The UAE has a plethora of attractions to offer residents and visitors like Legoland, Motiongate and Bollywood Park. If you are the type however, that prefers to soak in nature and local wildlife, there is another wonderful centre that is open and highly recommended.
It took us about 30 minutes to reach the centre in Sharjah from Dubai on a cool Saturday morning. We paid at the entrance gate, parked our car and jumped onto a buggy with driver who took us around the wildlife reserve pointing out flamingoes, herons and the Arabian Partridges as they plodded around the dry grass. We stopped when we came to an opening in the bush and four gazelles in full view.
A walk through the aviary followed the safari buggy ride and was educational for adults and children alike.
Extensive dunes, salty and fresh water lagoons, Wasit Wetlands is part of a historical chain of wetlands along the Gulf Coast.
Over 60 species of resident and migratory birds with unique viewing opportunities across large aviaries, the centre focuses on providing educational information for visitors
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT, ONCE YOU’RE THERE:
A 15 minute safari drive through the reserve with stops at various viewing points. Expect to see sand gazelles and a host of different bird species.
A walk through the aviary with an opportunity to see the birds up close. These include the stunning Goliath Heron with a wing span of 2 metres, the colourful Purple Swamphen and the Pied Avocet with a needle-like beak.
Tips when visiting
TIPS WHEN VISITING:
Carry a pair of binoculars to get a better view of the birds.
Go as early as you can as chances of viewing birds and gazelles is better in the cool of the morning.
Places to eat
HOW TO GET THERE:
From E 311 – Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road
Exit the E311 highway at the 3rd interchange, direction of Sharjah.
Upon joining the E88 – Al Dhaid Road, immediately take the first exit. This is the 2nd interchange, signposed for Tala’a and El Yash.
Take the first exit from the first roundabout following signs for Elyash and Mawafjah (Road 121 – Sabah Salem Al Sabah St)
Continue straight across 2 roundabouts until you reach the Wasit Wetland Centre
COSTS: AED 15 per adult. Children under 12 can visit for free.
Photos by Nigel Bailey
Andrea Bailey is a Dubai based travel writer. She is also a travel consultant with Travel Counsellors and specializes in cruises, family holidays and honey moons. When she’s not out and about discovering destinations and different cuisines of the world, you would probably find her busy with her 3 daughters and her other passions involving art and music.
As a mosaic artist, she has travelled to Italy and studied ancient Roman techniques of the art form and as a jazz flautist she has had the opportunity of performing across various Dubai venues.