If you did not go off the grid over the past few months, you must have noticed pictures of small and beautiful pastel green lakes. Dotted with white lily-shaped salt-based stepping pads, these lakes are a sight to behold. These picturesque saltwater lakes have been doing rounds on Instagram, popularizing the Al Wathba lakes worldwide.
Where are Al Wathba Salt Lakes located?
Al Wathba is a region in the south of Abu Dhabi city. Home to the fossil dunes and the Al Wathba wildlife sanctuary, it is already a popular spot in Abu Dhabi. It is getting even more acclaim worldwide, thanks to these salt lakes. Even though reaching this site is quite a task, it is worth the effort. You might have to drive up to the lakes in a 4×4 SUV as the terrain is quite rough. The lakes lie past the world-famous Fossil dunes of Al Wathba.Infact the closest road is E65 but easy access is around the turn off from E30 towards Al Wathba Wildlife Reserve. Rest you can always find the exact location on Google Maps.
What’s so special about these lakes?
What most people consider to be lakes is a geographical feature called Sabkha in Arabic, which can be translated to salt bed in English.
The Al Wathba Sabkha is not very old. Although the salt bed has been here for centuries the lakes/channels were not formed until a few years ago. This region of Al Wathba was previously prone to flooding, but that floodwater would usually subside, and the lakes would dry out. But now, these lakes are more or less perennial. This is because now the lakes are replenished by treated wastewater being pumped in through underwater pipelines.
As to what formed the salt stepping pads remains a mystery to many experts. These pads normally take eons to form, but in Al Wathba, these pads developed practically with a few years. This has left many flummoxed!
Things to do at the Al Wathba Salt lakes
Once you reach this breathtaking geographical site you will be mesmerized by the natural beauty of the location. There are actually two channel-like lakes that run parallel to the road. Once on-site you will end up exploring the region.
If you have kids with you, they will have the time of their life jumping from one salt pad to another. Even if you are not in there with children, we suggest that you try doing the same.You will also end up taking hundreds of photographs to flex on your online followers. This location is ideal for a family barbeque picnic. Imagine grilling some delicious mats while all your loved ones frolic around you, completely enthralled by the view surrounding them.
Other places to visit near Al Wathba lakes
Al Wathba Fossil Dunes
Al Wathba Fossil Dunes are a sight to behold that are naturally formed by a mix of wind and sand over a period of time. These formations when permeated with calcium carbonate harden to form The formations are made by wind-swept sand that when permeated with calcium carbonate start to harden and form distinct, varied and abstract structures. They are on unique shapes and size and change overtime. Infact no two formations are the same. However, as they are not manmade hence they cannot bear any weight load. Hence, The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCE) has laid strict instructions to not touch or disturb the structures.
Al Wathba Wetland Reserve
If you are eager to watch dazzling pink flamboyance (flamingo herd) and hear there striking nasal honking then Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is the place for you. Other than the pink flamingoes, this place also hosts more than 250 bird species, 37 plant species and varied aquatic life. Established by the late Sheikh Zayed (founder of UAE) in 1998 it consists of natural and man-made water bodies. All in all, it is a perfect spot for you to connect with nature.
If you are an outdoorsy person who loves to appreciate the natural beauty of the great outdoors you must visit at least once in your lifetime. However, we must emphasize that these saltwater lakes are a part of an extremely fragile ecosystem, so you must be careful on your visit here so we can protect it for the generations to come.