JEDDAH: As winter approaches, Saudi adventurers don their winter gear to go on adventure trips heading toward uncharted territory in the Kingdom.
As the weather lets up in many parts of the Kingdom, preparation for winter tourism is underway. Tour groups map out hiking trips on weekends, quick get-a-ways outside city limits, and organize cross-country trips. While some opt for excursions, many prefer booking through websites that provide elaborate camping trips that will highlight the beauty of life in the Saudi deserts.
Yasmin Khaki, an Indian expat living in Jeddah, who explores Saudi Arabia as a hobby, told Arab News that she was looking forward to doing a bit of travel this winter with her children: “I have developed a certain kind of love for Saudi Arabia.”
The 35-year-old was living in Canada before moving to the Kingdom in 2018. “I wasn’t very happy at first. To move from a country filled with lots of greenery and forests to a desert was a little overwhelming. However, I soon realized that everything I have heard about this country and its attractions is wrong.”
“I have been to AlUla once and the place is straight out of a fairy tale. This is just my opinion. Others might disagree but I found the desert much more calming than a hike in the forest. The feeling of being cozied-up in a tent surrounded with absolute silence, and the millions of stars over your head, is unparalleled.”
Though the Kingdom’s western regions — Jeddah, Yanbu and Umluj — may not be as cool as other cities to the north and south, the cooler evenings are still appealing to many residents and visitors.
Some of the top destinations are Wadi Disah in Tabuk, AlUla, Riyadh’s Edge of the World, the Nafud deserts near the Eastern Province, Al-Ahsa Oasis and Al-Qura Mountain for hikers. The Kingdom’s southern mountains offer many options for hiking and camping in forests too.
Similarly, Texas-based Elmar Santamaria said that he has been on desert safaris previously. “The appeal of it for me is that you are out in the middle of nowhere, it is very serene, with nothing to see just the sky and the stars,” he told Arab News.
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