Al Wathba Wetland Reserve

What is it?

Established by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is the first area in the Emirate designated for protection by law and was declared a Ramsar site in 2013. Once a coastal salt flat (sabkha), it has now flourished into natural and man-made lakes that enable many of Abu Dhabi's species to thrive. In 2018, the reserve was placed on the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas making it the first site in the region to receive this recognition.

 

What is there to see/do?

The reserve is particularly known for its large population of Greater Flamingos – with as many as 4,000 living there during autumn and spring – but also hosts more than 250 species of birds, 37 plant species and a wide range of aquatic life. There are two self-guided walking trails (1.5 kms or 3 kms) for visitors to explore and a bird-watching hide to observe the flamingos.

 

When is it open?

Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 am to 2 pm. (As the flamingo breeding season commences, the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve has closed its doors for the summer months. We hope to see you again when it reopens for the winter season).

 

How much does it cost to get in? 

Free

 

How can I get there?

It is a 30-minute drive from Abu Dhabi city centre.

Take the E22 Abu Dhabi-Al Ain road and connect with the E30 Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Truck Road, then follow signs for the reserve.

 

From Abu Dhabi through Mussafah
From Abu Dhabi through Baniyas
From Dubai

 

Is it family-friendly?

Yes! It is a great place for families and children to connect with nature. It's rare to see such large numbers of flamingos, making this a particularly exciting trip for children. There is an air-conditioned visitor centre on-site and shaded areas along the walking trails but remember to stay hydrated and wear a hat and sunscreen. We have purposefully kept the reserve as raw as possible therefore there are no cafes available so make sure to bring your own re-usable bottle filled with water.