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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for Some Things You Might Not Know About Sir Bani Yas – An Exotic Wildlife Park
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Some Things You Might Not Know About Sir Bani Yas – An Exotic Wildlife Park

Established as a wildlife park in 1971, this gorgeous desert island is home to beautiful Arabian animals, as well as, rustic surroundings. Enjoy fun on land and sea as you explore Sir Bani Yas Island.


It's a Natural Island

The natural island of Sir Bani Yas, unlike Yas Island, is located to the south of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, at a distance of 170kms. It is only 9kms from Jebel Dhanna, which acts as a crossing point to other islands in the surrounding region. The island measures a total of 17.5kms north to the south and just 9kms from the east to west; it is, therefore, the UAE's largest 'natural' island.


Origins Of Wildlife Reserve

Sir Bani Yas Island, first gained prominence as a wildlife reserve, way back in 1971; it was deemed a wildlife sanctuary for the almost extinct, as well as, indigenous animals of the UAE by the late ruler Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan; who in 1977 passed a law prohibiting the killing of any animals on the island. Today the park is home to thousands of free roaming animals, which many tourists staying at Sir Bani Yas Island hotels enjoy sighting. In fact, the adventurous 4x4 jeep safaris into the rugged terrains of the island are popular amongst guests at Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort.


The Island Promises Adventures Galore

Thanks to the tireless conservation efforts, of both flora and fauna, carried out on Sir Bani Yas Island, the place is now a thriving nature reserve, and beautiful desert island, waiting to be explored. Visitors to the island, or those staying at Sir Bani Yas Island hotels, are given plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors with the likes of archery, safaris, snorkelling, mountain biking and hiking on offer.


Named After the First Tribes of the UAE

The island is named after the first Bedouin tribes to arrive in the UAE, the Bani Yas. The island is the crest of a salt dome which was created due to ecological forces, millions of year ago. The first settlers set foot on the land, many thousand years ago, and today the place is home to thirty six, archaeological sites.


Archaeological Sites of Sir Bani Yas

Amongst the many archaeological sites of Sir Bani Yas, the oldest is a Nestorian Christian Monastery; dating back to 600 AD. Each site offers a marvellous insight into the islands past, and are carefully preserved and protected until deemed safe enough to be added, as part of the island experience for visitors.


First Reference to the Island

The island was first mentioned in 1590, in European Literature. The mention was made by Gasparo Balbi, a Venetian Jeweller, who wrote about Sirbeniast, an island around which beautiful pearls were often discovered. It was later mentioned in the logs of navy officers, surveying the Arabian Gulf, around the 1820's and 1850's.