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Al Wathba Wetland Natural Reserve is now open to the public
Here is an idea for doing something educational and fun with the kids over the weekend. A natural reserve has opened to the public since last 2014 and we can share all details and tips to make sure you enjoy this visit.
Upon arrival, head to the main office where you’ll be asked to sign up and get an information-filled free field guide about the Al Wathba wetland reserve.
A 1.5 kilometre (about 25 minutes walk) and a 3 kilometre walking trail (about 45 minutes long) have been built in a very natural style with wooden marks along the trails to allow visitors to discover the diverse ecosystems that exists in this reserve. We highly encourage you to opt for the 3 km ride as at half distance there is a bird watching hide that makes a welcome pause for the little ones and offers an incredible spectacle on the colony of the Greater flamingo. There are different shaded areas along the circuit to stop and rest for a while and read more about the species and biodiversity this eco-reserve contains. Worth the 30 minute drive from Abu Dhabi !
Along the walk, you’ll see several different habitats, including a fresh water lake, saline lakes, sand dunes and many kinds of shrubs, trees and dense and huge tall grass-like plant reaching a height of over 3 meters that provide a welcome shade along the walk here and there. We also spotted some Black-winged Stilts with their characteristic long, thin pink legs and the desert Hyacinth along the walking path.
According to the field guide, 35 species have been documented and there is a rich variety of wildlife including 320 species of invertebrates, 10 mammals, 16 reptiles and 260 species of birds.
Last practical advise, bring hats, comfortable walking shoes for kids, bottles of water and suncream to make the hiking trip with kids most enjoyable.
Open to the public by the Environmental Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) since late 2014, visiting hours and days are limited to preserve this ecologically sensitive area. Therefore the eco-reserve is open for the public on Thursdays and Saturdays from 8am to 2pm only. Regarding the accessibility, click here to get the google maps info about the physical entrance to the reserve.
Coming from Abu Dhabi, the easiest way to access the reserve is to come from the Abu Dhabi-Al Ain truck road. To access the site, there is a physical sign on the right on the truck highway coming from Al Ain towards Abu Dhabi. Once you take this exit, the last 1,5 km is a sandy path that is easily accessible without a 4 wheel drive car (4×4) and lead you to the entrance of the reserve.
The total area is of 5 km² with a water body that extends 1.5 km in length and 0.5km in width.
Al Wathba Wetland Reserve
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