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

Kayaking Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi

by Abu Dhabi Travel Planner

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 hotpot, the mangrove forest is home to many species of marine wildlife including crabs, herons, flamingos and many species of fish. The area is protected by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), 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 provided guided kayak tours, as well as kayaks and other water equipment you can hire by the hour.

Colourful kayaks lined up ready on the Eastern Mangroves Promenade 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, the cost of a 2 hour kayak tour is 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 when it comes to kayaking from Eastern Mangroves. The price will vary on length of time you want to hire the kayaks for, whether you are hiring a single or a double kayak and 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 fairly negligible so we suggest if its 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’ll be able to hear your guide speak more about the native species.

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

Tour OperatorAdult Child Other OptionsDiscounts
Sea Hawk2-hour tour 168 AED2 hour tour 147 AEDHourly rentals, SUP, Sunset cruise & BBQ, Night Light TourEntertainer 2-4-1
Noukhada 2-hour tour 160 AED 2-hour tour 130 AEDEco Tour, Sunrise/sunset Tour, Nightlight Tour, BBQ Trip
Mangrove AdventuresFrom 130 AEDFrom 100 AEDSUP, Glow Night, Water Bikes

All tour operators will include life jackets.

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What should you take with you Kayaking in the Eastern Mangroves?

Its recommended that you wear something you don’t mind getting wet in.

Although its 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 more you need to take with you.

Eastern Mangroves Kayaking Dry bag

Taking a smartphone/camera? we recommend you buy an easy waterproof pouch to keep it around your neck and dry.

If you want to take a change of clothing and a towel for after, 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 hat while you’re out on the water. For the most part, its quite 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 operates will take you throughout the day at set times during the cooler winter months.

See more about the best times to visit Abu Dhabi here.

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 kilometers on Abu Dhabi island, take the first second exit ramp that will be marked to Anantara Eastern Mangroves. It should take you just over an hour from Dubai, depending on your departure point.

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

Find the Google Map location here.

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

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Dining & Entertainment in Eastern Mangroves

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

Some favourite dining spots on the waterfront to try:

  • Carluccios (Italian)
  • Peppermills (Indian)
  • Cafe Blanc (Lebanese)
  • Flooka (Seafood)
  • Starbucks
  • BOA Steakhouse

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 birds 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 Eastern Mangroves

Are the Eastern Mangroves Free?

There is no enter fee to the Eastern Mangroves, but if you want to get up close, you’ll need to either hire a kayak, paddleboard or join and eco boat cruise, all 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 discounted if you have saving vouchers and children are cheaper.

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.

When are the Mangroves open?

Open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Your tour operates 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?
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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 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 from 200 AED for 30 minutes.

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


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

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