While Abu Dhabi is mostly known for its vast desert dunes, the landscape here goes way beyond that.
The Emirate has one of the most unique and diverse natural geographies in the world, including everything from majestic mountains to rocky wadis and nature reserves that brings life to our surroundings.
Established by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is the first area in Abu Dhabi designated for protection by law. Once a coastal salt flat (sabkha), it has now flourished into natural and man-made lakes that enable many of Abu Dhabi's species to thrive. In 2018, the reserve was placed on the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas making it the first site in the region to receive this recognition.
The reserve is known for its large population of Greater Flamingos - home to an average number of 4,000 flamingos during autumn and spring. It also hosts more than 250 species of birds, 37 plant species and a wide range of aquatic life. The Al Wathba Wetland Reserve features two self-guided walking trails (1.5 kilometres or 3 kilometres) for visitors to explore and a bird-watching hide to observe the flamingos. It’s the perfect spot for families and children to reconnect with nature and catch rare sightings of flamingos and preserved wildlife. Available on-site is an air-conditioned visitor’s centre and shaded areas along the walking trails.
The wetland reserve is kept as raw as possible and there are no cafes available – make sure you stay hydrated! Don’t forget to pack your re-usable bottles filled with water, a hat and sunscreens.
**Requirements for entry include: face masks, keeping a safe distance, negative covid-19 PCR test for a period not exceeding one month, with the exception of children under 12 years old.
Frequently asked questions about Al Wathba.
Where is Al Wathba Wetland Reserve?
Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is located in Al Wathba, almost a 30 minute drive from Abu Dhabi city centre.
What animals live in Al Wathba Wetland Reserve?
The reserve is famous for its abundant Greater Flamingo population, which can reach up to 4,000 during autumn and spring. The reserve also provides habitats for over 250 bird species, 37 plant species, and a diverse array of aquatic life.
What are the natural reserves in the UAE?
There are 8 natural reserves in the UAE, with Al Wathba Wetland Reserve being one of the most visited in the country.