Living in the Middle East means summer is really too hot to even dream of venturing far outside.
The solution? Wait ’till winter to head out into the great outdoors.
We’d been waiting on the weather to cool down and for most of our Abu Dhabi friends to be in the same place at the same time to head out into the mangroves; this weekend was finally the time!
We arrived at the Eastern Mangroves at 2.30pm, ready for our 3pm trip. Following our crash course on kayaking we piled in and set off – the current was minimal and though 1.5 hours of kayaking is never easy on the body, anyone with some degree of fitness would manage absolutely fine.
As we had a group of 10, the company we booked through very kindly dropped the price of our kayaking tour from 150ead each to 130aed so be sure to ask for a discount if you’re able to get a number of people together. For that price, all gear is supplied, along with a bottle of water and guide.
The iconic Abu Dhabi skyline and clear blue sky provided the perfect backdrop to the mangroves. The water was a little on the chilly side at the start of February but it didn’t slow us down as the sunshine was just glorious.
There have been a number of reports of whale sharks around Abu Dhabi in the last few months and though we had our fingers firmly crossed that we might finally see one, it wasn’t to be our day. Our guide advised us that on a good day they sometimes see dolphins and dugongs, along with needlefish and the standard crabs and local birds. The lack of wildlife was somewhat disappointing but not particularly surprising (if I were a bird, I’m not sure I’d choose the UAE as my home base either – it gets far too hot!). We were, however, lucky to see a flock of flamingos across the channel and a couple of little grey herons, plus some jellyfish and crabs.
All in all, we had a fabulous afternoon out on the kayaks. It was awesome getting out and into the sun whilst the weather’s still nice and was a great change from what often ends up being our weekend routine over here – a trip to Yas Mall.
If you’re in Abu Dhab for a decent length of time, I’d definitely consider a trip out into the mangroves… Without doubt, it’s a great way to see Abu Dhabi from a different angle.
Next time our fingers are crossed for a dugong or whaleshark!
PS: Whilst you’re at the mangroves, be sure to stop by one of the many restaurants for lunch; it’s a beautiful spot!