The Eastern Mangroves are a lovely natural habitat right in the heart of Abu Dhabi. Not too surprising, you can also tour through that area. Eco Donut Boats offers electric driven ships to do so. During our last stay in the United Arab Emirates Capital, we went for a one hour catamaran tour. Here are my thoughts about it.
Abu Dhabi Eco Donut Boats – Location & Pricing
The home base of the Abu Dhabi branch of Eco Donut Boats (who also operate in Malta and Miami) is right at the harbor next to the Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel, which you can easily reach by car via the E10 road. There are sufficient free parking lots right at the hotel. The area also features some nice bars, cafes and restaurant – so it is really nice for a relaxing trip.
You can book a book every day between 9:00 and 23:00 hrs. I guess that the catamaran tour we did is not possible during darkness. We had a trip at 11:00 – which was likely a bit too late to see all possible wildlife. Pricing depends on the boat and duration of rental. Details are below – the current pricing is in line with the prices during our booking.
Abu Dhabi Eco Donut Boats – The Boats
Abu Dhabi Eco Donut Boats offers two types of boats. The classic rental is the circular and signature Donut Boat. You can self-drive them, the maximum speed is 4 knots / 7.4 kph. A full tour through the mangroves would take you several hours and is thus unrealistic. It accommodates up to 580 kgs. It is driven by batteries loaded by solar panels. The shortest rental is a 30 minute rental for 200 AED (ca. 45 EUR). The price list also holds a price for one hour (300 AED) and two hours (500 AED). With a two hour rental you might just make it to the first bird observation point.
The more posh way is renting a catamaran, which is also electric. Apart from the size (capacity: ten passengers) it has two key differences: first of all, the camaran is much quicker (12 kph), the tour we did once around the mangroves was just one hour. The second difference is that it comes with a captain, who is driving it. you can discuss a tour with him, but we had some issues with that (see below). They offer 15 minute try-out tours for 20 AED per person, which is likely a non-sensible option. A 30 minute tour is 250 AED, an hour 400 AED – so that the surplus on the fancy Eco Donuts is surprisingly small (especially keeping in mind that you have a captain on board).
Abu Dhabi Eco Donut Boats – The Tour
We had the one hour tour, which you can see on the website of the Eco Donut boats. Thereby, the full round trip, anti-clockwise took us roughly 65 to 70 minutes, including stopping at one of the observation points. Thus, the value for money was really good. Heading anti-clockwise, you first pass a harbor area, which undoubtedly is the least attractive part of the trip. Once you enter the mangroves, though, you meet the first wildlife – from the boat, you majorly just see birds. One thing I absolutely enjoyed during the whole tour was the contrast of the mangrove ecosystem and the skyscrapers in the background.
The catamaran is very comfortable, you can also have some drinks with you. You also run into other people exploring the magroves, for example by canoeing. There are police patrols to ensure that wildlife is not disturbed – they enforce strict rules about the vessels which may cruise in the area.
The deeper you get into the mangroves, the more you get in touch with wildlife. Unfortunately, our guard was very reserved and also not that strong in English – there was definitely more potential to get introduced to the birds. We made one stop at the watching area you see below, which also features a bird watching tower. We however felt it was much more amazing to watch all the crab running on the ground.
I guess that there are better times to watch the birds than the one we had. Nonetheless, it was quite interesting to explore the animals. Apart from that, the area is simply relaxing.
The last section of the trip was not too attractive regarding bird watching. You could see the Anantara grounds and buildings from quite a distance already before the boat finally made it back to the harbor.
Abu Dhabi Eco Donut Boats – My View
The catamaran ride with Abu Dhabi Eco Donut Boats is definitely one of the less well-known attractions of the capital. We did have an enjoyable time, indeed – a better guide / captain would have lead to a significantly better experience. I definitely have to try the donut boats as well one day – they definitely feel to be fun. Another positive fact is that we felt that pricing is really fair, especially regarding having a guided tour through that lovely habitat.
All Abu Dhabi Postings
Here are all postings about Abu Dhabi:
Flyctory.com about Animal Parks & Zoos
Here are all postings of the Zoos and More category: