Worlds away from skyscrapers and the bustling city nightlife of Abu Dhabi, there is a serene place which will leave you with a sense of being renewed. This reserve of beauty and biodiversity is called Mangrove National Park. If you are trying to teach your little ones about the environment, a stroll in this humble park is a sure way to tick all those boxes. Protected by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), this stunning park makes up almost 75 per cent of the total mangrove forest area in the UAE. This biodiversity hotspot includes salt marshes, mudflats, and algal communities. Whether you are looking to visit with friends, as a family or even alone - you’ll walk away with a sense of realisation as you look upon the water channel, the dense trees, the wildlife and more - that nature truly is beautiful.
Imagine trees being able to protect the region against tidal surges, purify the surrounding water and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That’s the essential role mangroves play in Mother Nature and why this area is significant to the city and the region.
With stalks reaching up to 15 feet in height, the forest is home to a colourful community of crabs, turtles, herons, flamingos and fish living alongside larger creatures like foxes, dugongs and dolphins - what a wonder the Earth is!
If bird-watching is your passion, charge your phones or cameras because there are over 60 bird species you could stumble upon. From the greater flamingos to western reef herons, these creatures tend to pop in and out depending on the season so capturing them through your lens is a sure delight.
Stay in the Mangroves
Why escape from nature when you’re right there? Tuck into much-needed relaxation at the nearby Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel - a luxury retreat that is cosily nestled in the lush landscape. From sunset hues to stark views of the mangroves, there is plenty to appreciate at this Arabian-inspired getaway.
If an overnight isn’t possible, you can savour the quiet beauty of the mangroves from the Impressions lounge at the hotel. With a birds-eye view of the forest, sunsets here hit differently and are sure to capture your heart.
Venture into the Mangroves
To get closer to this wonder of nature, how about trekking into the water with some help? To protect the sensitivity of the waters, select from stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking or hopping on a private boat tour led by licensed and ecologically responsible tour operators such as Seahawk Water Sports, Noukhada and Al Mahara Diving.
Decide whether you would traverse the mangroves with a tour guide or on your own, perhaps for some extended quiet time in the lap of seclusion. Be careful though as it may be difficult to manoeuvre during some seasons so if you aren’t too sure, follow the guide. The best time to kayak is when there is a high tide, so check before venturing out.