When your cruise ship is tendered at the small but significant United Arab Emirates-owned island of Sir Bani Yas, shore excursions are all about nature, both flora and fauna. That’s as it should be, since the island, once inhabited by the Bani Yas tribe, had been deserted for more than a century before it was repurposed as an animal sanctuary and nature reserve through the efforts of UAE’s founder Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
One of the many things to do in Sir Bani Yas from a cruise is tour the nature preserve, which occupies more than half of the island. You can go in style and comfort sitting in an air-conditioned, six-passenger luxury Land Cruiser with an expert driver who will guide your attention to the diverse wildlife that roam free and inform you about the delicately balanced, interconnected ecosystems. Or you can go on a mini-tour that takes you into the wildlife sanctuary where you may see giraffe, ostrich, and oryx, and to the Falcon Hunting Point, to hear about the majestic falcon, hunting techniques, and the art of falconry.
If you’re up for a personal adventure, Sir Bani Yas shore excursions that encourage active and energetic participation are a great choice. Hop on a mountain bike and enjoy a guided discovery of the island’s terrain, from the rugged interior to the sandy coastline. Learn about the geological history of the island and hear about the reserve’s mission and legacy while on your cruise to Sir Bani Yas.
Seat yourself in a single or double kayak and explore the Grey Mangrove ecosystem of the island’s natural lagoon. Paddle along at your own pace through the gentle waterways of the island’s natural lagoon, keeping an eye out for the area’s abundant wildlife, like fish, turtles, crabs and herons. There’s even Sir Bani Yas shore excursions where you’ll learn the techniques of stand-up paddle boarding. With your guide, paddle-glide along the coastline and hear about the island’s flora and fauna while enjoying the natural beauty and getting an excellent strength, core, and balance workout.