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Persian Gulf UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman

Sir Bani Yas Island

An Arabian Wildlife Park

One of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Al Nahyan's (Founder of UAE in 1971) visionary achievements was to turn the 78 sq Km (30 sq miles) Sir Bani Yas island into a wildlife sanctuary, where hunting is banned. The lush vegetation is home to 16,000 animals of 25 species with roaming giraffes, cheetahs, oryx and gazelles. An island oasis, it's actually the crest of a salt dome created millions of years ago. The earliest evidence of human activity here dates to around 5,500BC. Discoveries of pottery and a large tomb from around 2,000 BC confirmed Bronze Age dwellers. The most significant archaeological discovery is the ruins of an ancient Christian monastery from the late 6th century AD (UAE’s only monastery).
From the 1600s to the 1900s, salt mining and pearl diving would have been the main occupations of the islanders, but by 1940 the natural water supply had dried up and the island’s villages were abandoned, with the tribes moving to the mainland. Desalination units on the mainline create the daily 10 million gallons of clean water that is piped 12 km to the island. Trees and other vegetation are watered twice a day for 15 minutes each time. There are three luxury accommodation options on the island, the main hotel, beach villas and safari villas. We stayed in a safari villa and enjoyed the gazelle and peacocks that roam infront of the villa.