Al Wathba Fossil Dunes

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Al Wathba Fossil Dunes

The Al Wathba Fossil Dunes is an attraction that features unique structures that have been formed over many years with wind-swept sand. Located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, this place is known for its scenic views and architecturally beautiful formations.

The formations of Fossil Dunes were created as the fine grain sand was compacted and cemented together with the help of various minerals, and salt crystals into visually beautiful and stable structures.

With the sun setting at a distance, merging the earthy brown color of the sand, and the deep blue sky into a scarlet red, it makes for the perfect location to visit. Especially during sunsets.

One of the factors which makes place visit-worthy every time you are in Abu Dhabi is the interplay of the wind directions and strength, along with the sediment supply that constantly changes the shape of these fossils. This makes it a whole new experience every time you come here.

Along with the picturesque view that comes before you, the location is perfect for you to spend the day and click pictures, especially in the hours of the early morning. It also makes for a great camping spot in the evening.

If you are looking to explore the desert, this place makes for the perfect spot as along with the breathtaking and spectacular view, you get the chance to experience the art of nature at work.

Although not known to many tourists, the Al Wathba Fossil Dunes have interested many celebrities and Hollywood movies as well. This breathtaking place has been featured in the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and the movie Six Underground (2019).


• Located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, Al Wathba Fossil Dunes is one of the most attractive tourist spots in the country
• This place is the perfect spot to witness the sunset
• The fossils are beautiful structures that are very unique and ever-changing because of the wind and sand sediments
• There are a number of attractions in Al Wathba like the wetland reserve where you can find many species of birds including flamingos
• The long salt lake is also situated in Al Wathba and features a picturesque destination that is perfect for pictures
• The fossil dunes are one of the most fascinating and peaceful spots in Abu Dhabi that offers a great view of the structures

How To Reach

The Al Wathba Fossil Dunes is located 70 km to the south of Abu Dhabi Island. It comes after the Mussafah and Mohammed Bin Zayed City on the Al Ain Truck Road. First, you will see the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve from where you need to head south. It is highly recommended that you use a 4x4 to easily park and take a scenic walk to the main site. The exact coordinates to reach the Fossil Dunes are

24°10’16.4″N 54°34’39.1″E.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit the Al Wathba Fossil Dunes is during the winter months, typically from October to April. Once you park your car, you have to walk to the main site, and there are no places nearby. If you want to enjoy the view and the sunset, visiting this place during colder months will give you an added advantage. Another great option is to come during autumn, typically in September when the weather is not as cold but rather more pleasant.

Other Essential Information

Places to Visit near Fossil Dunes Abu Dhabi


1. Bani Yas Public Park: A park that is famous among families and is equipped with various play areas and resources for toddlers to play and others that accommodate older children as well. It is the perfect place for picnics as it has well-groomed grass and a large number of trees. It is ideal for looking to spend a few hours in peace and in the middle of luscious plants.

2. Kidoos Entertainment: This is a place that caters to children's entertainment and offers various activities devoted to young children's physical, emotional, and social development. It is a state-of-the-art playground made of children, and consists of a zone for toddlers, a snow park, rope adventures, interactive games, and much more.

3. Al Wathba Long Salt Lake: The Long salt lake is located just off the road and is a beautiful place with huge man-made channels filled with rich emerald green water encrusted around the salt, which gives it a snowy look, especially around the edges. It also has a stretch of green water with huge salt formations between them with big and round pads that look like salt mushrooms.

4. Sheikh Zayed Heritage FestivalThis festival is named after the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the United Arab Emirates. This festival celebrates the culture of the country, its Rich diversity, legacy and inheritance. Visitors can take a look into the art, craft, customs, and food.

5. Al Wathba Wetland Reserve: The Emirate is known to be one of the unique natural geographies that are very diverse. It includes majestic mountains and nature reserves. The Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is known for the major population of Great flamingos. It houses an average of 4000 flamingos—the most during autumn and spring.

6. Emirates National Auto Museum: Located near the South of Abu Dhabi, the Emirates National Auto Museum showcased 230 custom vehicles that are vintage and were originally owned by Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, who was known as the Rainbow Sheikh.

Insider Tips 

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCE) has asked all tourists to refrain from climbing the structures as they are prone to get disrupted.

If you plan to visit with a rental car, it is suggested that you rent an SUV. Otherwise, you would have to park your car and walk for 10 minutes.

It is important that you carry food and water as the nearest eateries are about 10-15 kilometres away.

It is worthy of mentioning that the army base is near the Fossil Dunes, and photography might be prohibited from certain areas.

Ticket Price

Ticket price for Al Wathba fossil dunes is Nil and absolutely entry is free for visitors.

Travel Tips for Dubai

Best Time To Visit In Dubai: The best time to visit Dubai is from November to March when the weather is pleasant and is most suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities. The Dubai Shopping Festival is also held during January and February, making it an exciting time for visitors. Dubai's high season is from November to April. This is when temperatures are at their most enjoyable, but you can expect higher costs for accommodation and more people at the city's main attractions as a result.



How to Book Tickets Online

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About United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates located in the Middle East, known for its modern infrastructure, diverse culture, and thriving economy. With its iconic skyline, bustling cities, and vast desert landscapes, the UAE is a popular destination for tourists and expatriates alike.

Live Weather Update

Dubai UAE
Dubai, AE
5:02 pm, Jul 20, 2024
temperature icon 38°C
few clouds
Humidity 63 %
Pressure 993 mb
Wind 15 mph
Wind Gust Wind Gust: 0 mph
Clouds Clouds: 19%
Visibility Visibility: 0 km
Sunrise Sunrise: 5:40 am
Sunset Sunset: 7:09 pm

Contact Information

Fossil Dunes, Lane 2006, Al Wathba Camel Racetrack, Al Wathbah, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Emirate, United Arab Emirates


What is it?

The Al Wathba Fossil Dunes Protected Area comprises of more than 1,700 fossil dunes, spread over 7 square kilometres, making it one of the largest numbers of fossil dunes concentrated in one location in the emirate. Geologists estimate the age of fossil formations within the protected location at over four million years.

What is there to see/do?

At the reserve you can enjoy the natural marvels of the area, by walking the well-lit trails, which extend to 3 km both ways, and are surrounded by benches and shades for relaxing. 
You can also enjoy music and light shows which will take place throughout opening hours and can be viewed from the amphitheater, which holds up to 200 visitors. The site will also feature various food and beverage trucks in dedicated areas. 

To enrich your experience, you can enjoy the facilities at the visitor centre, including the viewing area and the gallery corner, as well as benches and several areas to soak in the beauty of the wonderful site.   

Is it family-friendly?
Yes! It is a great place for families to learn about Abu Dhabi’s environment while enjoying the facilities and wonders of the Al Wathba Fossil Dunes Protected Area

How old are fossil dunes in Abu Dhabi?

The Al Wathba Fossil Dunes in Abu Dhabi are a fascinating wonder of nature - waves of sand frozen in time - created by elemental forces nearly 120,000 to 150,000 years ago.

How are fossil dunes formed?

Fossil dunes: These unusual forms rising from the desert are one of the highlights of a trip to Abu Dhabi's Al Wathba region. Rising waters: The dunes were formed when moisture from higher water tables caused calcium carbonate in the sand to react and turn into a form of cement.