Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary- A treat to the birdwatchers


The magical charm of the cityscape in Dubai can tempt every tourist beyond doubt. The luxury and vibrant nightlife that Dubai offers is irreplaceable. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary that lies towards the end of old Dubai marks a major transformation from the bustling city.

Ras Al Khor is called Cape of the Creek, and it encompasses several salt flats, mudflats, mangroves, and lagoons that have become home for thousands of birds. Can you believe that a wetland with more than 100 species of water birds lies in the heart of Dubai? It is set against the backdrop of the Dubai skyline.

The saltwater creek that flows through the city ends at Ras Al Khor that is filled with flora and fauna. The land extends over 6.2 square km sanctuary and is home to 450 species of animals and 47 species of plants. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary was declared as the first Ramsar site in the UAE in 2007.

The other two Ramsar sites in the country are Jebel Ali Wetland Sanctuary and Hatta Mountain Reserve. Ramsar Site is a wetland site that is given global importance under an environmental treaty called Ramsar Convention.

Like most of the attractions in Dubai, Ras Al Khor is also most beautiful in winter. Thousands of migratory birds flock to this place every year in winter. Pink flamingos are the most wonderful sight for the visitors to this bird sanctuary. The birdwatchers can easily spend hours at this place while gazing upon the varied species of birds.

Along with the flamingos, you will also spot reef herons, great egrets, cormorants, black-winged stilts, grey herons, osprey, and many other species of birds. Don’t forget to take your camera as you can see the incredible birds at close quarters. 

Wildlife at RAKWS

Ras Al Khor has more than 500 species of wildlife that include endangered ones too. There are around 180 species of birds. The birds include Greater Spotted Eagle, Eurasian Spoon Bill, and the globally threatened species like Socotra Cormorant and Ferruginous Duck. Other animals like Ethiopian Hedgehog, Arabian Cape Hare, and Red Fox are also found here.

Several species of fish and snakes are the other protected creatures. The plants and mangroves at Ras Al Khor help in maintaining the ecological balance of the area. The government is always taking meticulous care to preserve the place as such.

Three hides at Ras Al Khor

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is not like a typical bird sanctuary that allows you to look at the birds in a cage. You can watch them up close at their natural habitats from the popular spots at the sanctuary called hides. There three hides at Ras Al Khor– Mangrove Hide, Flamingo Hide, and Lagoon Hide. All hides have sharp binoculars to provide closer views of the birds.

Mangrove Hide

Overlooking the lush mangroves, this hide is a place where you can spot most of the migratory birds at Ras Al Khor. Here, you can find migratory ducks, Eurasian spoonbills, raptors, shanks, and several other birds.

Flamingo Hide

This is perhaps the most famous hide at Ras Al Khor. The end number of pink flamingos will win hearts for sure. Flamingos are the star birds at RAKWS. The greater flamingoes found in Europe, and in parts of Asia and Africa are the winter visitors in the UAE. During winter, they will travel to distant countries and take refuge in the wetlands.

Lagoon Hide

Lagoon hide is perfect for the most enthusiastic bird watchers. It has all kinds of birds, from waders to raptors. This hide opens towards the waters of the creek.

Nature education

The visit to RAKWS is not just for leisure. They also provide educational activities to the visitors to make them understand the need for conserving nature. They also conduct some events like World Wetlands Day and World Migratory Bird Day, which take the visitors closer to nature.

For this reason, visiting the place will be a great delight for the curious little ones as they can watch the birds and also learn unknown facts about them. There is also an option to book a Protected Area Guide while going to the hides. It includes an informative session followed by tips to identify different birds.

When to visit Ras Al Khor

Needless to say, winter is the best time to visit Ras Al Khor. Plan your trip any time between November and March. Then, you can see a huge number of migratory birds, including the flamingos. 

Is there an entry fee at Ras Al Khor

The good news is that there is no entry fee at Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. You can visit the place and spend as much time you want watching the birds and enjoying natural beauty.

How to reach Ras Al Khor

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the most beautiful places on earth are hard to access. There are no metro stations available nearby. The only option is to go by taxi. 

Ras al Khor wildlife sanctuary timing

  • Winter timings: (Oct-March)
  •  7.30 AM to 5.30 PM
  • Summer timings: (April- Sept) 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Certain things provide a distinct pleasure different from the tempting yet transient attraction of the cities. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary provides a getaway from the hectic city life that will be an excellent experience for families and kids.

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