Top 3 Relaxing Places in the UAE to Connect with Nature
Are you looking forward to a holiday break? Do both your mind and body crave to be out and about? Is Mother Nature calling you to come and bond with her?
When you want to take a breather and relax, there are a number of amazing places in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to unwind and just commune with the natural environment. From the lush botanical garden in Sharjah to the wonderful wadis of Ras Al Khaimah, there is simply a wealth of choices for fun outdoor activities.
Connect with Nature
Because of today’s busy lifestyles, most people are sorely in need of rest. Cosmopolitan cities in the UAE like Abu Dhabi and Dubai, as well as their neighboring emirates, are all buzzing with activity. This is with good cause, too, as there is a wide selection of things to do, places to see, and cuisines to savor.
A good day spent out is on a Desert Safari Dubai. It is a preferred sightseeing choice for all visitors to Dubai.
If the daily grind is already taking its toll on you, or you want to prevent burnout from happening, it is best to take the time to stop and smell the roses (or in this case, the fresh air that’s available in the numerous al fresco spots to be found in the UAE).
Whether you prefer to go to nearby locations within the city or to far-flung locations, going around the seven emirates is not a problem. Aside from having efficient air and seaports, you can also travel by land using various forms of transportation. There are buses, taxis, and trains – the Metro, the Monorail, and the Tram – in certain cities.
If you’re not taking your own car, a more convenient option is to just rent a vehicle with a driver. This allows you to take full advantage of the ride and rest or nap while en route to your destination, allowing you to wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day ahead.
Here are some of the top spots around the UAE that you should consider when planning a day or two off from the dire demands of everyday life:
1. Al Saadiyat Island
Lying just a stone’s throw away from the capital of the UAE (Abu Dhabi), this low-lying island is currently being developed to become a major cultural and tourism hub in the UAE. Aside from this, it is also home to a variety of flora and fauna.
One of the notable sights on Al Saadiyat island are herds of graceful gazelles that freely wander around. This holds great significance in Abu Dhabi, especially on the cultural and historical front, as the word “Dhabi” means “gazelle” in Arabic. Abu Dhabi, therefore, means “father of the gazelles.”
Another treat for nature lovers would be the natural inhabitants of the island – the Hawksbill turtles. The nine-kilometre stretch of Saadiyat Beach is a nesting ground for these gentle reptiles. Thankfully, these endangered creatures are now protected under the Hawksbill Turtle Conservation Program that the master developer hatched in early 2010. Today, there are about 650 turtle eggs that have successfully hatched on the island.
2. Al Zorah Nature Reserve
Located in the smallest emirate in the UAE, Ajman, Al Zorah Nature Reserve is composed of a mangrove forest and a tidal creek. It boasts a wealth of around 60 avian species. Among its native residents are a number of egrets, herons, and the Greater Flamingoes.
The mangrove species seen here is the Avicennia marina, famously known as the Grey Mangrove. It is called such because of its grey color caused by their habitat, which is mostly composed of saltwater.
Aside from these natural wonders, the reserve is also a popular hangout for people who love to kayak or windsurf. Others who just want to chill can also lounge around in the café while gazing out at the wild wonders of Al Zorah.
3. Islamic Botanical Garden
This flourishing garden is nestled at the heart of Sharjah Desert Park in the Emirate of Sharjah. Sharjah is the third largest city in the UAE, with a similar ranking when it comes to population.
The Islamic Botanical Garden offers respite from this frenetic lifestyle through its green spaces boasting about a hundred different plant species. This is the first garden in the Middle East to feature plants mentioned in the Holy Qur’an and the divinatory Sunnah.
It also gives you an opportunity to meditate, reflect, or simply be while strolling in its verdant gardens, ornamental pools, and paved pathways. You can also treat your taste buds to flavorful Arabic cuisine in their cafe that use ingredients from the gardens. If you want to learn more about the plants, the garden also has a library packed with books on the subject.
Connect with Yourself
It is easy to lose yourself in the frenzy of daily life. That is why you need to make a conscious effort to disconnect from the trappings of modernity and technology to connect with nature and, ultimately, yourself.
Strolling through gardens and green spaces, kayaking through mangroves, or dipping your toes into turquoise beach waters can all be wonderful opportunities for you to let loose and let go.
Rasha El Saleh is the Conservation Education and Outreach Coordinator in the education team of Emirates Nature-WWF working on its programme, Connect with Nature. She leads the outreach and youth empowerment aspect in growing the Connect with Nature community within the UAE and providing opportunities for youth to lead in this community, in addition to supporting partnerships with vendors supporting and promoting active aspects of the programme.
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