Attractions in Bahrain for Nature Lovers

Calling All Nature Lovers

The immigration officer looked at our passports, stamped them with visitor visas, and said, “Welcome to Bahrain, sir. Enjoy our country.”

This was a friendly greeting that we experienced everywhere in Bahrain. Thanks to my younger brother and his beautiful family living there, we visited this small island country for 11 days in December of 2015 and then again for four days in April 2016, enjoying every bit of it. The added fun was that my other brother and his beautiful family also joined us from the Saudi city of Alkhobar.

1. Bahrain National Museum

Nature lovers should always start with the museum that exhibits the natural features of the region. We started our trip to Bahrain from the Bahrain National Museum, which has 11 galleries.

The museum possesses a rich collection of Bahrain’s ancient archaeological artifacts and the culture and lifestyle of Bahrain’s recent pre-industrial past. Natural History Hall, focusing on the natural environment of Bahrain, was added in 1993. This hall features specimens of Bahrain’s plant and animal life. Among the exhibits in the ancient history section is an actual burial mound, which was transported from its site in the desert and reassembled in the museum

2. Qalat Al Bahrain (Manama)

Qal’at al-Bahrain, or Fort of Bahrain, captured six elements that won our appreciation: (1) It was an ancient Harbour and Capital of the Dilmun civilization that flourished 2500 years ago and is an archaeological tell (an artificial hill formed over time by successive occupations), (2) a sea tower about 1600 m North-West of the tell, built more recently by the Portuguese, (3) a sea channel through the reef near the sea tower where we were able to observe crabs by the hundreds, (4) distant view of the modern high rises, (5) a museum educating on the archaeological tell and the artifacts, and (6) palm-groves of a nearby village.

3. Al Dar Island (Southern Bahrain)

We found Al Dar Island to be a hidden treasure in Bahrain. It resembles a Mediterranean beach resort with sparkling waters and offers water-based activities like swimming, kayaking, pearl collecting, fishing, scuba diving, boating, etc.

We were pleasantly surprised to see a significant number of waterfowl calling the island home in the warm weather of April.

We also found that the visitors’ numbers were regulated, and therefore, the beach was not over-crowded. Good wooden huts, shower facilities and several decent restaurants were available.

4. The Desert: Camping and Ascending a Hill (Southern Bahrain)

My brother had already booked a camp for all of us (eight adults and three kids). Everything at the campsite was well prepared in advance. All we did was board in two SUVs and reach it.

The camp was enclosed in a compound and, in accordance with the local traditions, had three large-sized tents for general sitting areas, for women and for men. There was a campfire area where we all sat down in the late evening and got the fire and the games going. But before that, the nature lover in all of us found time to ascend a nearby hill, which turned out to be quite a daunting task.

5. Arad Bay Wildlife Protected Area and Park (Muharraq)

This was an amazing place to observe waterfowls of the mangroves. It is a 3 km circular track that the visitors normally use for jogging and walking.

We were the odd people out as we were observing waterfowl. Due to the migrant population of winters, the waters were teeming with waterfowl – flamingos, western reef herons, Eurasian curlews, common redshanks, common sandpipers, intermediate egrets, and so on and so forth. On and around the tracks, adjoining grassy fields, and trees, we could observe Eurasian collared doves, rock doves, red-vented bulbuls and white-cheeked bulbuls.

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