Approximately 5,000 animals live on Sir Bani Yas Island, including one of the world´s largest herds of Arabian Oryx. This beautiful species of antelope is sadly now extinct in the wild, but Sir Bani Yas is home to a managed herd of over 400. Apparently the African giraffes that amble around were once the pets of the Sheikh given to him by his friends in Kenya. He was given four and he kept them in his garden - today they make up a herd of 40. All bar the giraffes are indigenous to Arabia.
Getting out to explore the island is what a stay here is all about. In truth there are just as good (and even better) hotels closer to home, but the island itself is unique. There are loads of activities available that get you out there – mountain biking, safari drives, horse riding (from the newly opened stables), hiking, sailing, snorkeling and – our choice – kayaking.
Andy from Scotland was our guide for our 11am kayaking adventure. From Scotland, you could hear how enthusiastic he was about his job (although 18 months on the island we suspect was turning him a bit stir crazy).
In a double kayak with JB at the back taking the strain (I’m not stupid) we drifted along the channel beside the mangroves. The water was so clear and the atmosphere so peaceful. Andy told us all about the mangroves and how over time they help create more land and encourage more birds and marine life to the area – they are clever little things.
This was a fabulous experience and we returned to the hotel at for a dip in the pool and lunch (breakfast was indeed an improvement on dinner, yet still, in my opinion, not what you would expect from a hotel of this caliber – perhaps it is the hotel’s isolated location that might explain the lack of freshness?).
At 2.30 – half an hour shy of 24hours at the hotel – we left on the bus for the 3pm ferry back to the mainland. We arrived home at 6.30pm – in time to put the girls to bed.
A truly memorable experience and definitely worth the drive. 9 out of 10 for Sir Bani Yas Island (one point lost in the kitchen).
About this blog...
I set up this blog to reveal what real life is like here in the UAE - the good and the bad. I'll chat about what I've been up to, Dubai news and developments, my thoughts about expat life here (and in general) and reports about my holidays and adventures in the region (travel is my bag after all).