A former wasteland, and dumping site, the Al Wasit Nature Reserve has reclaimed close to 20 acres of land. With over 200 bird species and eight hides with binoculars, the Reserve is home to a diverse ecosystem, including coastal dunes, salt flats, ponds and a large lake. Naturalists and birding enthusiasts flock to Al Wasit, which hosts various small mammals, reptiles and insects. Apart from the avian fauna, you can also spot the endangered Arabian oryx, the UAE's national animal.
The Visitor Centre of the AL Wasit Nature Reserve also won the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2019 for pioneering an environmental project that transformed a wasteland into thriving ecosystems for indigenous flora and fauna. The design and layout of the centre are such that they will enable you to view flora and fauna with ease and comfort. Here you can spot the heron, purple swamphen, and white ibis, etc.
Designed For Ease
The architectural firm X-Architects, took advantage of the site's natural topography to minimise its visual impact by making it appear submerged in the ground. Visitors descend a ramp to arrive at an angled intersection between two lined elements of the building one containing services and administrative offices, the other, a long viewing gallery flanked by aviaries, where birds can be seen in their natural habitat. At the far end of the viewing gallery is a third linear element, running perpendicular, and this houses a café and multipurpose space with views out over the open wetlands.
Timings 900 am to 630 pm, except for Friday, when it opens from 200 pm to 600 pm. The Reserve is closed on Tuesday.
For more information, check the website.