Fodor's Expert Review Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
As the only remaining expanse of natural creek-side landscape in the emirate, Ras al Khor (meaning "head of the creek") is an important desert wetland habitat. The sanctuary covers only 2.4 square miles, and its tidal wetlands, mudflats, mangroves, reed beds, and stretches of sabkha (salt-encrusted flats common to the coastline) are the last refuge for many native plants and animals. The area is an important overwintering ground for more than 250 bird species, with overall bird numbers reaching 30,000 between December and March. Most famous in the area is the small year-round population of flamingos, often shown on publicity images touting Dubai's eco-credentials. Three hides, or camouflaged shelters, have been erected at points around the park, and allow closer views of the wildlife. Entry to the rest or the park is not allowed without a permit.