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Abu Dhabi has significant mangrove forests around islands and sheltered coastal zones. While some new planting of mangrove trees were necessary to improve their condition, a great part of the 70 sq miles of mangrove forests spread along its 547 km shoreline is naturally occurring. The nutrient rich waters among the trees provide habitats for birds and nurseries for coastal fish species. Mangrove kayaking can be enjoyed at Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara, an Abu Dhabi resort on Yas Island.
Leaving the city behind and taking a kayaking trip deep into the mangroves, paddling along coastal channels and among low hanging branches introduces many to a different side of the emirate. Although the mangrove forests are close to the city, it is another world out here. The predominant noises are the dip of the paddle in the water, the call of birds and the soft sounds of fish moving about in the water.
Kayakers can take advantage of specially tailored trips to experience this exceptional natural environment. A trip to navigate the Eastern and Yas Island mangroves for instance takes about one to two hours. However the experience is dependent on tides. High tide allows kayakers to move in the shallows under the mangrove canopy but as the shore is inundated there is no shore life. Low tide allows access to the bigger channels and little or no access to the mangrove forest. However paddlers can observe life on the exposed shore. Avid birders will find both expeditions fascinating. There is also a moonlight option but this is understandably only for expert kayakers. Taking an eco mangrove tour is a great way to learn about the mangrove ecosystem and its wildlife. Experienced kayakers can take a three hour trip to Abu Dhabi Island and lunch on shore or circumnavigate it and camp overnight. Other kayaking experiences include catch and release fishing, a paddle along the Umm Al Quwain coastline known for its marine life including black tipped reef sharks, green turtles, flamingos and storks in the summer and dolphins and dugongs during the cooler months.
Chandrishan Williams is a travel writer who writes under the pen name, Caleb Falcon. He specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.