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Updated by Joanna James on Feb 11, 2018
Headline for 4 Activities to Try Out on Sir Bani Yas Island - A Desert Island like no other: Exploring Sir Bani Yas Island
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Joanna James Joanna James
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4 Activities to Try Out on Sir Bani Yas Island - A Desert Island like no other: Exploring Sir Bani Yas Island

If uninhibited relaxation, uncompromising luxury and exhilarating adventure are what you seek, a desert retreat at Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE is exactly what you need!

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A safari at Arabian National Park

Sir Bani Yas Island is the largest natural island in the UAE and was established as a private nature reserve in the early 1970s by former UAE ruler HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to conserve the population of endangered animals in the region. The island is home to more than 30 species of free-roaming animals from gazelles and Arabian oryx to cheetahs, giraffes and ostriches. With a serene oasis of wildlife that virtually beckons to be explored, travellers to the region such as those residing at the Al Yamm Resort by Anantara are tempted to escape the hubbub of the city with authentic wildlife safaris. Located on a vast expanse of 1400 hectares of land, the park assists with the breeding & rehabilitation of endangered species. Traversing the varied landscape at the Arabian National Park with a cool drink in hand, completely immersed in the tranquillity of nature makes for an unforgettable experience!

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Cultural tours

Expert guides conduct carefully curated tours of the island, imparting their expansive knowledge of the island's history with them. Guests are informed of the locations Sheikh Zayed spent much of his time in along with his heritage and his immense contribution to the island. The east of Sir Bani Yas Island is where archaeological excavations continue to take place. A noteworthy place of significance on the island is the Nestorian Christian Monastery that dates back to late 6th century AD and was discovered nearly two decades ago. Visitors to the monastery can experience yet another piece of the decadent tapestry that UAE's fascinating history comprises of. Treasures continue to be unearthed on the island and this is what makes the site a significant focal point for discerning history buffs, internationally. Cultural tours also include the serving of distinct Arabian refreshments such as coffee and dates where travellers have imbibed the traditions and etiquette of drinking fresh coffee, Arab-style.

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Recreational activities

On Sir Bani Yas Island, activities are aplenty. With so much to do, see and experience, you will want for nothing. Resorts in the vicinity offer guests mountain biking, kayaking, snorkelling and guided nature walk. The aforementioned are a favourite amongst thrill seekers. Kayaking through the island's mesmerising mangrove-filled waters or snorkelling through the Discover Islands' protected waters rife with marine life are pastimes of choice to visitors to the island. Taking centre stage, however, in the realm of recreation on the island, is the traditional Arabic sport of archery. Expert guides offer guests comprehensive training and equipment for amateur and experienced archers alike, helping them perfect their technique.

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Horse-riding

Equestrian enthusiasts are in for a treat with the island's state-of-the-art stables where they can delve into the Arabian Peninsula's rich equestrian culture. Many breeds from around the world including expertly trained horses that fit varying levels of experience are on offer. From history lessons on the horses on the island including the heritage of Arabian horses that call the UAE home to horse-riding lessons for amateurs and exploring the stables, an enlightening experience in store. Travellers can take riding lessons in a stunning outdoor paddock or choose from various riding packages that are tailored to fit their riding specifications. With rides through the Arabian Wildlife Park and along the shoreline, journeying around the island on horseback is the most idyllic way to see its best attractions up, close and personal.