Last week Out & About took a trip to the Eastern Mangroves National Park in Abu Dhabi with Noukhada Adventure Company. The mangroves are located just off of the E48 highway, and though the launch point was a little tricky to find, upon arrival we were greeted warmly by the Noukhada team. Once kitted out with the kayaking essentials of life vests and paddles, and after a brief safety demonstration, we were off!
Safety is the primary goal of this trip and you don’t need to have kayaked before to participate – any concerns regarding the capsizing of boats is quickly dispelled as you get used to the kayak and how to steer it with the paddle. The tour itself lasts for approximately two hours, and within minutes you feel as though you are no longer in the city and have truly gotten back to nature – the only hint of civilization are they skyscrapers of Reem Island strutting up above the horizon.
The tour starts out in the open sea, before moving into the channels of the mangroves. At this point you can start to feel the workout you are getting from the paddles as you are paddling against the current. The trip really is an ecologists dream as you get to see an abundance of nature including herons, egrets and black crabs – skirting along the shoreline you can get quite close to the animals, so long as you remain quiet.
The tour is very serene as you drift through the mangroves, taking in the sights and sounds of the ecosystem. Things get interesting as you head into the small channels between the mangroves and it becomes like a maze as you navigate through the tightly woven trees. You will pass through pools where the water is so clear that you can see the mangrove roots coming up through the sediment at the bottom of the sea. As the waterways become tighter, you need to be aware of low hanging branches and be ready to turn your kayak through some very tight spaces – but this is all part of the fun, and the most enjoyable part of the trip.
On the return journey we stopped at fox beach, which is a sandy strip of land within the mangroves. There is time here to disembark the kayaks for a swim or to explore the island on foot – all of this makes for the perfect end to a wonderful tour.
The whole experience is very professional and the guides are very knowledgeable about the mangroves and the wildlife that resides within them. By the end of the tour you really feel like you have had a good workout, but it is well worth it to see an alternative side to Abu Dhabi.
Noukhada resembles a company with a great ethos surrounding ecology and sustainability and I would really recommend this trip for people looking to get away from it all for a few hours and experience something completely unique in the UAE.
- LOCATION: Off Sheik Zayed Bin Sultan Street, Abu Dhabi (GPS 24.444248, 54.445442)
- PRICE: 150 AED (adults), 110 AED (children). Or buy one get one free if using Entertainer vouchers.
- SUITABLE FOR FAMILIES: Yes – double kayaks are perfect for people with young children I took my three year old daughter and she loved the experience of not only paddling the kayak, but being out on the water, The guides really looked out for her and ensured that she had a great time.
All views within this blog are our own & unless otherwise stated, all photos are © Out & About UAE