Visit Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is more than a city destination. Apart from shimmering architecture and a rich cultural heritage, the capital of the UAE boasts surprising nature and wildlife, so it’s an ideal choice for lovers of nature and outdoor adventure. These can be enjoyed through experiences catering to all activity levels, from walking and mountain-biking to scuba diving, free diving, 4×4 safaris, horse rides and much more.


If your client just has a couple hours to explore…

Looking for a quick nature stop between fine dining and destination-hopping? Options near Abu Dhabi hotels include the zoo and falcon hospital, and adventures on or in the ocean. The Emirates Park Zoo is one of the top places to visit with family. Admire hundreds of animals − including a 661lbs-plus Siberian bear and a majestic pair of white tigers – while staying cool, thanks to a park-wide misting system. To learn more about the UAE’s national bird, visit the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, a 45-minute drive from the city. This veterinary and research facility is an award-winning tourism center where you can see the majestic birds swoop through a free-flight aviary.


One last stop before you head to the desert, is the National Aquarium Abu Dhabi, which is the largest aquarium in the Middle East. Located in Al Qana visitors can experience swimming with aquatic wildlife featuring over 46,000 animals from more than 300 unique species.


Love submerging yourself in the mysterious depths beneath the sea? Snorkel or dive in Abu Dhabi’s warm waters all year round. Explore wrecks and reefs, and marvel at the emirate’s abundant marine life, including spotted eagle rays, stingrays and more. Prefer your head above water? Being an archipelago, Abu Dhabi is ideal for kayaking or Stand-Up Paddleboardingsailing or jet skiing, whether you’re a beginner or pro.


Plan an Overnight at the Desert


There are many reasons Sir Bani Yas Island, the largest island off the coast of Abu Dhabi, scooped the World’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination award in 2014 and 2018. The Middle East’s only dedicated cruiseliner beach stopover destination has Late Stone Age and Bronze Age roots, and is also a wildlife haven. The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan turned what was his once-private island into a nature reserve in 1977. Thanks to on-going conservation, the Arabian Wildlife Park is full of lush plant life, birds and free-roaming animals − such as the Arabian Oryx, Somali ostrich, gazelle and giraffes. At this bird sanctuary and wildlife reserve, experience nature through activities like 4×4 safaris, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and snorkelling. After all that action, enjoy luxurious accommodation at one of three five-star Anantara retreats on the island.



If the magical desert calls to your nature-loving soul, head to the Rub’ al Khali, also known as the Empty Quarter. The epic landscapes here have formed the backdrop to many a series and film, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The desert’s harsh, hypnotic terrain is home to hardy creatures and plants that have long fascinated scientists and explorers. The Ghaf tree, for instance, grows roots as long as 98 feet to reach waters beneath the sand, while its branches are where Desert Eagle Owls roost and breed. Desert animals include the Sand Cat, Rupell’s Fox, Sand Gazelle and Arabian Oryx.


The best way to experience the desert is from a comfortable base that arranges tours. For example, the magnificent Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara offers falconry and Saluki shows. Falconry, the traditional Emirati sport passed down to generations for 4,000 years, was once an important form of hunting in a resource-scarce land. Guided by their Bedouin (desert nomad) handlers, falcons hunted together with Salukis − one of the oldest known breeds of domesticated dog, which has been a hunting and guard dog for the desert people of the Arabian Peninsula for 5,000 years.



Another destination that offers a desert safari is the Al Ain Zoo, set in Abu Dhabi’s lush garden city of Al Ain, about one and a half hours away from the capital. Magnificently positioned against the imposing backdrop of Jebel Hafit, Abu Dhabi’s tallest peak, the Al Ain Safari is situated in an incredible 536-acre park carefully crafted out of the desert environment. It’s home to a range of African animals – including lions, white rhinos, zebra and wildebeest − and around 2,500 plants. There’s a range of safari options and packages to choose from, with Emirati tour guides who have extensive knowledge of the local fauna and flora. End your day with a Dinner With the Lions, enjoying a sumptuous meal on the edge of the park’s lion territory. If you’d like to stay nearby, consider Jebel Hafit Desert Park. It offers camping for all budgets, from DIY to glamping under the stars.


When your clients visit Abu Dhabi, they can rest assured that they are visiting a destination with principles that cares to leave a positive footprint and actively encourages its people and stakeholders to practice responsible tourism.