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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for A guide to Sir Bani Yas Island - A journey to the heart of the Middle Eastern wildlife preserve!
Joanna James Joanna James
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A guide to Sir Bani Yas Island - A journey to the heart of the Middle Eastern wildlife preserve!

Located 170 kilometres southwest of Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. is a popular island called the Sir Bani Yas. It is a mere nine kilometres distance away from Jabal Dhanna. Being the largest natural island in U.A.E., spanning 17.5 kilometres north to south; and around nine kilometres east to west, the island attracts large crowds, both locals and tourists. Here are some amazing facts about Sir Bani Yas Island, that you can witness first-hand during your visit to U.A.E.



The name comes from an early tribe known as the Bani Yas. The tribe used to live in Abu Dhabi initially. As the first settlers of this island came thousands of years before, there are some amazing archaeological features to explore this island. Around 36 sites displaying interesting archaeology have been found on the island, for now, the oldest being a monastery of the Nestorian Christians who lived back in 600 AD. Other historical sites you can witness includes some remnants from the Late Stone Age. For accommodation on the island, you can check out the Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort, one of the popular Abu Dhabi beach resorts, for a good experience and comfortable stay.


Wildlife and nature

In 1977, the president, Sheikh Zayed, started developing his wildlife preserve and called this project "Greening of the Desert". This programme' sole purpose was to make the desert more suited for human colonisation and make it a wildlife preserve for the endangered animals of Arabia. With this objective in mind, millions of trees were grown, and many species of animals introduced. From Somali ostrich, gazelles, Arabian oryx, giraffes, sea turtles, to dolphins, all can be viewed in this wildlife preserve. That's not it, more than 100 wild bird species are native to the place. Moreover, around thirty mammal species can be found here. Take the Arabian onyx, these were pretty much non-existent in the wilderness, but you'll be able to witness around 400 of these fascinating creatures running around on the island. Around half of the island allows these animals to wander freely without any restrictions. The island welcomes visitors from all over the world to come to see its wildlife magnificence.


Other activities

You can also try out some adventurous activities when on the island, which includes mounting biking, nature trails and game drives. You can explore the island's mangrove forests if you're up for some entertaining outdoor activities. If that isn't your thing, and you want something less active, then you can try your hand at archery or deep-sea fishing. Snorkelling and sailing are also available on the island, where you're promised a spectacular sight of sea turtles and dolphins. Opt for a lovely evening dining outdoors with your family. If you're travelling in December, during winter, horse riding is also available.



Although developments are taking place on the island, it always takes great measures to preserve its delicate ecosystem and nature. It was in the Sir Bani Yas Island that the first wind turbine of the region operated. It has the power to produce 850kW of energy which is the island's power supply providing for most facilities. The staff accommodation is powered by solar energy. A company that provides renewable energy, based in Abu Dhabi, has said they will take the power supply of the island to a whole new level and up its production to about 30 megawatts.