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Revealed: Top 10 natural hotspots across the UAE

Revealed: Top 10 natural hotspots across the UAE

Outside the urban landscape of the city, are natural outposts that pay homage to the country’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems

Big Red. Al Badayer desert

The UAE is home to many architectural marvels and world records, that draw the attention of visitors away from the country’s more contemporary and natural vistas.

Outside the urban landscape of the city are some natural outposts that pay homage to the country’s aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Wadi Shawka

Wadi Shawka
Establishing itself as a hub for adventure sports in the UAE, Ras Al Khaimah has become a first choice for residents looking for challenging trails and other mountainous activities in the country.

Located in the Hajar Mountains, Wadi Shawka is home to unique trails and experiences that are easily accessible.

Residents can enjoy challenging hiking routes, camping, off-road routes, picnics, dips in the pool, and barbecues.

Liwa Oasis
Located towards the northern edge of the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter), the oasis extends for more than 100 kilometres and features the world’s tallest sand dunes.

Tel Moreeb is over 300 metres high and slopes at a 50-degree incline, which creates an exciting challenge for motorsport enthusiasts.

The oasis is also home to the UAE’s most significant tribe – the Bani Yas Tribe – who lived and farmed between the oasis and the coast depending on the pearling season.

Palm trees surround several ancient forts constructed within the oasis; one fort is totally isolated and surrounded by sand dunes, two within the oasis were built over 100 years ago, while the rest have been reconstructed in the 1980s. Visitors can plan a safari trip through a touring company to visit the oasis or seek out the Empty Quarter themselves.

Big Red. Al Badayer desert 2

Big Red, Al Badayer Desert
Known to be the largest sand dune in close proximity to the Sharjah emirate, Big Red is located near Al Badayer and home to a variety of motorsport activities familiar to residents and local tours.

The saffron-coloured desert dunes host plenty of rental services with quad bikes, dirt bikes, and buggies. What’s more: It is an ideal place for a day out with family or friends with great potential for a picnic spot to catch the evening sunset.

Umm Al Quwain Wetlands
Located near a bright blue lagoon and small islands, the Khor Al Beidah wetlands are known for their multiple species of birds – Great Knot and Crab Plover being the most rare of the lot.

The preserved natural wetland is publicly accessible, and can be explored by a boat or kayak through the water channels between the islands.

Mangroves National Park

Mangroves National Park
Constituting approximately 75 per cent of the total mangrove forest area in the UAE, the park is one of Abu Dhabi’s key ecological assets and a biodiversity hotspot with mangrove forests, salt marshes, mudflats, and algal communities.

The mangroves are home to a variety of crabs, herons, flamingos, fish, turtles, foxes, and a few marine mammals. Visitors can explore the area themselves or embark on a two-hour guided kayak tour.

Wasit Nature Reserve
Home to a diverse ecosystem along coastal sand dunes, salt flats, ponds, and a large lake, the reserve won the prestigious Aga Khan award in 2019 for transforming wasteland into a thriving ecosystem.

The reserve serves as a home for various small mammals, reptiles, insects, and over 200 bird species, and is home to the endangered Arabian Oryx – the national animal of the UAE.

The Sharjah reserve can be explored on foot or by golf cart by group visitors.

Suwaidi Pearls

Suwaidi Pearls
Nestled at the bottom of the Al Hajar mountain range in Ras Al Khaimah, the Suwaidi Pearls pearl farm first opened to the public in 2005.

Abdullah Al Suwaidi, the world’s first Arabian pearl farmer and the grandson of one of the last remaining pearl divers in the UAE, wanted to share the unique cultural heritage of the pearling industry and showcase the pearls of the natural lagoon.

Camel Farm

Camel Farm
Located in Al Lesaily, the farm opened in 2016 near a camel training centre with the purpose of hosting camels from the Sheikh Hamdan Heritage Centre.

The farm offers a range of activities for all age groups, from a guided tour within the farm to an hour-long came ride in the surrounding desert.

Visitors are required to make bookings, as limited spaces are available.

Snoopy Island
One of the best-hidden gems in the UAE is Snoopy Island, located on the coast of Fujairah.

The island is rich in marine life, which makes it a hotspot for snorkeling and scuba diving. The Sandy Beach Dive Centre has a team of highly qualified divers to help visitors.

Visitors can rent kayaks or paddle boards from the beach hut at the Sandy Beach Resort to experience marine life around the island. Aquatic sports enthusiasts can have their pick of water sports available at the resort from bingo to banana boat rides.

Moon Island Dubai
In the shape of a crescent moon, this island is located 70km from Dubai, and is surrounded by crystal clear water. Yacht being the only means to get to this island, several rental companies offer packages of the island, including various activities.

Visitors can enjoy water sports available by their charter, and also incorporate a barbecue for a full day at the island.

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