Eid vacation is just a few days away and if you’re one of those people fleeing town for the next couple of days, good for you. If you’re not, then join me and the rest of the Riyadhizens who are staying put in the city for the rest of this 10-day vacation and read on. The locals have it going for them as Eid is a traditional, celebratory event with invitiations to home gatherings, gift-giving and spending quality, family time. For expats who are off work and are probably agonizing over having to lull around the corners of their bedrooms next week, this article is for you. We’re listing our suggestions of where to go on a road trip with your friends to explore, take photos, camp out or simply make the most out of the Eid vacation this 2017. As we always say, try something new! Are you ready? #LetsGoRiyadhizens
The Hidden Canyon
One of the posts that got viral on our Facebook earlier this year (and stolen by some other social media accounts) was about the Hidden Canyon. One of our followers, @umartawrick on Instagram privately sent us the photos of his visit to the place and encouraged us to share it with our followers. Thank you, Umar! The credit is truly yours.
For those who missed that post, the Hidden Canyon is an agglomeration of desert rock formations with astonishingly clear waters in between. It is about 130 kilometers outside of Riyadh and would require some form of trekking on your part. I would say that it is not so suitable for families, especially with small children as it can be quite dangerous to traverse. But for the adventurous adults who don’t mind jumping in, by all means explore. Some people reported that some areas were dried up but others would claim otherwise. Our bet is that you may have to circle the entire vicinity to make sure that you find the vantage point where the water is constant. Although in this current weather, we can’t help it if mother nature does her thing.
Rawdat Khuraim (King’s Forest)
Massage your eyesight with some green scenery for a change at the King’s Forest, known to Saudis as Rawdat Khuraim. The late King Abdullah inaugurated this wildlife park back in 2005 but nowadays, only the nature park has been made available to the public. It is also around 100+ kilometers away from Riyadh but is home to lots of trees, flora and fauna and is adjacent to the Al-Dahna Desert, Valleys of Wadi Khuwash, Watheelan and Al Thumama — so there’s plenty to explore nearby. The place is ideal for those who are soul searching and would like to be at peace with nature either by lying under a tree or taking a long walk along the grass. Families can also find it suitable for camping overnight as camp sites are situated in some parts of the park.
King Abdulaziz Field Equestrian
Interested in horsing around? Just kidding. But seriously, how often do we see horses here in Riyadh anyway? Not so often right? But the truth is, horse racing is a part of Saudi culture dating back to the time of King Abdulaziz, founder of Saudi Arabia. Measures have always been in place to sustain the sport throughout the years and the King Abdulaziz Equestrian Club is at the forefront of such means. The racecourse is of international standards and even some competitions are held here. For those who simply want to enjoy the show, there are viewing areas on the grounds and up on the deck, where a panoramic view of the track can be seen. There has been a lot of praise for the restaurant’s buffet on Foursquare so if you wish, you can book a reservation and have lunch there while watching the horses race below. If you are interested in become a trainer or a jockey, the club also offers membership and access to these for a fee.
Al Namar Lake
Also known as Wadi Namar, it is essentially a 2-kilometer long corniche overlooking the Wadi Namar Dam Lake. The Commission for Development of Arriyadh rehabilitated this area around five to six years ago and is now a popular destination for families who prefer a picturesque location by a body of water. It is accessible at just around 15 kilometers or so within the city center and is spacious enough to go jogging, biking and even kite-flying. Ducks and fish have been sighted in the lake though fishing is not allowed. It can be crowded on weekends, but if you like people watching, then why not?
No there won’t be camels striding beside you in this area but there were probably who did during ancient times. The Camel Trail is a geographical sight that is fitting for hikers. A path zigzags its way to the desert floor and provides unlimited exposure to the sun and sand around you. I would not suggest visiting this area at high noon unless you want to be baked alive, but would rather encourage a sunset/sunrise visit to enjoy the horizon. Bring a large carpet with you and set up a bonfire for something different and feel free to share stories and barbecue with your buddies. Lie down and mesmerize at the wide sky at night for an uninterrupted view of the stars.
Clearly, a vacation in the middle of the desert can’t be all that bad! You just need to do your research and read up on visitor comments and study the maps. If you’ll be visiting these places, we just want to reiterate that please, please, PLEASE look after your trash and don’t leave them littered in these precious spots of interest. We would not want to contribute to the pollution of these beautiful locations. Also, since it’s summer, lather on some sunscreen while traveling and hiking and make sure you have enough battery to spare after all those photos and selfies that you’re going to take.
For more travel options within Riyadh and Saudi Arabia, simply go to the Travel Section of our blog and scroll thru our past entries. There’s many to choose from! You just got to get up and go. 😉
Enjoy your Eid vacation!