• Tom Bushell

Kayaking // Why you should kayak the Abu Dhabi Mangroves // UAE

Updated: Nov 2, 2020

This kayaking experience is a mix of education, peacefulness and exploration…

  • Immerse yourself in the largest growth of mangroves in the UAE

  • Take a tour to be guided around the endless channels

  • Keep your cool when you kayak down ‘divorce channel’!

  • Over 60 species of wildlife reside within the mangroves

  • Prices as low as AED 60

  • Start & end at the Anantara Eastern Mangroves hotel, Abu Dhabi

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The Abu Dhabi Mangroves Park is a special place. Made even more special as they offer such a change in scenery within the United Arab Emirates.

In a land where desert is the dominant backdrop, to come across calm waters weaving in and out of over 7 square miles of mangroves is a sensory overload.


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Exploring the Abu Dhabi Mangroves

I headed out on a tour with Noukhada Adventure, who offer great discounts on their 8am and 4pm tours to explore this natural beauty.

Roger, my guide, led the way and I was only too happy to take it all in – both his knowledge of the area and the sudden shift from desert landscapes to the vegetation and shallow waters my eyes were witnessing.

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You can hire kayaks and head out on your own for a very good price, but it is a tour that gives you an even better understanding of what you are exploring.


The importance of the Abu Dhabi Mangroves

Mangroves are hugely important around the world. A tree or shrub that grows in shallow coastal waters, they are often referred to as the ‘green lungs’ of an area.

That’s because they naturally take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it within their routes. In turn, that helps reduce the affects of global warming and therefore rising sea levels.


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In Abu Dhabi, an island city and the capital of the UAE, rising sea levels are always a concern, which makes the mangroves a vital ingredient of the city’s future.

The Mangrove Park should be, and is, protected but it should also be celebrated which is why a kayak trip into the depths of the area is even more fulfilling.

Some of the views you witness from your kayak with the mangroves front and centre and the city skyline of Abu Dhabi the backdrop is a stunning sight, also a nice reminder that the UAE in fact does offer a hugely diverse spectrum of experiences.


Kayaking is the best way to explore the Abu Dhabi Mangroves


There a few different ways you can explore the mangroves in Abu Dhabi but for me kayaking is the best option.

You’ll be able to fully appreciate the peacefulness as only the sound of your paddle in the water will disturb the otherwise silence.

In an area where noise pollution is at a minimum, quietly moving along in your own kayak is a wonderful way of discovering the area.

Kayaks also prove useful when you begin to venture into the very tight waterways. You’ll be completely surrounded my mangroves on either side, and above, and it’s hugely fun as you try and navigate your way through.

One waterway actually has the nickname ‘divorce channel’ – I’m reliably told that’s because this particular channel is so tight couples end up arguing as they jostle for position and avoid capsizing!


75% of fish in the Arabian Gulf begin life within the Abu Dhabi Mangroves


Over 60 different species reside within the Abu Dhabi mangroves and if you take a guided tour you will discover many of them from crabs to birds.


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My guide, Roger was full of facts but he saved one of his best until late in the tour. He told me that around 75% of the fish that live in the Arabian Gulf began their life within the Abu Dhabi Mangroves.

It’s an astonishing fact, but another example of just how important the mangroves are to not only Abu Dhabi, but the region and on a larger scale, the world.

Extra Tips:

  • Visit Noukhada Adventure to book a tour here

  • They often have 50% off guided tours making this adventure excellent value for money.

  • Take a 4pm tour for the best light.

How to get to the Abu Dhabi Eastern Mangrove Park:

  • Head to the Anantara Eastern Mangrove Hotel in Abu Dhabi which is available on Google Maps.

  • Noukhara Adventure and other kayak tour operators are based at the north end of the hotel where you will also find F&B outlets.

  • Parking is available.

Covid-19

If you are driving from Dubai you will need to have a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of travel to present at the checkpoint at the Dubai/Abu Dhabi border.