Sir Bani Yas Island needs to be on any travellers bucket list. But what is there? This wildlife sanctuary off the coast of Abu Dhabi hosts gorgeous beaches, luxury hotels, incredible wildlife and a chance to camp out to take it all in!
Luxury hotels in the UAE are second to none, but not many are on a private island, surrounded by wildlife such as Giraffe’s and Cheetahs!
Here we dive deep into Sir Bani Yas Island, and why it’s an absolute must for anyone visiting Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
Where is Sir Bani Yas Island?
Sir Bani Yas island is set off the south coast of Abu Dhabi. By car, around 266km separate the Ferry crossing point and the centre of Abu Dhabi. The journey will take you around 2.5 hours by road.
What is on Sir Bani Yas Island?
The main things on Sir Bani Yas Island include hotels, the beach, wildlife and a monastery. Here we take an in depth look at all of them, starting with hotels.
Sir Bani Yas Island is home to three luxury Anantara Hotels. These are Desert Islands Resort and Spa, Al Sahel Villa Resort and Al Yamm Resort.
Hotels on Sir Bani Yas Island
Desert Islands Resort and Spa
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s guesthouse was converted into a family friendly hotel in 2008. Not a bad guest house hey!
This 5 star resort is a Travellers Choice winner and boasts an impressive 4.5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor. The outstanding facilities of infinity pool, water sports and gorgeous unspoilt beach is added to by their family friendly ethos. Make the most of the babysitting services and kids club that the hotel offers too.
Prices for a nights stay at this luxury hotel start at around £180 / 900AED per night and rises to around £400 / 2,000AED during peak times or seasons.
For more information check out their website.
Al Sahel Villa Resort
If you’re looking for a real taste of what Sir Bani Yas Island has to offer then we highly recommend staying in one of the Villas at Al Sahel Resort.
Start your day on the open terrace watching wildlife go by, take a dip in your private pool or partake in some of the many adventures that the resort offers. Whether you want to relax and take in the scenery or jump into a 4×4 for a safari adventure, this place has you covered. To add to the adventures you can also have a go at archery or go kayaking in the lagoons.
Prices start at £390 / 1,950AED per night but can rise as high as £600 / 3,000AED depending on season.
For more information visit the website here.
Al Yamm Resort
If it’s seclusion on a humongous open beach with crystal clear sea waters and wondering wildlife that you seek, then head for Al Yamm Resort.
This resort hosts 30 Barasti style villas on a pristine beach with Arabian gulf and mangrove views. Another travellers choice winner in 2020 and with great reviews on TripAdvisor, this is yet another great place to stay on Sir Bani Yas Island.
Step back just behind the villas and into the greenery and you’re sure to bump into a few Giraffes and other exotic wildlife. Breakfast on the beach is a standard start to the day here, lip smacking Italian lunch and then a sun-set horse ride to end the day are all possible.
Prices start at £385 / 1,925AED per night but can rise as high as £500 / 2,500AED depending on time of year.
For more information on Al Yamm Resort visit the site here.
Sir Bani Yas Island Beach
You can’t have a top class private island without good beaches right? Below are 3 of our favourite snaps of the beach at Sir Bani Yas Island.
What Animals Live on Sir Bani Yas Island
Thousands of free roaming animals now run free on Sir Bani Yas Island very much due to the hard conservation work which has taken place over the last 20 years.
Anantara Resorts have chipped in with their bit too, making sure that they plant 1 mangrove for each guest! There are approximately 16,000 animals on the island and over 2 million trees, all planted by hand!
This would not be possible without the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan who has transformed this once baron island into a blossoming nature reserve.
Talking of nature, below we take a look at what animals you can expect to see on your trip to Sir Bani Yas Island.
Arabian Mountain Gazelle
On top of the above, there are many other types and species of animal which you can see including Emus, many different types of bird and even Hyenas!
Things to do on Sir Bani Yas Island
Aside from the beach and exploring the open space, there are many things to do on Sir Bani Yas Island which Anantara hosts.
The number 1 thing to do at Sir Bani Yas Island as to be the 4×4 safari. Head off into the open space to spot any of the above mentioned animals and more!
Take a hike (depending on your level of fitness) amongst the thousands of mangroves, mountains, flor and fauna. Allow the tour guide to point out the sights amongst the rich tapestry of terrains from savannah to beach to mountains. What’s more you get to explore the ruins of a Bani Yas tribe which settled here 250 years ago.
Take part in the long cherished Arabian tradition of archery. Whether you’re a beginner or armature, you’re bound to have plenty of fun shooting targets from 30m.
Horse Back Riding
What better way to enjoy the natural surroundings than on horse back? Jump in the saddle and allow your guide to show you a new way of exploring the island.
If you’re like us and had no idea what land sailing is, check the photo above.
A new way of getting across land with wind power, and a really fun way to explore the island.
Deep sea fishing, pearl diving, PADI courses, kayaking and much more await you.
Cycling is a great way to see a lot in very little time. You’re going fast enough to see plenty in good time, but slow enough to enjoy it as you ride by.
READ: Cycling in Dubai – The Riders Ultimate Guide
Can You Camp on Sir Bani Yas Island?
Camping on Sir Bani Yas Island is hosted by the well known Hotel Brand Anantara. Famous for its water bungalows on The Palm Jumeirah, Anantara brings its guests a whole different experience on Sir Bani Yas Island.
Here, Anantara offers the “Full Moon Camping Experience”, giving you a chance to sleep under the stars, surrounded by nature.
The History of Sir Bani Yas Island
The name, Bani Yas, originates from the Bani Yas Tribe who first settled in Abu Dhabi. The island itself was created many thousands of years ago by natural occurrences. The island itself was purely a salt dome until it was taken over by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who has completely transformed the place, for the better.
A total of 36 archaeological discoveries have been made to date, with the most famous one being a Christian Monastery. Great care has been made to protect the Monastery and other discoveries, making historical sightseeing a great thing to do whilst on Sir Bani Yas Island.
How Much does a Vacation to Sir Bani Yas Island Cost?
The cost of a trip to Sir Bani Yas Island depends largely on the choice of accommodation.
We think that the perfect amount of time to spend on the island to be able to enjoy all it has to offer is 3 days. Below, we have put together a table to show the cost to stay at each hotel for this duration.
|Hotel||Average Cost Per Night||Average Cost Per 3 Night Stay|
|Desert Islands Resort & Spa||1,450AED||4,350AED|
|Al Sahel Villa Resort||2,475AED||7,425AED|
|Al Yamm Resort||2,212AED||6,637AED|
For us, a trip to Sir Bani Yas Island must be on everyone’s list. Whether you’re living in the UAE or visiting for a vacation.
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