Abu Dhabi’s latest ecotourism offering Jubail Mangrove Park has opened, attracting thousands of visitors on its opening weekend.

Developed by Modon Properties, the park was designed by Australian firm GHD who provided a wide variety of services for this landmark project. Jubail Mangrove Park represents a shift in the leisure offerings within the emirate, with a focus on nature and ecotourism, in line with Abu Dhabi Government’s vision for promoting tourism and the natural beauty of the emirate. 

The first of its kind in the UAE, the community park is focused on raising environmental awareness of the mangrove habitat whilst providing edutainment facilities that promote conservation.

GHD was involved at all stages of the project, including schematic design, detailed design and project management.

“The main challenge was to choose a construction methodology that would suit such an environmentally sensitive project, as well as mobilising people and equipment in the heat and humidity given that the peak of construction occurred during summer time,” says Malcolm Dixon, GHD’s regional general manager – UAE.

“GHD’s design and supervision team worked collaboratively with Modon to overcome these challenges and our in-house environmental team carried out regular inspections, as well as raising labour awareness about the sensitivity of the mangrove area. Similarly, our supervision team worked with the landscape design team to find constructible solutions for any unforeseen obstacles, providing a multidisciplinary approach that was crucial for successful project delivery in unique marine conditions.

“GHD’s involvement in this project establishes the company as a frontrunner in the environmental design and construction of innovative solutions for ecotourism and environmental education.” 

A series of pedestrian boardwalk routes provides access adjacent to the mature mangrove forests and tidal lagoons of Jubail Island. The 2.6 km boardwalk navigates through a variety of ecosystems including mangrove habitat, intertidal mudflats, salt marshes, lagoon channels and unique sandstone geological formations (zeugens).

A series of attractions, including kayak launch points, floating pontoons, expansive net-structures that allow children to get their feet wet, stepping pads and seating nodes with educational signage, enhance the experience.

A two-storey observation tower provides spectacular panoramic views throughout the wetland habitats and across to the city. The route then terminates at the visitor centre and café, complete with plaza seating, food van area and an educational terrace for school or group visits.

GHD, along with its partner, Danish architecture practice CEBRA, was selected through a design competition for revitalising Abu Dhabi’s Qasr Al Hosn. GHD’s role includes structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering design services, fulfilling the role of the Architect of Record and providing post-contract construction supervision services.