The Top 5 Must-Visit Nature Reserves in the UAE

by Rasha El Salah
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nature reserves in the uae sea grass

Nature reserves are fascinating and meaningful tourist spots to visit. Although such areas are beautiful places and well worth visiting, these reserves also play an important role in every community. Nature reserves protect the biodiversity of a particular place, which helps keep the ecosystem in balance. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has its fair share of important nature reserves. These must-visit nature reserves in the UAE are spread throughout the different emirates, which helps keep the ecosystem of the country in balance.

A healthy biodiversity is crucial in maintaining the natural food chain of all wildlife. If there is any disruption in this sequence, there will be an imbalance in the ecosystem. Additionally, nature reserves play a significant role in keeping the climate stable. They also enable specialists to study the existing flora and fauna. With the information they gather, they can improve and preserve the local wildlife.


Nature Reserves in the United Arab Emirates

Since locals and tourists can also visit these natural areas, everyone has the chance to satisfy their curiosity and learn more about the indigenous wildlife.Whether you are a resident or tourist in the UAE, below are the five nature reserves that you have to take the time to visit and explore:

1.  Al Wathba Wetland Reserve

One of the most incredible natural attractions the UAE can be found on the edge of Bani Yas, Abu Dhabi: Al Wathba Wetland Reserve.

Al Wathba Wetland Reserve has the right mixture of fresh and salty waters since it has several natural and artificial lakes. It also has a wide desert, making it an exceptionally diverse area, ideal for the habitation of various species.

Flamingos are the main attraction of the wetland reserve. Hundreds roost and breed in the area, thereby increasing their numbers each year. Because of this, the place is also known as Flamingo City.

Flamingos, however, are not the only winged creatures you will see here. The reserve is home to around 250 avian species, which include different types of ducks, black-winged stilts, Grey-headed swamphen, and Western Marsh Harriers.

You can find various species of reptiles and small mammals, including rabbits and hedgehogs inside the reserve, as well.

al wathba wetland reserves in the uae

Al Wathba Wetland Reserve

2. Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve

The Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve, which is the UAE’s first biosphere reserve, is also found in Abu Dhabi.

The reserve is home to different types of habitats, which include mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs, seashores, and rocky ridges.

The diverse ecosystem of the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve has the important role of serving as a natural shelter and feeding ground for the vulnerable dugongs.

The marine area also serves as nursery and breeding grounds for around 70 species of fish. It is also a foraging haunt and nesting site for Hawksbill Sea and green turtles and a number of migratory birds.

It is the perfect place for people who want to know more about the land, sea, and air creatures in the UAE.

nature reserves in the uae sea grass

Seagrasses at the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve

3. Wasit Nature Reserve

Located in Sharjah, the area was originally a waste-water dump. It was rehabilitated in 2005 and is now one of the must-visit and most important nature reserves in the UAE.

The Wasit Nature Reserve is a wetland which boasts of dunes, lagoons, and a lake. The bodies of water are supplied by underground channels coming from the Hatta Mountain and Al Falaj areas.

The reserve is home to more than 200 species of indigenous and migratory birds and wetland creatures. This number varies at different times of the year, depending on the migration patterns of the avian species.

Some of the fascinating birds you will find here are marbled ducks, northern bald ibises, grey herons, swamphen, and flamingos.

The Wasit Nature Reserve is the perfect place for birdwatchers and nature-lovers.

wasit nature reserves in the uae

Wasit Nature Reserve

4.  Al Zorah Nature Reserve

Ajman is another emirate which has one of the most beautiful nature reserves in the UAE: Al Zorah Nature Reserve.

This reserve has eye-catching mangroves, stunning lagoons, and gorgeous beaches. These natural features serve as homes to a fascinating mix of bird and marine life.

Around 60 species of birds call the reserve their home. These include egrets, herons, and pink flamingos.

The beaches, on the other hand, boast a variety of must-see corals, mollusks, and other fascinating aquatic species.

Al Zorah Nature Reserve is also an excellent spot for various water sports and activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, and swimming.

al-zorah nature reserves in the uae

Al Zorah Nature Reserve

5. Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Dubai has a nature reserve as well which you should visit: the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, which is the UAE’s first national park.

Covering about 225 square kilometers of desert, the reserve is home to numerous species of mammals, which include the sand fox, caracal, sand gazelle, Brandt’s hedgehog, and the Arabian Oryx.

The reserve also has a diverse assortment of reptiles, insects, and spiders. These include the Arabian horned viper, Jayakars sand boa, desert monitor, Leptiens spiny-tailed lizard, widow spider, jumping spider, black scorpion, and giant long-horned beetle.

You will see plenty of birds and interesting plants in the conservation area.

There are several activities that are worth trying here such as falconry, archery, horse and camel-riding, sandboarding, and desert biking.


The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

The United Arab Emirates: Modern Infrastructure as Well as a Commitment to Nature

Although the UAE is known for its modern, over-the-top infrastructures, the country also has several incredible nature reserves. Make sure you explore these places to get closer to nature.

For More:

-Photos courtesy of Emirates Nature-WWF, Connect With Nature.

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