Saudi Arabia recently announced its effort to grow tourism for 2030. It approximately projects a 10% growth of visits yearly.The most important announcement has been the visa details for tourists of Saudi, although it has been a bit silent about it recently and we are now in June 2018.
Anyhow, back to beautiful Saudi, yes, it is incredibly beautiful! There are many historical landmarks with similar origins than what can be found in Petra, Jordan. For my short visit in Riyadh, I took the opportunity to request a visit to the fabulous Edge of the World.
What is the Edge of the World?
The Edge of the World in Saudi Arabia is called as such due to the Tuwaiq escarpment running for around 700 KMs through central Saudi-Arabia. The plateau is filled with beautiful view points and you can encounter Jeeps or Patrols adventuring around and because its views look endless, this was simply the proper name to give to this place.
How to get to the Edge of the World of Saudi
Going yourself can be quite tricky unless you have the GPS coordinates. It is around 90 KMs outside of the city of Riyadh and will take you about 1,5 hours to reach destination. You must go with a 4×4 vehicle as there is no road to get there and the path is very rocky with loose gravel combined with soft sand. Particular to the Middle East, there are some risk takers with regular cars would get there but most of the time they get stuck so go at your own risk! Best is if you know some local or expat friends living in Riyadh to get the route and bring you so you can have a go at driving which is MUCH more fun. It is although recommended if you don’t know anyone to go with a guide. You will unfortunately not be able to drive the car.
Make sure to have the day dedicated for this visit and to leave early to have a minimum of two hours at the location to have a walk and some climbing to reach the actual BIG edge. We unfortunately did not go on that side and had minimal time, but the place we went was quite good enough for us!
Again, driving back to the exit gate is quite tricky so make sure you have 2 hours until sunset. It’s very important to note that the gate closes at 6PM and if you don’t make it before then, you will have to spend the night in the Acacia Valley, which by the way a lot of people stay for camping, so you won’t be alone.
Best time to visit the Edge of the World in Saudi Arabia
Absolutely avoid the summer as it will be HOT and you will have no shaded areas to park to stand under to cover. Our recommended time is to go in the fall or during winter months. During that time, you will most likely have clearer skies and better temperature. We went in February and it was perfect, even though a little bit windy. The place won’t be empty, it is actually known for visitors or expat families to visit on weekends. This means it is best to visit on a weekday to avoid the most crowded times.
Can you hike at the Edge of the World in Saudi Arabia?
Hiking is a possibility yes. Although, as you know, routes are not that explored yet. Better go with a guide that specializes himself on hiking tours. We are looking forward to come back to Saudi to be part of such experiences.
Best way to enjoy the Edge of the World
It would definitely to go with locals that have been there and to walk wherever you want! If we had to do it differently, we would’ve to booked the experience whilst staying at the Four Seasons Riyadh, in which the day excursion begins with a visit of the historic oasis of Ad’Diriyah, a visit of the market centre of Al Bujairy, then straight to the Edge of the World. You will be able to enjoy the views, take photos and have a picnic lunch including traditional Saudi dishes. Later on, a gourmet spread of traditional cuisine and BBQ dishes will be prepared by the chef before heading back to base. Learn more about it here. Experience is only available from October 1 through April 30. Guests must book at least four days in advance.