Sir Bani Yas Island
A nature-based destination alive with wildlife and adventure activities, a 5-star boutique hotel, luxury villas, purpose-built stables and historical sites, Sir Bani Yas Island is one of the eight which make up the Desert Islands in Al Dhafra. Recently awarded the ‘World’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination’ at the 2014 World Travel Awards in Anguila, more than half the island is made up of the Arabian Wildlife Park, one of region’s largest wildlife reserves, which is home to more than 10,000 free roaming animals including Arabian Oryx, gazelles and giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs. Guests can take a 4×4 Nature & Wildlife Drive of the park in specially made vehicles accompanied by expert guides. A mere 380 km drive from Dubai and just 8 km offshore from
Abu Dhabi’s western region, it is one of the largest islands in UAE. More than a half of its total land is dedicated to wild life conservation. The journey of this World’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination award-winning Island started in 1971 when the father of the nation Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan declared Sir Bani Island a nature reserve. His visionary greening of the desert program transformed this barren Island to an Oasis for endangered Arabian wildlife.
The island is also home to UAE’s only discovered Christian monastery, which can be visited during a Desert Islands Resort & Spa Culture Tour. Believed to have been built around 600 AD, and abandoned in 750 AD, the monastery was initially discovered during excavations in 1992.