The top ecotourism destinations in the UAE to visit in 2022

THE UAE | Due to the sparkle and glamour of the cosmopolitan cities shown on the pages of glossy ads, ecotourism, biodiversity, and environment protection may not be your first thoughts while touring the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This is set to change, though, with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) introducing The UAE National Ecotourism Project throughout all seven Emirates.

Although the desert is obviously a severe environment, it is also home to a wide variety of plants and animals that can be found on land, in the air, and even underwater.

A number of the 43 protected areas in the UAE, which cover 14% of the nation, are accessible to the general public. All of them offer tourists unique experiences and, perhaps more crucially, the chance to be surrounded by natural elements. Many of them are free to visit.

So, what can you expect to discover if you go a little further into the UAE’s spirit?

All ages are welcome to take part in the release of endangered Hawksbill turtles, meander through the flamingos’ preferred habitat, travel by eco-donut or kayak through wetlands, snorkel in the ocean, or visit a UNESCO oasis and sand dunes. All of these outdoor activities are best planned for the cooler months.

The Falcon Hospital, The Green Planet, and Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo are best left for the summer when the hot weather makes going outside difficult.

The Hawksbill Turtle, a marine species that is included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, is native to the United Arab Emirates.

To maintain the highest level of safety during nesting season, special attention is paid to places where turtles are known to return and extra safeguards, awareness, and education are given top importance.

The Jebel Ali Marine Sanctuary, a 2,002 h area recognised as a RAMSAR Wetlands of International Importance, is one such protected area that is accessible to the general public.

The Ghantoot Marine Reserve is a part of the region. The President of the Emirates Marine Environmental Group (EMEG), Major Ali Saqr Sultan Al Suwaidi, and his staff keep an eye on nesting turtles and their developing eggs while giving everyone the chance to connect for free and participate in the actual release of the turtle hatchlings.

The brief speech Major Ali Saqr Sultan Al Suwaidi makes upon entering the sanctuary demonstrates his commitment for protecting the natural environment and teaching young people about its worth and relevance.

Before being led to the shore soon before sundown to aid in the hatchlings’ safe release at the water’s edge, visitors are then encouraged to help weigh, measure, and record the vital signs of the young animals.


With a viewing area of the rehabilitated turtles situated within Madinat Jumeirah, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project offers another another opportunity to observe sea turtles up close. As of May 2017, the organisation had successfully released 1300 turtles that had been under their care.


Abu Dhabi

The Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) is dedicated to providing assessable access to conservation areas so that as many people as possible may take advantage of the natural beauties, and Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is the ideal illustration of this dedication.

An other RAMSAR Wetland of International Importance is the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve. More than 250 different bird, insect, and tiny reptile species may be found there, but the 4,000 migratory flamingos that congregate there each year in the shallow waters are perhaps the main attraction.

The wetland attracts the most birds from the fall to the spring, and a viewing area has been built on the edge of the river to provide the ideal shelter for sitting with a picnic and a pair of binoculars and admiring the elegant birds.

Al Wathba Wetland Reserve visits start with a brief but educational lecture that gives visitors the chance to learn a little bit more about the diverse wetland environment that covers a five square kilometre region.

After taking part in the educational session, visitors are given a reserve field guide to use while they wander through the 1.5km or 3km circle at their own speed. Small buggies are provided on site, which is perfect for people who find it difficult to walk for extended periods of time; nonetheless, the region is easily accessible via the designated routes.

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