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Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary a natural haven of wildlife

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Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary

If you are tired of the swirling traffic of the cities and feel like you need a break from the
entire buzz and the stress of your hectic work schedule, Ras Al Khor  Wildlife Sanctuary is just the
place for you. Situated in the heart of Dubai, this natural haven of wildlife is only a 14 km
drive away from Dubai Creek near the OudMetha Road. It is open every Saturday and
Thursday of the week. The doors open at 9 AM and are closed to the visitors at about 4 PM.
It is the perfect place to witness the thriving coexistence of animals, plants, reptiles,
mammals and especially the thousands of different species of birds that fly here every year
during winter months between October to March from the West Asian and African countries.
It is also identified as a Globally Important Bird Area(IBA) by Birdlife International and
reflected as a unique wetland within the entire United Arab Emirates.
In this year I had the opportunity to visit the sanctuary with my family on a chilly Saturday
morning. It is only less than an hour distance by car to reach the place. However one can also
avail public transport as an option to reach the place. As soon as I entered the area, I felt like I
was transported to a completely different world. I got so immersed in the songs of nature and
the astounding beauty of the city that I almost forgot that I was just next to the highway. It
was quite surprising to see how within the earshot of several construction sites and framed by
roads, this sanctuary in Dubai Creek served as an essential stopover for approximately 30,000
migratory birds from all over the world most of which include the pink flamingos. Though
the site is also home to more than 500 species of flora and fauna, the pink flamingos are the
major highlight of the show. The flamingos due to their vast number were easily visible from
a distance. However, there were telescopes at different points in case anybody wanted to get a
more unobstructed view. The feeding of the birds began from 9 AM itself, and as we were
early, we were lucky enough to saw the entire process. The colony was fed twice a day – at 9
AM and then at 4 PM- with specially produced cereal-based pellets that contain added
vitamins and nutrients.
The sight of the pink flamingos strutting about nearby the water was an absolute joy. The
entire sanctuary is spread over an area of 6km, and the creek is adorned with a large inland
lagoon which is dotted by mangroves and surrounded by salt and mudflats. On a closer view,
I could also see a few other birds like the Bulbul, Heron, Little green bee-eater and a
Silverbill. I was quite lucky for I even got to see the Snowy Plover, one of the critical species
of the flamingos. However, these were only a few of the thousands of species found there like
the Asian pied myna, Dunlin, Indian peafowl, Mallard, Yellow-billed Stork, kingfishers,
eagles, spoonbills, avocets, pintails, etc. Lurking in the waters were beautiful queen fishes
milk fishes measuring up to a meter long. The magnificent view of the sanctuary with its
hundreds of birds Relaxing in the pool of the Gulf sets a striking sight against the towering
skyscrapers in the background, attracting quite a several photographers and nature lovers to
the place.
The name ‘Ras Al Khor’ in Arabic means ‘Head of the Creek’ which is quite relevant because
of its location which is just next to the Dubai Creek. The visit is accessible on the pocket as
well as the admission to the sanctuary is entirely free of cost. This place not only allows you

to spend some quality time with your family but also spend your precious weekend time
enveloped in the lap of mother nature, with the scenic beauty of so many plants and the
different species of animals and birds re-energizing your spirit with their liveliness. The day
before the visit though you have to inform the Environment Department, the Marine
Environment and Wildlife section and Dubai Municipality to gain the permission to enter the
The sanctuary may not be as famous as the shopping malls in Dubai, but I assure you that you
won’t regret your visit to the place. The profound peace and serendipity I felt after visiting the
site were unlike anything else. Famous bird enthusiast Tommy Pederson has even said,
“Having a sanctuary like Ras Al Khor inside the city borders has provided many happy hours
during my ten years as a resident of Dubai. Several 182 species of birds have been recorded
at the site, but the greater flamingo is certainly the key attraction.”