The Abu Dhabi Salt Lakes That Are Breaking Insta: Where to Find The Stunning Salt Lakes

Abu Dhabi Salt Lakes That Are Breaking Insta

The Abu Dhabi Salt Lakes in the United Arab Emirates are a fantastic set of naturally-occurring salt lakes that are breaking insta, and you should check them out if you’re visiting. They’re easy to find in the Al Dhafra Region, just a short drive from the city center. 

The best way to get there is to take E10 west from Abu Dhabi and go through the Al Ain border crossing. Turn left onto E11 and follow that road as it turns into E36; when you come to a “T” intersection, turn left (north) onto 41, and follow that road until you see a sign for the salt lakes.

It is filled with crystalline water, the lakes are a stunning sight—you can walk right up to their edge and dip your hand in, but you should be careful because the ground is covered with salt. For instance, when we were there, we were told not to touch the water; this was probably because we were visiting close to the end of summer, and there was some algae growth in the water. 

The algae aren’t dangerous, but they can make it look like something is lurking under your feet! Just remember that when you touch your eyes or mouth after getting them wet with lake water, you’ll taste salt for.

Top Things to Do/See at Abu Dhabi Salt Lakes

Although the salt lakes are surprisingly easy to get to, some of them (especially ones on private land) require permission and/or a guide; others are so close to the road that you could almost walk up and touch them without getting in anyone’s way.

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There are quite a few different salt lakes around Abu Dhabi, so if you get sick of watching your IG feed fill up with photos from the same ones (which I don’t think will happen), try exploring and see some of the other ones that are nearby.  Most of them are within a short drive from the city center.

Here’s my list of top things to do at The Abu Dhabi Salt Lakes that are breaking insta:

1. The Biggest (Saadiyat) Salt Lake

The largest of these salt pans, Saadiyat, can be found 2 miles north of central Abu Dhabi on the outskirts of Al-Dhafra Air Base. It is about 15 kilometers long and 10 kilometers wide and features an array of newly constructed buildings flanked by pyramids made entirely out of sand (not to be confused with the Pyramids of Giza). These salt lakes attract tens of thousands of visitors each year, who come to explore them on foot or bike along well-marked trails. There are also camel rides and helicopter flights that offer breathtaking views over this surreal landscape.

2. Badia Village – White Desert

“WOW” is the only word that can describe this place. It has been called the “moon on earth” by many. The salt formations are stunning, and there are many different colors to see. I couldn’t believe how vast it was. If you’re into photography, then this is a must-see place. I’ve seen pictures of it before, but seeing it in person is just another level of beauty. 

It’s hard to describe with words, but you will feel like you’re on another planet when you see this vast expanse of white salt without a single tree or any other life form.


But getting there isn’t accessible if you don’t have your vehicle in Abu Dhabi. The best way to get there is to hire a driver for the day because there’s no public transportation available to get there from Abu Dhabi City, and it’s pretty far from Dubai. You can also rent a car, but I would advise against driving on desert roads unless you have some experience under your belt already.

A Brief History of the Abu Dhabi Salt Flats

The Abu Dhabi Salt Flats were formed by water from underground springs seeping through sandstone rock layers and evaporating into salt crystals. The flats have been used for thousands of years as a source of salt, even before contact with Europeans.

Travelers to the area would collect the salt and sell it to people outside of the region. However, this method was very labor-intensive and not very efficient. To increase production, farmers began digging wells into the ground to create reservoirs that collected rainwater to extract more salt in less time with less effort. 

Farmers also began using wind towers to collect water from rain clouds and channel it onto their crops (mainly dates). This water would attract birds which would then defecate on the crops, adding nutrients that increased their overall health. These techniques became so popular that they had spread throughout. 

Frequently Asked Questions- FAQs

The Bottom Line

If you love seeing all of the amazing photos on Instagram and want to see the world for yourself, then Abu Dhabi is a perfect destination. Although it seems like the cliffs and dunes are always photogenic, my favorite part has always been the salt lakes. 

The pink coloration comes from millions of salt crystals that slough off the surface during rainy or humid months; however, during dry periods, the crystallite particles reflect sunlight and give off a yellow/orange glow in bright light.

It makes it one of the most magnificent places to go if you’re traveling by car in Abu Dhabi. And for those looking for something different to do during their trip, you got some great ideas for adventures around the salt lakes like canoeing and horse riding!

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