Seas the day…
Living in our gleaming towers and villa complexes, it’s easy to forget that the emirate of Abu Dhabi actually involves fascinating geography. There’s the desert of course, and the mountains, the mangroves, the beaches, the forests and then there’s the fact that the coastal fringe is actually made up of over 200 individual islands. Most of Abu Dhabi – the city, actually sits on its own little group of islands, connected to the mainland by a series of bridges.
Which means one of the best ways to explore this exciting emirate is to strap on the life jacket and do a little nauti. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy Abu Dhabi’s high seas adventures.
Island Hopping Tours with Sea Safari
This nautical tour operator outfit invites you to live your best Disney pirate life. Board one of their modern vessels for a six-hour tour of Abu Dhabi’s island landscape, complete with barbecue (although you must bring your own food). It’s dry land with scenic stops at enchanting sea-side locations like Salt Island and Bahrani Island. Their boats are equipped with music systems for slum stereo backing and soft drinks are included in the package price of Dhs 450 per person (private charters of up to eight are available for Dhs 2,500 or Dhs 3,000 for 15). seasafari.ae
Diving trips with Abu Dhabi Marine
Crowing crustacean, Sebastian the Crab once famously sang “Honey is better where it’s wetter” and given the range of underwater adventures offered by Abu Dhabi Marine, we might actually be d agree with this assessment. You can dive on trips suitable for all levels, from snorkeling getaways (from Dhs 150) and scuba diving for beginners (Dhs 350, from 10 years old) to more challenging dives and advanced PADI certified diving courses (from 1,500 Dhs). Proof if it were needed, that water sports are “warmer under water”.
Abu Dhabi Marina, next to the Emirates Palace, Break Water, Tel. : (800) 4386, abudhabimarine.ae
Guided city tours with Yellow Boats
They have been offering nautical tours of Abu Dhabi for 10 years, with insightful sightings and local knowledge from the inner circle. Yellow Boats Abu Dhabi has two new boats, both of which can accommodate up to 20 people at a time. Adult prices for these mini-cruises with a view start at 239 Dhs for the 60-minute visit to the Corniche. Sightseeing highlights include Emirates Palace, the Corniche, Fisherman’s Village, Lulu Island and Heritage Village. Other loops are available including a Yas trip and
Tours depart from Emirates Palace Marina and Yas Island Marina, book through theyellowboats-abudhabi.com
Dalma Island Day Trip
Dalma Island can be reached via ferry from Sir Baniyas Ferry Terminal, there is a Dhs 20 ticket to walk or you can bring your car for Dhs 100. Once you reach the island, you will feel a world away from any city. It’s a very quiet island, so don’t expect a lot of ice lattes or multiplex cinemas – instead find the raw allure of nature, laid bare with enchanting untouched landscapes and a large population of nesting Socotra cormorants.
Camping on a desert island with Seahawk
When Seahawk says they “know a place”, it’s worth listening to. They regularly organize kayak and SUP trips through the mangroves, around Louvre Abu Dhabi and Reem Island. These experiences take place during the day as well as, for a different perspective on things, tours depart at dusk hours. But every once in a while they do offer mangrove camping opportunities — usually focused on special activities like their recent Perseid meteor shower viewing party.
To reserve your spot on the trip, you’ll need to message SeaHawk in their Insta DMs @seahawk.ae.
I went fishing with Sea Safari
We’ve already named Sea Safari above for their pedigree in crafting island-hopping itineraries, but it’s worth mentioning that they also indulge in fishing. Whether you’re fishing for a casual trip through the shallows or looking for something deeper and meaningful, they have charters available from Dhs 1,800 that include fishing tackle, bait and tackle. refreshments. seasafari.ae
Standing on futuristic gadgets with Iron Waves
Iron Waves offers jet ski and flyboard experiences from 150 Dhs for 15 minutes. They have four locations in Abu Dhabi, including Fairmont Bab al Bahr; Radisson Blu; Al Raha beach and Venetian village. ironwavesuae.ae
Kayaking through wild and verdant nature at Jubail Mangrove Park
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The Jubail Mangrove Park offers visitors the opportunity to explore one of the most fascinating natural habitats in this region. Found nestled on a quiet outcrop on the island of Jubail, Abu Dhabi, the Mangrove Park has become an instant hit with locals, residents and tourists. It has a 2.3 km winding promenade and is close to town. There are many ways to explore this fascinating ecosystem, including meditation sessions on the boardwalk (120 Dhs) led by rangers, guided walks (from 50 Dhs), kayak tours (100 Dhs) and by dragon boat (from 80 Dhs) in the mangroves.
Jubail Mangrove Park, Al Jubail Island (next to Saadiyat Island), Abu Dhabi, 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily, 15 Dhs for adult, 10 Dhs. Tel: (05) 63032423.park.jubailisland.ae
Dolphin Watching on Saadiyat Island
We all know that Abu Dhabi offers some pretty unique adventures. This is a city with more records to its credit than Paul McCartney after all, and usually that rarity of experience is something to celebrate, enjoying these native gems makes us feel special, privileged. But there are encounters that we would like not to see so rare. The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) has calculated that the coastal waters of Abu Dhabi are home to around 700 humpback dolphins, which unfortunately makes it potentially the largest community of these endangered creatures. in the world. Saadiyat is probably one of your best chances of seeing these magnificent animals in the wild, as their favorite feeding grounds stretch along the northern beaches and up to the mangroves of Jubail. Grab a pair of binoculars and head to one of the many hotels along this waterfront (including Jumeirah in Saadiyat and Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island) and pick up a day pass. Or there’s the beach club, Soul for an affordable flop-and-dropping hotel alternative.
If you are visiting Abu Dhabi from outside the emirate, you will need a negative Covid test result obtained within 48 hours of entry. For more rules, including those on additional testing for lengths of stay of four days or more, see our guide.
Images: supplied/What’s On archives