Abu Dhabi’s reputation as one of the world’s most modern metropolises is certainly well deserved, with its awesome high rises and innovative tourist experiences. Yet for all its modernity, Abu Dhabi—a name which translates roughly to “Father of the Gazelle”—remains rooted in the natural world as well, and traveling with Remote Lands opens up many options to appreciate nature’s important role in Emirati culture, both in the city and in the surrounding desert. This tour is designed to explore the city’s ever-accessible wildlife with a limited footprint and focuses on fun for everyone from the young to the young-at-heart.
Guided by Asia specialists
Since 2006, Remote Lands has been offering tours by experts for travelers looking to discover the extraordinary and the unusual. Led by founders Catharine Heald and Jay Tindall, Remote Lands’ binational team focuses their efforts solely on the Asian continent, with offices located in Bangkok and New York City. Determined to change the world through cultural understanding across disparate cultures, their tours are designed to bring travelers in touch with locals while focusing on singular experiences in the most far-flung, fascinating destinations throughout Asia.
With their 10-day Sandy Serenity and Family Fun tour in particular, travelers of every age can immerse themselves in nature while remaining within easy reach of the city and without sacrificing the comforts and hospitality one comes to expect in Abu Dhabi. Moreover, each of Remote Lands’ tours comes with full flexibility in mind to suit your group’s needs and interests, understanding that “luxury travel” can mean radically different things to different people. As but one of several UAE-centered tour packages on offer, Remote Lands is committed to finding the right fit and flavor for travelers of all sizes and tastes.
Traveling with Remote Lands features a nine-step process, starting with a complimentary consultation with one of their dedicated travel designers, who will then deliver a customized, detailed itinerary based entirely on client feedback. From there, travelers can make the most of their destination, with staff available throughout Asia for 24/7 assistance and consultation to make sure that every part of the journey exceeds expectations, whether they remain in the United Arab Emirates or continue to multiple destinations throughout the continent.
The high-touch tour
After touching down in Abu Dhabi, you’ll be greeted by your expert escort who will help acclimate you to the metropolis and its landscape of fine-dining options and world-class hotels. Venturing just beyond downtown Abu Dhabi, you’ll encounter flamingoes, dugongs (manatee cousins), and dolphins with a cruise through Mangrove National Park.
Later, a visit to the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital will introduce you to the Emirate’s proud tradition of falconry while providing you with an up-close glimpse at these majestic creatures as they rehabilitate in the first and largest premises of its kind. Other stops will include a camel ride through the Rub’ al Khali Desert, otherwise known as the Empty Quarter, while a short drive inland from the city will bring you to the lush, green oasis city of Al Ain, the UAE’s lone UNESCO World Heritage Site, an ancient, magical land that will feel worlds away from the city.
Once you’ve established yourself in Abu Dhabi, you’ll venture off to a can’t-miss destination for nature lovers: Sir Bani Yas Island. First established in the 1970s as part of former UAE President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s “Greening of the Desert” program, the nation’s largest natural island now hosts tens of thousands of animals native to the Arabian Peninsula as a natural preserve. Free to prowl the island as they please, the many rare and vulnerable species here—including the cheetah, Arabian oryx, and sand gazelle—are protected and can be viewed at a safe distance by exclusive wildlife safari.
It’s not just the striped hyenas and sea turtles who thrive here, however, as your booking with Remote Lands will afford you access to the five-star, eco-friendly Anantara Sir Bani Yas Island Al Yamm Villa Resort. On this side of the island, you’ll discover a hotel whose exceptional location is matched only by its facilities. Expect a full-service spa, private yachts to charter, a bounty of educational activities for the kids, and secluded, thatched-roof villas alongside protected, pristine beaches for a trip truly in harmony with nature.
Returning from Sir Bani Yas, you’ll find far more to explore back on the mainland than there is time to discover. Thankfully, in focusing exclusively on the Asian continent, Remote Lands has the knowledge and experience to help you navigate Abu Dhabi’s shores. Even better, their thoughtfully and expertly crafted itineraries can all be easily altered on the fly to ensure that your trip is exactly as you’d dreamed. And if nature isn’t your primary passion, Remote Lands offers many other unforgettable experiences in the region, from their five-day Arabian Days and Nights tour—complete with a breathtaking bird’s eye tour of the city via seaplane and a starlit desert barbeque—to an all but infinite number of customizable tours throughout the United Arab Emirates and beyond. Learn more about their tours which start at $16,000.