The UAE is a bustling nation built in a desert, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an abundance of natural beauty here, and the Al Jubail Mangroves Park is one of the best places to experience it.
Located in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, and the city with the most mangroves, Al Jubail Mangroves Park is a self-contained nature, educational and leisure facility where visitors can stroll through the mangroves on wooden walkways and experience a variety of marine life and avian species native to Abu Dhabi.
The walkways are the main attraction of the park, which is fairly low-key in terms of things to do.
This isn’t the place to come for excitement, but rather quiet reflection and learning. These walkways extend over one million square feet of area within the park.
The park aims to instill appreciation for the significance of mangrove ecosystems and habitats, helping people understand why their conservation is important as part of the protection of Abu Dhabi’s biodiversity.
Part of the reason why the mangroves are so important is that they are an area of natural parkland in an urban setting, that replenishes the oxygen in the air. They also provide underwater structure for marine animals that need to breed, hide from predators and find food.
Visitors can find out even more about the mangroves with a guided walking tour. It costs a little more than a general ticket at AED35, but means your group will be accompanied by a park ranger who fills you in on vital information about the area, it’s wildlife and environmental impact.
Animals within the park include several types of crabs, mollusc and migratory birds like the Western Reef heron as well as flamingoes. There are observation nets where visitors can lie in wait to spot various marine life.
These tours are usually conducted in groups and are best for ages 5 and above. The Walking Experience with Ranger at park also includes stops along the way at the viewing tower, Salt Collector and other places.
The viewing tower is a three-storey wooden structure in the middle of the park that provides sweeping views of the mangroves and distant Abu Dhabi skyline. Throughout the park, there are also seating areas where visitors can take a break and enjoy the peace of nature.
You’ll have to time your visit well to fully enjoy the experience though, because late afternoon and early evening can be quite busy, especially on the weekends, with hordes of families and their unruly children. The best time to come is in the mornings on a weekday.
The mangrove sanctuary is located on Al Jubail Island, near Yas Island and Saadiyat Island, just off the E12 highway that connects all three. It’s a 15 minute taxi ride from the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal, or 25 minutes from the Yas Mall and Yas Marina.
The park is open every day of the week from 8am to 7.30pm (last entry at 6pm). After your walk, which takes around an hour to two hours, you can grab a bite to eat from the Crane coffee shop at the Visitors Center. It offers a variety of snacks and full meals, as well as coffees, tea, milkshakes and even healthy smoothies and acai bowls.