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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for Things that Make Sir Bani Yas Island Special – Unravelling the secrets of the UAE
Joanna James Joanna James
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Things that Make Sir Bani Yas Island Special – Unravelling the secrets of the UAE

Sir Bani Yas Island is an amazing escape from the sprawling cities. The island has the largest wildlife reserve in the UAE and is a great place for activities such as horse riding and kayaking.


Luxury Resorts

The island boasts amazing hotels and resorts, all by Anantara which are known as some of the finest Abu Dhabi resorts; the highly recommended Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Sahel Villas is a prime example of the comfort the island has to offer. So even if you want a break from the chaos of the gulf cities you can escape to this exotic island without having to compromise on any of your comforts.
The best part about staying at one of these esteemed resorts is that the staff will more than gladly help arrange guided safaris through the wildlife park and experienced horse riders are allowed to go for a gallop in the nature reserve.


The history

This island was formed nearly 600 million years ago and elephant fossils have been found on here that date back as far as 6 million years ago but no elephants are found on Sir Bani Yas anymore sadly; though there are plenty of giraffes.


The only monastery in the UAE

The earliest evidence of human activity on the island can be traced back to about 5500BCE while there are the ruins of a monastery that dates back to the 6th century CE. This is, in fact, the only monastery in the region.


It is the centre of a bigger plan

In 1977 the first president of the UAE prohibited hunting and created a law that prohibited hunting and through his guidance, the island became the home of a special breeding program that began simply with a few Arabian Onyx which now numbers over 450 and have made their way off the endangered species list.


It is a sanctuary

The Arabian wildlife park takes up most of the island and boasts over 13,000 animals as its inhabitants. And a radius spanning 8km around the island has been declared a no-fishing zone providing sanctuary to even the local marine life.


The wildlife

At Sir Bani Yas Island you can catch a glimpse of the world's largest herd endangered antelope; the Arabian Onyx, the Northern Cheetah which is the fastest animal on earth and can run up to 122km/h. Golden Jackals and Caracals are known as the Desert Lynx; known best for its batman like ears are some of the other predators on the island. A large number of species including Hyenas, three varieties each of Gazelles and Deer, the Lesser Egyptian Jerboa and the Ethiopian Hedgehog, Giraffes and variety of reptiles snakes, geckos.


The Marine life

Among the many species found around the island, one very notable resident is the Hawksbill turtle. The coast of the island is also a great place to dive as two species of dolphins, dugongs can be seen in the surrounding waters.