.

How to get to Sir Bani Yas Island

1. A complimentary 15 to 20-minute water taxi transfer is available for Anantara guests only, to and from the island. The service operates 4-5 times daily and must be booked 24 hours in advance. It is best to confirm the exact timings with the hotel before arriving.

2. If you are arriving by car, take the E11 highway from Abu Dhabi or Dubai and drive in the direction of Tarif and Mirfa. After Al Ruwais, take Exit 113 for Sir Bani Yas Island. The Jebel Dhana Jetty for the Sir Bani Yas Island ferry is approximately two hours away from downtown Abu Dhabi. Park the car at the jetty, and hop into the complimentary speed boat.

3. You can use the city's bus transportation services and journey to the Sir Bani Yas Ferry Terminal.

4. If you are arriving by your own personal boat, you can dock at Royal Bay Moorings.

5. The island has its own airport so it is possible for you to hire a private air taxi service and fly in directly.