I was forced to wake up as early as 4 in the morning on a Friday(!!!) for a butt-numbing 5-hour drive to (almost) the edge of Abu Dhabi. We went to Sir Bani Yas Island, one of the 200+ islands of the capital. Its landmass is 80 square kilometers, 50 sq km of which is a wildlife reserve that is home to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s collection of animals. It’s now obvious why we went there.
Anyway, at 5 AM, we left Dubai and arrived in Jebel Dhanna jetty at 9-ish. The only hotel in Sir Bani Yas Island, the Desert Islands Resort and Spa, has a small reception area in the terminal. We stayed in the cabin while waiting for the 10 AM boat schedule, and whilst there, we were offered dates and free coffee/tea. The receiving area is nice, a mix of modern and traditional architecture with chic accents.
To get to Sir Bani Yas Island, we rode a boat and sailed for almost 30 minutes. On our way we spotted a dolphin (read: wild!) jumping just a few meters away from our boat! Exciting!
We reached the island at 10:30, passed through their mint-scented terminal and hailed a bus that took us to the hotel. En route, we passed by small gazelles running freely on the sides of the road.
Desert Islands Resort and Spa is a five star hotel operated by Anantara. They offer various activities for their hotel guests and for non staying-guests like us, as well. We were welcomed by a hot towel and cold karkadeeh, then filled out a form and headed to the wildlife park.
The Arabian wildlife safari took an hour and a half to two and we were greeted by thousands of animals, mostly of Arabian origin—gazelles, oryx, ostrich, cheetah among others. Cool!
Our scheduled trip back to Jebel Dhanna is at 5 PM so we decided to take our time and check out the rest of the hotel. We hung out at the beach area, lay on the sundecks and rest but we left after a few minutes for we couldn’t bear the coldness. What more if we’re on beach attire?
Left Abu Dhabi the moment we docked on Jebel Dhanna and arrived in Dubai 10-ish, tired but with a satisfied trip.
Check out the rest of our Sir Bani Yas Island day trip: