United Arab Emirates

Nature Reserves in UAE

With the rapid development of Dubai as a major business centre in the Gulf, the Dubai Government has long recognised the need to preserve its unique and beautiful desert habitat, and the many threatened flora and fauna species. The United Arab Emirates is home to many protected reserves that are often overlooked by tourists.

1. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, Dubai

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is a wetland reserve in Dubai, renowned for attracting migratory birds in large numbers Three bird reserves are currently located in the sanctuary.

You don’t want to miss the flamingo show in the winter (the reserve is home to about 500). You can also spot grey herons, great egrets, reef herons, cormorants, black-winged stilts, sandpipers, osprey and more.

2. Wadi Wurayah, Fujairah

The country’s first protected mountain area and first national park is home to the rare Blandford fox, Gordon’s wildcat, hedgehogs, Caracal, Notably, Wadi Wurayah is one of the three conservation areas in the United Arab Emirates that is home to the Arabian tahr, a mountain goat native to this region.

Looking for an off-road destination? Wadi Wurayah is your place. Famous for its scenic waterfall in the Hajar Mountains.

3. Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

This resort is a protected haven for birds of Arabia which has contributed greatly to the habitat rehabilitation program in the area.

It has also reintroduced free-roaming herds of endangered species including oryz and other desert wildlife.

The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) is the UAE’s first national park. Carefully planned rehabilitation over the years has resulted in a protected environment for the last of the desert wildernesses. This unique reserve was created for the protection of those endangered species and for the conservation of the natural desert habitat and heritage.

4. Khor Kalba, Sharjah

Made up of mountains, woodlands, mangroves and beaches, Kalba Conservation Reserve is remarkable for its dramatic landscapes and the diversity of its ecosystems. Includes the Kalba Bird of Prey Centre, Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre and Al Hafiya Picnic Park.

It’s home to endangered species including the Egret and Woodland Kingfisher. Future projects include a sea turtle rehabilitation centre where visitors will be able to observe nesting turtles and hatchlings.

5. Wasit Wetland Center, Sharjah

The wetland is located in between the land and the sea, featuring dunes and salty lagoons.

Part of a much larger initiative by Sharjah’s Environment and Protected Areas Agency to clean up and rehabilitate this ancient chain of wetlands along the Persian Gulf coast, the Wasit Wetland Centre aims to supply information and education about this unique environment and to encourage its preservation.