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The wait is over… the Jubail Mangrove Park just opened its doors to the public and it is stunning!
We have all been seeing photos in newspapers and on social media, but for those who haven’t been there yet, the first question is: where is this park?
Thankfully, you can easily find it on Google Maps if you simply type ‘Jubail Mangrove Park’. It is an island located in between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island that we cross when driving on the Yas island to the Saadiyat Island highway. The park – which is way closer to Saadiyat than Yas – is accessible from both directions of the highway (same when you leave), which is very convenient.
We visited the park soon after the official opening and were there early in the morning (at 8.30 am, when the park opens) to take advantage of the chilly temperature and make sure the mangrove boardwalk wouldn’t be too crowded ( a wise decision as the walk looked much busier later in the afternoon).
Upon arrival, you just have to park (the parking is quite huge actually) and the entrance is complimentary at the moment. There were guards at the entrance of the mangrove walk who gave us useful information such as the different strolls available.
Three loops between 1km to 2 km each
Whether you are in a hurry or have young kids or elderly people who struggle with long walks, there is something for everyone with a short loop of 1km, a medium one of 1.6 km and the longest one measures 2 km. Strollers and wheelchairs are allowed on the boardwalk while bikes are forbidden.
It is just amazing to walk so close to the mangroves, watching the baby trees and grown-up bushes, while observing birds chanting and fish in the water. The boardwalk is large enough for two people to cross one another, there are many zig-zags that add to the experience as you wonder where the walk will take you next. We just loved the minimalist sustainable and natural looking infrastructure, from the wooden bridge, urban furniture, direction signs and outdoor lighting to the cord railing on each side of the boardwalk.
Visitors can also learn a lot about the mangroves while walking as there are different information panels along the way, focusing on:
– the mangrove ecosystem, that comprises salt-tolerant plants and numerous marine species, at the floating platform
– the power of the sea (tidal fluctuations), especially the factors influencing seawater movement while understanding the role of mangroves in protecting the shorelines, at the beach platform
– the salinity concentration of seawater in the Arabian golf and how the mangroves actually adapt to this harsh environment, at the salt collectors
– the fauna and flora near the viewing tower
– the complex root system of the mangroves and its important role in the coastal ecosystem.
The itinerary also provides different booths and resting stops along the way, with a playful floating platform on the first loop, a viewing tower on the second, an area dedicated to the roots of mangroves, and the salt collectors on the long loop.
We spotted many different resting areas with shelter providing shade and benches to pause and take time to admire the surrounding nature.
The 360-degree view from the top of the viewing tower
Views over the mangrove forest and water channels are just magical from the top of the viewing tower and we were actually quite surprised to see how discreet the boardwalks are within the park as you hardly see them from above, totally hidden below in between the overgrown mangrove trees.
We cannot wait to head back there to watch the sunset fall over the mangroves, discover the illuminated boardwalk or visit during one of these upcoming foggy mornings! Plus, depending on the time you visit, you may have either a low or high-tide. The good news is the Mangrove Park website mentions the daily timing of the tides allowing you to anticipate and schedule your visit accordingly (https://park.jubailisland.ae/).
End your walk stopping for a drink by the cafe located at the visitor center
Views are just fantastic from the visitor’s centre-terrace to enjoy a well-deserved beverage once your walk is over. Crane Specialty Coffee offers an indoor cafe in the visitor center, but we would rather sit outdoors, at the terrace overlooking the mangroves. Lastly, we also noticed a food truck beside the parking area run by Crane café.
daily between 8.30 am and 6.30 pm
Free of charge for now
The park rules:
- This park has access to open water bodies and there are no lifeguards on duty.
- The Park is monitored by CCTV 24 hours a day.
- Swimming or diving into the water is not permitted.
- No pets allowed.
- No Littering.
- No smoking allowed.
- No food or beverages allowed on the boardwalk.
- Please do not lean or climb over the railing.
- Toys, Skating, the use of scooters and/or bicycles are not permitted in the park.
- Respectful clothing must be considered.
- All parcels and bags are subject to a security check.
- Items displayed, plants, wildlife must not be touched and/or removed.
- Please do not sit or place children on the railing.
- Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times during the visit.
- Park representatives reserve the right to remove any persons contravening the above or due to unruly or inappropriate behavior.
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