The southern end of the lagoon provides, for now at least, a home for the low-key Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, best known for its aquatic birdlife. The sanctuary is an important stopover on winter migratory routes from East Africa to West Asia, and almost seventy different species have been spotted here. It’s best known for the colourful flocks of bright pink flamingoes which nest here – one of Dubai’s most surreal sights when seen perched against the smoggy outlines of the city skyscrapers beyond. You can’t actually go into the sanctuary, but you can birdwatch from one of two hides on its edge. Signage for the hides is minimal and you’ll need a car to reach them, but don’t expect taxi drivers to know where they are. Free binoculars are provided, although the roar of the nearby motorways isn’t particularly conducive to the relaxed contemplation of nature. The two hides are Fantir (“Flamingo”) hide on the west side of the sanctuary, beside the Oud Metha road (E66) just north of the junction with the Hatta road (E44); and Gum (“Mangrove”) hide on the south side of the sanctuary, on the north side of the Hatta road – although to reach it from central Dubai you’ll need to do an annoying 8km loop to get back on the correct side of the highway.

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