Just outside Abu Dhabi city centre, the sprawling Mangrove National Park is a jewel in the UAE capital’s crown. An ideal place for families, bird watchers and photographers looking to escape the hustle of the city for a few hours, this beautiful and surprising park continues to be one of the emirate’s most important ecological assets, protected by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD). Mangrove National Park constitutes about 75 per cent of the total mangrove forest area in the UAE and is a biodiversity hotspot that includes mangrove forests, salt marshes, mudflats, and algal communities.
Most often found growing in the sea waters of tropical and sub-tropical coastal areas, the mangrove’s indigenous trees act as natural windbreakers, protecting the region against tidal surges and purifying surrounding water. Mangroves are also highly effective at removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, trapping it in flooded soils for millennia.
A real haven for nature lovers, the mangroves are home to a surprising variety of inhabitants, including crabs, herons, flamingos and fish. They also provide a habitat for turtles, foraging foxes and marine mammals like dugong and dolphin. One of the best ways to discover this peaceful, beautiful landscape is by kayaking, with the park offering myriad channels to venture down. Don’t forget your camera.