UAE regions, hotel-info, and how to get around
An Excel file containing all UAE sites with coordinates and notes is called UAE-sites.xlsx.
It follows the eBird naming convention, and is updated regularly, with update-info found on a separate tab.
You can download the Excel file here
All site names are linked to the eBird Hotspot for the site.
Northern region (Ra's al-Khaimah)
Based in Ra's al-Khaimah or one of it's many beach resorts, you can explore impressive mountains and wadis, beaches, mangroves, parks and fertile fields.
Based in Fujairah or one of it's many beach resorts further north, you can explore nice mountains and wadis, beaches good for gulls and terns, parks and bordering mangrove.
Based in Dubai, you can explore parks and deserts, a few beaches, golf and polo courses and a small mountain outcrop.
Based in Al Ain, you can explore the majestic mountain Jebel Hafit with Green Mubazzarah park at the base, a man-made lake and desert dunes.
Based in Abu Dhabi, you can explore local parks, artificial islands, a breakwater, a wetland reserve and a camel racetrack.
This is a huge area of desert dunes and coastal areas. You can be based in the Liwa Oasis, in Mirfa, Jebel Dhanna or Ghiyathi.
Not easily accessible, but there are ferries and a top hotel on Sir Bani Yas Island, and regular ferries to Dalma Island where a run-down, pricey hotel exist.
Rental cars and local driving:
An internet search will give you the best options, and most major rental agencies are present. If you plan to visit Oman (the Musandam enclave up north, or a visit to Oman proper) you must make sure the car is insured for Oman. This is easily done from the agency; you will not be permitted to enter Oman without proper insurance.
If you plan to visit Oman, it will save you time to get an electronic visa online.
Make sure your passport has at least 6-months validity.
Quite a few rental agencies require an International Drivers License, so make sure you carry one with you.
Driving in the UAE should never be underestimated; heavy traffic with major congestion in Dubai, Sharjah (stay away!) and Abu Dhabi, speeding on all major highways, cars over- and undertaking you at breakneck speed, sudden lane shifting with no prior notice, cars slowing down in front of you while the driver is busy writing or reading texts/SMS. The list goes on.
Take care, be vigilant and never think that you know what the car in front of you, beside you or behind you will do. You do not.
Having said that, I have been driving here since 2002, and have never had any major troubles, so don't think it can't be done.
One thing: do not show any fingers, be it your middle or otherwise, to other drivers. This will most probably lead to a lengthy prison sentence.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi have many hotels on offer, from semi-budget (Dubai) to 7-star. Your best bet is to search the internet for the best deals.
A lot of visiting birders to Dubai have stayed at the upmarket Towers Rotana Hotel on Sheik Zayed Road. Easy access to all sites, easy access to taxis and little or no congestion are key selling points.
A budget hotel near Safa Park is the Holiday Inn Express; it gets good reviews on Trip Advisor.
Info on East Coast Hotels can be found on our Forum, click here
Further west lies Mirfa Hotel in a top birding location, the inexpensive Ghiyathi rest house, the pricey Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort.