Eastern Mangroves Kayaking into the smaller channels of the mangroves forest in Abu Dhabi

Kayaking Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi [2024 Guide]

by Abu Dhabi Travel Planner Team

Kayaking in Abu Dhabi and the mangroves explained

An unmissable stop in Abu Dhabi for nature and outdoor enthusiasts is kayaking in the Mangroves National Park.

A designated national park and protected area on the eastern side of Abu Dhabi island, you’ll find several tour boat operators along the promenade in front of Anantara Eastern Mangroves, including kayaks for hire.

What are the Eastern Mangroves in Abu Dhabi?

The Eastern Mangroves are the gateway to the Mangroves National Park. A truly unique part of the inner city of Abu Dhabi, this protected area makes up around 75% of the total Mangrove area found in the UAE.

A biodiversity hotspot, the mangrove forest is home to many species of marine wildlife, including crabs, herons, flamingos and many fish species. The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) protects the area, so no jet skis, fishing or other sports are permitted in these waters.

Let’s take a detailed look now at how you can explore deep inside the Mangroves.

Eastern Mangroves Kayaking Map

Kayaking Tour Operators at Eastern Mangroves

Several local tour operators are licensed to provide guided kayak tours in Abu Dhabi and hire kayaks and other water equipment by the hour.

Colourful kayaks lined up ready on the Eastern Mangroves Promenade in Abu Dhabi
Eastern mangroves is the best place to go kayaking in Abu Dhabi

What Does Eastern Mangroves Kayaking Cost?

This will vary a little by operator and what sort of equipment you want to hire.

Generally speaking, a 2-hour kayak tour costs around 160 AED for adults and 130 AED for kids. You’ll want to allow 2-hours to get into the heart of the mangroves and explore some of the smaller channels.

There are plenty of options, though, for kayaking from Eastern Mangroves. The price will vary depending on the time you want to hire the kayaks, whether you are hiring a single or a double kayak, and the time of day you are heading out.

You may also find some deals paired with meal vouchers from the restaurants around the Eastern Mangroves Promenade.

Night tours and sunset spots tend to go at a premium to day-hire spots. The cost with/without a tour guide is pretty negligible, so we suggest if it’s your first trip, go with the guided tour.

If you really want to learn more about the mangroves, choose a designated eco-tour where you can hear your guide speak more about the native species on your Abu Dhabi kayaking experience.

As a rough guide, these are the prices for Mangrove tours (as of March 2022).

Tour OperatorAdult Child Other OptionsDiscounts
Sea Hawk2-hour guided tour AED 1682-hour tour AED 147Hourly rentals, SUP, Sunset cruise & BBQ, Night Light TourEntertainer 2-4-1
Noukhada1.5-2 hour tour AED160U10 – free in double
2-hour tour single – AED130
Eco Tour, Sunrise/Sunset Tour, Nightlight Tour, BBQ Tripnot currently on Entertainer
Mangrove Adventures2-hours from 105 From 130 AEDFrom 100 AEDSUP, Glow Night, Water Bikes, Lounge boat

All tour operators will include life jackets.

What Should You Take With You Kayaking in the Eastern Mangroves?

You should wear something you don’t mind getting wet in.

Although it’s unlikely you will fall out of your kayak, do expect that the seat can get wet and splashed from your paddle. You will also have an opportunity to stop for a swim.

You can take anything you want with you on the kayak in a wet bag, though note your tour operator will provide you with water bottles, so there’s really not much you need to take with you.

Eastern Mangroves Kayaking Dry bag

Taking a smartphone/camera? We recommend buying an easy, waterproof pouch to keep it dry around your neck.

If you want to take a change of clothing and a towel for afterwards, these can be left securely in a water-tight bin at the entrance to the kayaking jetty. You can securely leave your handbags and shoes behind, too.

Don’t forget the obvious, like sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat while you’re out on the water. For the most part, it’s pretty exposed, and you’ll want that extra sun protection.

When should you go kayaking on the Eastern Mangroves?

Although most companies operate year-round, in summer, you will only want to take your kayaks out early morning or late afternoon.

Most operators will take you throughout the day at set times during the cooler winter months.

Another newer option to consider is night tours of the Mangroves for a unique Abu Dhabi experience; you’ll see the marine life in a completely new way.

You can visit the mangroves at both high and low tide, though at low tide, some of the narrow pathways through the thickest of the mangroves will become too shallow.

Eastern Mangroves Kayaking father and daughter

How to Get to the Kayaking at Eastern Mangroves

From Dubai direction, or anywhere “off island” such as Yas Island, you will take the E10 over the Sheikh Zayed Bridge, then after just a few kilometres on Abu Dhabi island, take the second exit ramp that will be marked to Anantara Eastern Mangroves. Depending on your departure point, it should take just over an hour to get here from Dubai.

If you’re coming from downtown Abu Dhabi, you take Al Salam St. and exit for Eastern Mangroves. Depending on your location and traffic, this can take 15 to 30 minutes.

Plentiful free car parking can be found during the day, though evenings can be a little more congested, especially in the winter peak you may prefer to take a taxi.

Dining & Entertainment in Eastern Mangroves

Eastern Mangroves is a beautiful, laid-back area of town to enjoy before or after your journey out onto the water.

Some favourite dining spots on the waterfront to try:

  • Amano (Italian)
  • Ba:TE (Japanese)
  • Flooka (Seafood)
  • Starbucks (Cafe)

Where to Stay Visiting the Eastern Mangroves

If you’d like to stay overlooking the serene Eastern Mangroves, then the only waterfront hotel here is Anantara Eastern Mangroves, a beautiful and surprisingly affordable 5-star luxury offering.

They also have a beautiful spa here, great if you need a rub down after all that hard work out on the water!

More to Explore Along the Eastern Mangroves

If you’re not feeling too confident on the water, or perhaps you wish to extend your trip to the Eastern Mangroves a little longer, you can head to the Al Gurm Corniche.

Stretching 4 kilometres from Anantara Eastern Mangroves all the way down to Dolphin Park (19th Street), the newly redeveloped Corniche offers a safe promenade adjacent to the main freeway into the city.

From here, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the Mangroves National Park, with several little nooks, rest stops, educational sign boards and restrooms along the way.

Viewing deck along Al Gurm Corniche
Viewing deck along Al Gurm Corniche

More Frequently Asked Questions about Kayaking in Abu Dhabi

Are the Eastern Mangroves Free?

There is no entry fee to the Eastern Mangroves, but if you want to get up close, you’ll need to either hire a kayak, or paddleboard or join an eco-boat cruise, all of which have a hire fee.

If you live in Abu Dhabi and have your own equipment, you can launch here for free.

How much is kayaking in Eastern Mangroves?

This will depend on what size kayak you’d like to hire and which tour operator, but expect to pay about 170 AED for a 2-hour experience. As mentioned above, you can get this discount if you have saving vouchers and children are cheaper.

If you just want to hire a kayak and self-explore, rates start from around AED 50 for singles.

Can you kayak elsewhere in Abu Dhabi?

Yes, there are quite a few places now in the city where you can rent kayaks. Eastern Mangroves remains the most popular spot, but you’ll also find kayaks at places such as Reem Island, Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island and Jubail Island – we’ll cover these more in a separate post!

When are the Mangroves open?

Open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Your tour operator will be able to assist you with visiting from sunrise to sunset, and sometimes on specially arranged night tours too.

Eastern Mangroves Kayaking small beach

Are there other ways to see the Eastern Mangroves?

If you don’t want to put in the light to moderate elbow work needed for kayaking, or perhaps you’re travelling with young kids or elderly people in your group, there are several other ways you can still have an up-close experience in the Mangroves.

An easy-to-operate Eco Donut Boat is a great choice for a leisurely group tour. You can hire your own to navigate or hire a larger boat with a skipper. They start at AED 200 and last for 30 minutes.

Many of the companies we’ve mentioned above also offer guided boat cruises in addition to kayaks at set times during the day or for private charter.

Before you go… Important things to consider when planning a trip to Abu Dhabi


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