Saudi and other Gulf States are known for its magnificent deserts and sand dunes. Thumama Desert is one of it...about 30 minutes drive from central Riyadh..it has its own unique beauty that you have to explore again and again...
I was amazed with the fine sand with an orange rusty color. Many families visit this place for a weekend get away.They go here for barbeque,picnic, football :-), baggy riding or just simply a breather from the city.
HASH : one word but two meanings
Hash is a british invention from the 1930 (founded in Malaysia) and means a group of people gather somewhere outside a city (like the desert) for a walk or run.
Joining a Hash group is a real and often the only solution for expatriates in Riyadh who would like to go to the desert. Hash is not official in Saudi Arabia. You can only enter a group by reference. If you are interested proceed like this: ask Westerners at work, on parties, whereever whether they join Hash. If someone confirms ask him/her to join. There are three Hash-groups in Riyadh. Two of them run on Thursdays afernoon, the third one on Friday afternoon. During the walk you will also pass rockets like the the old witch (see my album 'godmade ...') and might find a lot of 30 million years old fossils as the Riyadh area was covered by the sea until that time.
Camp outs in the desert are also frequently done by the Hashers. For me the absolute highlight and passion of my stay in Saudi Arabia.
Located in the lowest area in Riyadh, about 25km from City Center you can find Dirab Desert . It doesnt have fine rusty color sands but the view and the mountains sorrounding it is really breath taking.
The whole area was covered by mountains years back and not until the government decided to build the roads for the people to have an easy access to other parts of the Kingdom.
The Bin Laden Group was among the construction firms who got the project. Dynamites where used to make a fine cut for the road which all the people are enjyong now.
You will pass by the steepest road in Riyadh if you plan to go and visit the place..
You are missing something if you haven't been to the desert by night. The amount of stars, the incredible light (especially if the moon shines) and the sight of bedus picknicking near their tents are worth the short drive from Riyadh. Absolutely recommended, especially if (unlike me) you hit a clear day.
A nice activity to do in the winter time, because the weather is more cool, is trips in the desert. We pack the car and we go on adventure exploring the desert. Because Saudi Arabia's desert is the biggest in the world, it is mandatory to never go by yourself. We can find a lot of fossils, shark's teeth and much more.
And the only very nice activity is the golf course in Dirab. This 18 wholes golf course is in the middle of the desert, on an oasis and it's very nice! Women can play with normal golf clothes! A little bit of freedom every week!
Sixty million years ago, a thick layer of limestone was slowly formed at the bottom of a shallow sea. Today, that same rock formation lies beneath the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia. Alongside the Dahna sand dunes, not far from Riyadh, the Umm-Er-Radhuma limestone is riddled with countless holes known locally as Dahls.
Since the 1980's a number of beautiful and sometimes curious caves have been found in this area and reports on them have appeared in various publications. The SaudiCaves website hopes to bring such cave reports, maps pictures and other information together in one location for the benefit of researchers, explorers in Saudi Arabia and, of course, the general public. If you're looking for something related to the caves of Saudi Arabia, you'll find it here!
Saudi Arabia has lots of desert, why not spend an afternoon exploring it whilst enjoying a sunset view of the desert expecially as the weather gets cooler in November to February. The experiece (in the right place) is one that you will surely remember. The clear sky with the stars all around is also a great artwork from nature.
No trip to Saudi Arabia is complete without a trip to the desert through some soft sand dunes. There are a number of places to go and explore. So many different coloured sand dunes to drive through. A word of caution though. Don't go exploring too far. As long as you can see the main road near you, you will probably be fine. Go in at least two 4x4 vehicles. Halve your tyre pressure once on the soft sand (Gives your tyres a bigger footprint so you don't sink as easily). Best time to go is around 2 hours before sunset. You can stay till you see the sunset, you can enjoy the spectacular colour changes going on all around you and you can begin to feel a little afraid of what creatures might pop out during the night. Oh, and before you drive back on the tarmac, pump up your tyre pressures again!