Traveling to a self-sustaining island in the desert. This island is called Sir Baniyas island and it belongs to the emirate of Abu Dhabi in the UAE. The island has a history of thousands of years.
Recently, we decided to make a trip to the biggest island of UAE. After driving for more than 3 hours and then taking a ferry to the island, we finally got there.
A lot of UAE such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai are ultra modern cities that have all the amenities and conveniences you can think of.
Just 20-30 years ago there was nothing but desert in Dubai and now it's one of the top metropolies in the world.
The entire country of UAE (United Arab Emirates) has lots of history though. Right next to Dubai is a city called Sharjah which is one of the oldest cities in the world. That place has history and it's only 5 minutes away from Dubai.
There are also lots of historical sites across the country. In this desert island that we visited called Sir Baniyas Island, there are 36 archeological sites, many from thousands of years ago.
What surprised us that there was even remains of a Christian monastery from 600 AD which is under full preservation.
However, the reason why we visited the island was to see wildlife. The island is full of native and exported wildlife from the region, Africa and India.
You would be surprised how much wildlife can exist in the desert. There are native gazelles, Onyx deer and countless smaller mammals that somehow find a way to survive and thrive in the desert.
Jeep, Land Rover and Toyota Hilux are some of the best cars for driving in the desert and exploring the sand dunes.
The desert in general has a very unique atmosphere that is hard to describe. It's real nature and during summer hotter than any place on Earth.
We have actually gone to the desert when it's over 40'C (104 F+) and the sand is so hot that it will burn your skin. The bottoms of our feet started to burn despite wearing shoes and socks. The sand can get so hot that your shoes will actually melt.
This island was particularly interesting because it's a salt dome created millions of years ago by natural geological forces. Due to the salt content not much can grow there without artificial support.
All the trees and grass you see in the video have been artificially planted and are maintained through water systems. In total, they have planted 3.1 millions of trees.
What makes the island even more interesting is that it's almost completely self-sustaining. They have green houses for bananas, papayas and other fruits & vegetables. They have livestock for eggs & meat and bees for honey.
During our stay, they were also building a fish farm. The island produces green energy from wind turbines and solar energy.
If you look closely in the picture above, you may see a wild animal.
As Finns, we truly value nature and environment. It's great to see countries like UAE are using a lot of resources to make their cities and places more self-sustaining and green.