SIR BANI YAS ISLAND
1 MARCH 2016
Earlier on this year we celebrated our wedding anniversary and it seems to have become a ritual to some take time out explore relax and enjoy some place we've yet to discover within the region.This year was no different, we packed up the car a cooler full of champagne and hit the road to make our home on Sir Bani Yas Island for a couple of days or as I like to say Africa without actually going to Africa.
If your not familiar it is a natural island about 2 and a half hours drive west of Abu Dhabi. Once completely desolate land (void of even trees), has since been cultivated and turned it into a conservation project housing 2.5 million trees and 13,000 animals. Since 2008 the island has been open to the public to stay, enjoy and appreciate the natural surrounds whilst also funding the ongoing project.
AL SAHEL VILLA RESORT
There are 3 types of accommodation on the Island each with it's own restaurant we opted for a Villas rather than a room. I must mentioned however you are free to roam or eat anywhere on the Island and check out the other resort as each has a theme and are distinctly different
The villas are filled with African Treasures like jewellery, artwork, and tapestries. You might squeal in delight at the sight of a Canopy bed and old styled tin bath with an outside courtyard. The back deck with private pool looks out directly to the reserve - winning!!!
South African inspired - Savannah serves up a hearty meat menu as you would expect and once a week a bonfire buffet all cooked on a real life bonfire and grill. Breakfast buffet is also available but you'll probably be distracted as the animals eat along side you metres away from your table
Whilst there is more than enough activities on the island to ensure your kept busy you'd be a fool not to succumb to letting time whittle away by doing nothing at all. Island life after all is about moving at a slower pace. You can sit, lie or even yogi poolside beachside spaside or deckside to enjoy the sounds of nature, the blue waters of the Arabian gulf or the animals that graze in their natural habitat just metres away from your back deck.
SAFARI & WILDLIFE
If there is one activity to do whilst on the Island its the Safari it comes highly recommended by the hotel and by us too. We spotted an abundance of animals including giraffes, gazelles, cheetahs, oryx, and deer to name a few. But just cruising the plains perched onto top of cliffs and spying the stunning panoramas by sunset was really something else... all in a pop top safari truck with open windows and the wind in our hair.
90 minutes / 250DHS Adults 125DHS Child
HOW TO GET THERE
DRIVE - 2 hours 30 mins from Abu Dhabi to Ruwais from HERE (the mainland) Anantara provide a complimentary Boat Shuttle to the Island... BTW this option comes with an "are we there yet" clause with kids
FLY - 4 times a week departing Abu Dhabi
TIPS / RECOMMENDATIONS
Bonfire Dinner - Al Sahel Villa
Safari Preferably 9:00 am or 4:30 pm for Sunset
Watching the sunset anywhere within the resort
Bring light jacket for cool nights, binoculars for spotting wildlife, camera thats self explanatory, swimmers for Villa and main pools and a hat for the safari unless you love combing out wind swept hair.