Sir Bani Yas is a natural island located 170 km (110 mi) southwest of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. A distance of 9 km (5.6 mi) off the coast from Jebel Dhanna, which serves as a crossing point for other islands such as Dalma. Sir Bani Yas is 17.5 km (10.9 mi) from north to south and 9 km (5.6 mi) from east to west, making it the largest natural island in the United Arab Emirates. Located just off the coast of the western region of Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas was originally the largest wildlife sanctuary in Arabia. More than 87 km2 (34 sq mi), the reserve was established in 1977 by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Thanks to decades of conservation work and investment in the environment, it is now home to thousands of large free-range animals and several million trees and plants. Bird sanctuary and wildlife sanctuary, Sir Bani Yas showcases nature with activities such as adventure safaris, kayaking, mountain biking, bow shooting, hiking, and boating.
The name Sir Bani Yas comes from the Bani Yas tribe, who first settled in Abu Dhabi. Sir Bani Yas is a salt rock made millions of years ago by natural forces.
The first settlers arrived a few thousand years ago. 36 archeological sites have been discovered throughout Sir Bani Yas, each offering a different understanding of the island’s history. One of the oldest sites of the Nestorian Christian monastery dating back to the year 600 AD. Each of these sites is now carefully covered, to protect it until it is compromised.
The island has many important historical sites, including the remains of the Late Stone Age and early Islamic frontiers. The island is also the only place on the pre-Muslim Christian site in the UAE. The 7th-century Christian Church opened to the public in mid-December 2010. It was discovered in 1992 and has been the focus of archeological research under a team led by Dr. Joseph Elders. Drs. Elders claim that the church was used by Nestorian Christians until about 750 AD.
Sir Bani Yas was first mentioned in European literature about 1590 when Venetian geologist Gasparo Balbi listed “Sirbeniast” as the island where pearls were found. It is described in detail in the 1820s and 1850s by British naval officers who surveyed groundwater in the Gulf.
In 1971 Sheikh Zared became the first president of the United Arab Emirates, choosing the island as a retreat. In 1977, he passed a law banning hunting on the island and began to develop it as a wildlife sanctuary in his “Greening of the Desert” program, designed to help make deserts more habitable for humans and provide habitat for many endangered wildlife species in Arabia. . Several million trees were planted and many species of animals were introduced to the island, including gazelle, oryx, llama, rhea, giraffe, and ostrich. When the sanctuary was established, Sheikh Zared wanted to share the results with the world; which is why it is open to guests over the weekend. These visitors soon became so popular that tours were usually booked over a year in advance.
In 2007, the Abu Dhabi government established the Desert Islands. This included Sir Bani Yas, the neighboring island of Dalma Island, and the six sand dunes surrounding the same area. Sir Bani Yas and the Dalma Islands have been developed and visited, but the six islands for discovery are currently closed to the public.
Wildlife and nature:
The island is home to a wide variety of species, from the Arabian oryx, the Somali ostrich, deer, and deer to the shy giraffes, dolphins, and sea turtles. Many of the more than 100 species of wild birds that can be found on the island are indigenous to the region. The island is home to about 30 species of mammals, including a variety of antelope and one of the world’s largest herds of endangered Arabian oryx. The Arabian oryx, a species of anaconda, was once extinct in the wild, but the island is home to a herd of more than 400 people roaming freely on the island.
Taking over half of Sir Bani Yas, the Arabian Wildlife Reserve offers a place for wildlife to roam freely while the island remains open to visitors. The Park is home to about 13,000 native animals on the Arabian Peninsula including the Arabian Oryx, the Sand Gazelle, and the Mountain Gazelle as well as the animals that roam freely and deer such as the Sudanese leopard and the striped wolf.
While research and conservation efforts are a major part of the park’s current development, many wildlife activities and sacrifices are already available to visitors. These include sports driving, nature trails, mountain biking, and outdoor dining.
Sir Bani Yas is home to many species of animals that the International Union for Conservation of Nature has identified as endangered or endangered, including sea turtles, sand dunes, Urial sheep, Barbary sheep, and Arabian tahr and oryx. Therefore, the island plays a key role in protecting these animals for future generations. More than 10,000 animals from Sir Bani Yas have been taken to wildlife sanctuaries such as the one in the Liwa desert, south of Abu Dhabi. The project is being implemented in partnership with the Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi.
Located near the lake, in the northwestern part of the island, there is a Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara with 64 rooms with six bedrooms. The resort also has three restaurants, a spa, a health club, a children’s club, and a business area.
TDIC (Tourism Development and Investment Company) announced in May 2014 that it was marketing new hotel rental opportunities on the island. Many cruise lines, especially MSC Cruises, use a small part of the island as a private island for long church hikes. This section contains beaches and numerous bar and dining areas.
The island is being developed in terms of its natural environment and fragile landscape. The island uses the region’s first wind turbine, with a production capacity of 850 kilowatts currently generating power to generate island buildings as well as regular supply from the national grid. The island uses solar energy to power part of the workers’ living quarters that are not currently connected to electricity. Abu Dhabi Renewable Energy Company Masdar has announced plans to increase its power output to 30 megawatts.
Flights are available at Sir Bani Yas Airport.