Kayaking is one of the most popular sports in the United Arab Emirates. It is a favorite water activity among locals and tourists.
As a sport, kayaking provides a lot of health benefits. It strengthens both the upper and lower body and builds the arm muscles, as well. It is also an excellent cardio workout.
When you go kayaking at the right time, you will get plenty of vitamin D, too, a nutrient that helps the body absorb more calcium and regulates the level of phosphorus in the blood.
But one of the biggest perks of kayaking is getting to experience all these health benefits while being surrounded by nature and various beautiful scenery. With the soothing and lovely surroundings, you won’t help but feel calm and forget all your worries.
When you immerse yourself in nature regularly, you help improve your mental wellness, too.
Where to Go Kayaking in the UAE
The UAE has a number of excellent kayaking spots spread across the country. The top ones you should go to for the best kayaking experience are:
Eastern Mangroves National Park
This national park located in Abu Dhabi is a popular tourist attraction in the country’s capital city. It is also home to one of the largest areas of protected mangroves in the UAE.
Kayaking through this park will take you across 19 square kilometers of coastal mangrove forests. It is a favorite bird-watching spot, as well, with more than 60 avian species calling the area their home permanently or seasonally.
Aside from birds, a number of fish, crabs, and shells also live in the area.
By heading to this well-known kayaking spot, you can learn more about mangroves and the different creatures that live in such ecosystems. Your body will get a great workout and you will give your eyes plenty of wonderful things to see too.
Umm Al Quwain Mangroves
Dubai also has a mangrove forest, which you can explore by kayaking: Umm Al Quwain.
Kayaking through the Umm Al Quwain Mangroves will allow you to explore over five kilometers of mangrove forests on clear, shallow waters. While on the tour, expect to see turtles, rays, and other forms of fascinating marine life.
Various species of birds frequent the area, too. If you’re lucky, you will be able to spot some flamingos, crab plovers, cormorants, egrets, herons, and sandpipers.
There is also a night and sunset kayaking tour, something that you may want to try if you don’t wish to stay out under the sun too long.
Hatta is another popular destination in Dubai. It is known for its hiking and mountain biking trails and breathtaking views of the Hajar Mountains.
Hatta, however, is also famous for another water sport: kayaking. The Hatta Dam boasts clear and calm azure waters that paddling over it will be one of the most calming and relaxing activities you can try in Dubai.
The lake is teeming with fishes, which you can clearly see as you glide over the water. You will also see a variety of birds flying about as you go on your kayaking tour.
Ras Al Khaimah Mangroves
Ras Al Khaimah is a popular weekend getaway destination for people living in Dubai. This emirate is known for its quiet and unspoiled beaches and pristine mountains with scenic views of the area.
The emirate is also home to another mangrove forest that you should explore by kayaking.
The Ras Al Khaimah mangroves can be found in the center of the emirate. The kayaking tour will take you through mangrove forests and salt flats that are home to numerous species of animals and birds, foremost of which are the flamingos.
Al Zorah Mangroves
Ajman also has a mangrove forest, which is also an ideal place for kayaking: Al Zorah Mangroves.
This inland creek covers over two square kilometers of rich wetland and crystal clear waters. The trees are worth viewing, as well, since some of the mangroves here are said to be 10 meters tall.
The area is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, with more than 58 different species of birds frequenting the place. Flamingos, egrets, and herons are a few of the fowls you may be lucky enough to spot here.
If you’re up for a different, more exciting experience, try kayaking through the mangroves at night. You will surely have a different view of the area when you explore it under the moonlight.
Fujairah’s beautiful beaches are known all over the UAE. They are sought-after spots for various water sports and activities, which include snorkeling and scuba diving.
Snoopy Island, a well-known snorkeling site, is also a favorite kayaking spot. Aside from regular kayaks, you can rent a transparent one, which will give you an uninterrupted view of the waters and the marine life underneath it.
The see-through kayaking tour starts from Sandy Beach and ends at Snoopy Island. Get the most of your visit here by stopping at the recommended snorkeling sites you will pass by.
Kayaking is a fun and healthy water sport that you should consider getting into. It can be as educational as guided museum tours, as well, since you get to learn more about UAE’s bodies of water and wildlife through your kayaking journey.
Moreover, kayaking gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the heart of nature, something that will be beneficial for you in a number of ways.
Rasha El Saleh is the Conservation Education and Outreach Coordinator in the education team of Emirates Nature-WWF working on its programme, Connect with Nature.
She leads the outreach and youth empowerment aspect in growing the Connect with Nature community within the UAE and providing opportunities for youth to lead in this community, in addition to supporting partnerships with vendors supporting and promoting active aspects of the programme.