Abu Dhabi has a proud history of manmade islands that have never failed to impress. However the Sir Bani Yas Island located around 100 km Southwest of Abu Dhabi is a natural island spanning over 87 square kilometres.

History has it that the island was the first place of settlement even before Abu Dhabi and is named after the Bani Yas Tribe – the first inhabitants. There are close to thirty six archaeological sites including a pre-Islam Christian Monastery, around the island. Through the impactful initiative of Sheikh Zayed, the late founder of the UAE, this desert island has been made green and is home to many wild animals, is a bird sanctuary and has over a million trees, shrubs and plants that have all been introduced onto the island.
The ‘greening of the dessert’ campaign initiated by Sheikh Zayed has truly borne fruit today as Sir Bani Yas island is a fully green island, inhabited by the previously endangered Arabian Oryx, deer, gazelles, giraffes, birds, llama, ostrich, hyena, cheetahs, sea turtles and dolphins. Half of the island is an enclosed area that consists of the wildlife reserve where animals are free to wander although each living thing on this island has been introduced.

The unenclosed area too has a few animals such as gazelles and ostriches roaming freely to lend to the general ‘natural’ look that the island seeks to portray.

Adventure Safari’s form a great part of the island’s attraction to visitors who cannot fathom the wonder of this manmade green dessert. Mountain biking, kayaking, snorkelling, archery and hiking are some of the other entertainment options available for those visiting the island.

The Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa is a new addition to the area’s resort accommodation and boasts of the best beach frontage of the area. The resort is also an excellent spa resort Abu Dhabi and offers visitors the very best in terms of amenities, facilities, spectacular views and much more. If you are looking out for villas in Abu Dhabi during your holiday consider this option with its unique setting. The resort has also been constructed with sustainability in mind and its unique design and features perfectly complement the island.


Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.