Till the sixties of the last century Abu Dhabi was a barren piece of land on the edge of the great Arabian Desert. The discovery of oil changed all that and now Abu Dhabi is one of the countries in the world with the highest per capita income. This oil boom had other effects also and resulted in greening part of the desert. This was done by importing soil from Pakistan, Punjab and planting hardy trees and bushes.
One of the areas greened is Al Alain a small city about 150 away from the capital Abu Dhabi. Visiting this place will make a visitor feel he has come to another part of the world. The Abu Dhabi national zoo is also located here. It is housed in a sprawling green belt and home to some of the best animals from Africa and other places.
The zoo charges an entrance fee of 100 Dirhams( $ 25) per person. Inside the zoo one can hire an electric car to move around and this will cost you another $ 25, but many prefer to walk around and have a look at the animals on foot. The zoo is planned as per international standards and the wild animals kept in enclosures as close to their natural habitat as possible.
African animals like the Giraffe, Zebra, African lion, Rhinoceros and African elephant dominate the zoo. One can feed the Giraffes in a special enclosure and for this a feed of carrots and radish is available for 10 Dirhams. The birds section has vast enclosures with buzzards, eagles and other hardy species. The African crocodile is also on display. The pride of the zoo is the white tiger from India. There are a pair of them and none the worse for the heat that can see temperatures touch 50 degrees centigrade in summer.
However it's a matter of regret that animals from India with the exception of the white tiger are not on display. The zoo does not have the Asiatic lion, Indian one-horned rhino and the famous Bengal tiger. Perhaps the zoo will add these animals in the near future. I made an entry in the suggestion book about this and I received an email from the zoo director that this lacuna will be rectified.
Visiting the zoo is a pleasure and one needs an entire day to do justice to this place. There are some nice eateries also and one can have snacks like hamburgers and cold drinks with tea or coffee. The zoo can be reached by state bus from Abu Dhabi or a taxi. I however drove in my own car and relished the drive,which is along a lovely speedway. I will recommend a visit to the Abu Dhabi zoo for all who plan a holiday in the United Arab Emeritus.