This stunning natural island is located just over 100 miles southwest of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and is the largest natural island and one of eight known collectively as the Desert Islands. The island is actually the crest of a salt dome created millions of years ago by natural geological forces with its name stemming from the Bani Yas tribe, who first inhabited Abu Dhabi. With a strong conservation mandate, the island is a popular haven balancing luxury and sustainability, having recently won the "World's Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination" at the 2014 World Travel Awards in Anguila. More than half the island makes up the Arabian Wildlife Park, one of region' s largest wildlife reserves, home to more than 13,000 free-roaming animals along with the presence of the centuries-old Bedu people, who specialized in raising camels for organized races across the region . The Bedu people are instantly recognizable with their brightly-colored costumes, detailed masks and flowing robes. Steeped in history, Sir Bani Yas has over 36 archaeological sites in the Middle East including a 4,000-year-old circular tomb, a fortified watchtower, a mosque and the remains of a pre-Islamic Christian site.