Sir Bani Yas is a natural island located 170 km (110 mi) southwest of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. More than half the island is made up of the Arabian Wildlife Park, one of region’s largest wildlife reserves, which is home to more than 10,000 free roaming animals including Arabian Oryx, gazelles and giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs.
With three Anantara Hotels Resorts & Spas’ retreats on the island, guests can enjoy five-star accommodation at Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara, beach front seclusion at Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort on the eastern shores, and marvel at the natural beauty of Sir Bani Yas Island at Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort.
Guests have a host of nature-based activities to choose from, including a brisk mountain bike ride, a kayaking expedition through peaceful mangrove lagoons or snorkeling in the clear waters to spot dugongs, sea turtles and tropical fish. The most popular excursion, however, is the early morning game drive. Piling into an open air jeep the tour explores the island’s game parks, where you can spot hundreds of sand gazelles and the UAE’s largest herd of endangered Arabian oryx.
How to get there
By car: The resort is located just 8km off the Abu Dhabi western coastline and 250km from Abu Dhabi International Airport. Should you wish to drive, follow the E11 highway directly from Abu Dhabi or Dubai in the direction of Tarif and Mirfa. Continue straight until you pass Tarif, Mirfa and Baynoona. Take the exit marked Al Ruwais (Exit 142) and continue until you pass Al Ruwais, after which follow signs to the right for Jebel Dhana and then for Sir Bani Yas Island. Take the second U-turn from Jebel Dhana road and take the first right turn. At the end of the road there will be a roundabout. Follow the Sir Bani Yas/Desert Islands sign that will lead you to Jebel Dhana jetty. Guests can park their car in a safe, covered area before boarding the water taxi for a ten-15 minute journey to Sir Bani Yas Island. This boat ride is complimentary for guests of Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara.
Rooms at Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa start at Dhs1,600 per night. Check the website for special summer discounts and packages www.desertislands.anantara.com (02 801 5400).