12 March 2007

Neglected Internal Tourism – Al Areen an example

Green meadows, waterfalls, palm trees, flowers, a colourful collection of birds, oryx, ostriches, gazelles, giraffes, goats and many other creatures. No, it’s not a zoo. This is actually in Bahrain. It’s a beautiful wildlife park hidden behind kilometres of abandoned yellow sands. It’s been there for over 30 years, and it seems like many of us in Bahrain have forgotten about it.

The park was established in 1976, and opened to the public in 1986. Recent statistics state that it currently hosts around 400 animals, including 40 birds. A colourful number of trees and flowers also surround the place. The main three areas in the park are the walkway (equipped with picnic tables and close to birds and animals), the outer area (visited by bus) and the water park (contains a lake hosting a big variety of birds).

Now I have a simple and basic question; if the government can execute such an expanding and entertaining project, which is touristy, educating, green and financially accessible to most Bahraini families, why can’t we have more of them? And most importantly; why isn’t this project advertised for?

Nonstop bragging about the multi-million projects cover the dusty pages of our newspapers every day, leaving citizens below the poverty line drooling and heartaching. Would it hurt to actually remind people of what they already have available and accessible? Needless to mention, it can actually generate more visitors to the place, hence enhance profit and development.

Important to note as well is the current threat to Al Areen’s current status as a reserved area with an ecological network of species. It being so, means that the park’s land may not be used for any other purposes than its principal aim. The buffer area surrounding it should also be, environmentally speaking, protected.

In order to preserve the area the way it is, it ought to be protected from pollution and destruction. It seems that whoever chose the location of the Bahrain International Circuit decided to totally ignore that fact. Whilst building the BIC, many of the “preserved species” must have been physiologically and psychologically effected by construction material (dust, explosions, evaporated substances), most notably the birds (altered migration realm).

Al Areen is a beautiful place for a relaxing time away from our relatively-busy city life; remember that the next time you think this island is a boring one. Remember that the next time you want to plan a fun day out.

(pictures here)


abdulla said...

Incidentally, me and my friend decided to go to Al Areen last weekend but it closed like 5 mins before we reached so we ended up going to the tree of life while we're at it lol. So yea you guys, next time if al areen doesnt work out, going to the tree of life will always work ;)

Gardens of Sand said...

I remember going there as a kid on school trips and with the summer day camp at Al-Ahli Club. Three years ago or so, my mum got it in her head to revist some of the stuff in Bahrain. We hit the musuem, some of the forts. I don't remember if we went to Al-Areen. We must've because I remember thinking how beautiful (and miserable hot) it was!!!

I definately think it needs to be advertised more, it is gr8!

Anonymous said...

Its lovely - one of the few places you can sit down on grass and have a picnic.

What's really nice is the way the ostriches freely wander around among the visitors, like gigantic pigeons.

SoulSearch said...

We took the kids the other day, and we couldn't believe we were in Bahrain!!! There's a lake in Bahrain!!!! with ducks and swans and frogs!!!
Amazing, and you are definitely right, it is neglected.

Hisham said...

Amal... thanks for bringing Al Areen to light. I'm looking forward to visiting it with my new SLR :-)

One just has to wonder though, whether as you point out, if any care is being taken of the ecology in that area. And I do hope all the noise form the "Lost Paradise of Dilmun" or whatever that waterpark project is called will not affect the original inhabitants of the area.

LuLu said...

I've been there last year and I was pretty surprised! Unfortuantely most people still have the impression from back in the days when it was an empty sand area with a handful of gazelles and lizards!

Maybe if they expand the opening hours and add a couple of decent restaurants/coffee shops it can really turn into a popular hangout--

aMaL said...

happy to know many people out there still enjoy it!
please spread the word..!