Saturday, 26 April 2014

Kayaking in the Abu Dhabi Mangroves

And relax. It's been a busy few weeks with various visitors either staying with us or in Abu Dhabi. It has been great seeing everyone, Jo in particular has enjoyed showing people round, and the kids have enjoyed playing with friends they remember from Bolton. But it is also nice to be able to get back to the normal routine we have established.

One of the activities we have done in between visitors is kayaking in the Eastern Mangroves of Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi supports nearly 70% of the mangroves found in the UAE, some natural and some planted, including the Eastern Mangroves. The mangroves serve a number of purposes, acting as an excellent breeding ground for fish, attracting birds, and also providing some protection against wind and flood damage to the low lying areas they surround.

Various companies offer guided kayak tours around the mangroves. We went with Noukhada Adventure Company, mainly because we had Entertainer vouchers entitling us to two free places (never go for a tour without getting hold of some of these vouchers).

We turned up at the appointed time of 8:45am one Friday morning. It was a lovely sunny day, with the temperature already hitting 30 degrees at that early hour. Once we had slapped on our sun cream, had our safety briefing, and advice on paddling technique, it wasn't long before we were on our way.

We had three kayaks between us. Henry was on his own, Flossie started with Jo, and Archie with me. There were between ten and 15 kayaks in the group, including a couple of guides, one at the front and one at the back. We spent a happy, if hot, couple of hours paddling along, stopping at intervals to gather our breath and learn a little more about what we were seeing, including the plants, the fish and the crabs (LOTS of crabs!).

On the way back we stopped at a small beach area for a little while, where you could go for a swim to cool down. Archie, Flossie and I were very happy to take advantage of this. The only mishaps I recall were those of us in heavier kayaks running aground in the shallow water a couple of times, and Archie toppling out of Jo's kayak when she put in a sudden burst of acceleration (no harm was done).

All in all we had a fantastic time, Jo describing it as "the best thing we have done since coming to the UAE". We enjoyed it so much that we are now on the lookout for some cheap secondhand kayaks so we can get out there on our own.

For anyone living in Abu Dhabi I would very much recommend this as a "must do" activity. You don't need to be an expert kayaker, and you get plenty of breaks to gather your energy along the way. Remember your sun cream, some drinks (although the guides have plenty of water with them), your swimwear and your camera, and you'll have a great time.

You can find out more about the mangroves of Abu Dhabi here.

As always thanks for reading.


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