Today’s driving adventure involves an attempt to visit Dubai’s Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. As it is UAE National Day on December 2nd (their Independence Day from the British), we were afraid our usual weekend beach haunt would be crowded so we opted for a little bird watching instead.
Into our little Toyota Yaris we went, with birding binocs and the biggest Dubai guide book ever, in the hopes that the enclosed maps would prove somewhat useful (wishful thinking). So, according to the guide book, there are supposedly 3 viewing stations at Ras Al Khor that were constructed in 2005: one is on Route 44, and two are on Route 66. Both routes intersect each other at one point so if you miss one viewing station, you could try the next one. Sounds simple enough?
Well, we arrived to where 44 meets 66. Many times. We think. But always on the same but wrong side of the road (go figure). Most of the time we weren’t even sure what road we were on, what direction we were headed (North?), let alone where the hell the viewing stations could possibly be as they were not marked with signs that say: Ras Al Khor Viewing Station – 500 meters! That would have been too easy.
At one point Scotch wanted to give up and go to Ikea as one of the detours we were taking led us to Festival City, aka Ikea-land. But I was not going to give up. We had been circling for nearly 2 hours – I better see some damn birds!
30 minutes later and we finally made it to the side of the road on Route 44 where the Sanctuary is. Scotch slows down the car a bit and we scan for any possible side roads nearly missing one but manage to pull in at the last minute into an un-marked little paved road and HURRAY we found it – a viewing station!!! And then we find our sign – “Closed Fridays” F*$#%*$#%*!!!
Here is Scotch happily walking towards the viewing station not knowing that his bird-watching dream would be dashed in mere seconds:
How about putting up some road signs!!
- Get a real map
- Research and confirm operating hours (as Friday is the holy day in the UAE, many gov’t and private offices, and apparently some attractions, are closed)
For future bird watchers, please visit these sites below:
- Official Website of the Ras Al Knor Wildlife Sanctuary
- Birding the UAE – has more useful maps, birding sites, lists bird species and sightings, photos, and hosts an active forum community.
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Read PART TWO here where we finally made it to the wildlife sanctuary.