Ra's al-Khor Wildlife Reserve - return to Central Region
Click on the location names below to explore the spot on eBird
This site consists of three hotspots and one hotspot for the whole area;
Ra's al-Khor Wildlife Reserve--general area
This eBird Hotspot was used up to the date the three hides were constructed, or when you do not start separate checklists for each hide.
Ra's al-Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is a tidal estuary with saline lagoons in the center of Dubai.
Contrary to popular belief, a permit is NOT needed for a visit to the three hides here.
Directions and access:
The area is completely fenced in with no direct access. This is a welcome move from the municipality, as it keeps unwanted pressure from visitors away.
Dubai Municipality constructed three hides in 2005, all should be open to visitors from Saturday to Thursday; 09:00 to 16:00.
Covid-19 update: all 3 hides closed until further notice
Ra's al-Khor Wildlife Reserve--Mangrove Hide
The hide is open from 9 am to 4 pm. No permit needed to visit the hide. If you come earlier, or later, birding with a telescoipe can be rewarding from the parking area. Parking can be limited during week-ends, when the tiny lot fills up quickly.
There is a full-time guard here.
This is a good hide for waders, esp. Broad-billed Sandpipers and Pacific Golden Plovers right in front of the hide. It is not permitted to walk from the Mangrove Hide to the Flamingo Hide.
This hide is situated along the Dubai to Hatta main highway (E44), off the westbound lane going into the city. From Dubai, pass the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa on E71 heading towards Al Ain, then continue towards Hatta (signposted). To access the hide, you need to drive west (back to Dubai) on the Dubai - Hatta Road, as if coming back to Dubai from the Al Warsan Lakes.
The turnoff to the hide lay-by from the 4-lane highway is not well signposted, but found at 25.185125 , 55.331003.
Most taxi drivers will know this place, and if not, they are able to follow the directions above.
Ra's al-Khor Wildlife Reserve--Flamingo Hide
Always has Greater Flamingo present, and these are fed every afternoon by the rangers. Looking towards the now inaccessible Zabeel fish ponds during the winter months will reward you with Greater Spotted Eagles soaring overhead, and quite possibly other raptors as well.
It is easy to access this hide by continuing west from Mangrove Hide; keep in the right-hand lane all the way around the inlet onto E66 until you see an un-signposted exit to the hide lay-by at 25.190992 , 55.310547.
Ra's al-Khor Wildlife Reserve--Lagoon Hide
Closed due heavy construction in the area from June 2006 to December 2018, when it re-opened.
Used to be a very good site, and time will tell if it still is.
Access is via a sandy road from Flamingo Hide.
Start by spending an hour at Mangrove Hide after returning from Hatta / Qarn Nazwa / Al Warsan Lakes. Any time of day can be productive, it all depends on the tide (high tide pushes the waders towards Mangrove Hide. This is THE place for Broad-billed Sandpipers from July to April. A max 403 birds counted from the hide 2 April 2006, but the birds can often be absent for extended periods.
Look for raptors from the parking lot; Greater Spotted Eagles always in view from October to April, with Western Marsh Harriers often out in numbers, and a Western Osprey or two normally in view. Other eagles, Accipiters, harriers and falcons also possible.
After finishing at Mangrove Hide, walk or drive the short distance of 2.73 km to Flamingo Hide. This is a much less productive hide, but raptor-watch can be surprisingly good from the parking lot.
190 species (excluding escapes) have been recorded as of December 2018.
Rarities have included Red-crested Pochard, Great Crested Grebe, Demoiselle Crane, Pallas's Fish Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Pied Kingfisher.