This time on Blue Abaya’s Wanderlust Wednesday KSA series featured are the Crown Jewels of Saudi Arabia’s travel treasures; the Farasan Islands in Jizan Province. One of the last places on earth where you can explore and discover such a unique natural habitat without another soul in sight.
Located approximately 50km off the coast of Jizan in the Red Sea, the Farasan archipelago consists of 176 islands. The islands are formed of elevated coral reefs and fossils, which is why they are mostly flat with shallow shores and scarce vegetation. The mangroves, beaches and underwater world are the true stunners of Farasan’s beauty though.
This region also contains the Farasan Island Marine Protected Area, established in 1996. The Marine Protected Area covers approximately 3,310 km2 and includes about 128 islands and 18 shoals, including the three largest and only permanently inhabited islands (Farasan al-Kebir, Sajeed and Gumah). Farasan Islands are also home to the endangered Farasan Gazelle and many species of birds use the shores as their nesting grounds.
The Farasan islands and nearby reefs are a divers paradise. A rich marine life and colorful coral reefs remain mostly unaffected by tourism or divers. No diving centers are based on the Island and divers are expected to bring their own gear from the mainland.
Farasan Islands have a rich history. There are many interesting historical places to explore such as an Ottoman fort, historical village, old mosques, pearl merchant’s homes and coral houses.
The islands can be reached via a free ferry from the port of Jizan twice daily. Although the islands are becoming more and more popular as a tourist destination, they remain mostly underdeveloped and tourists should not expect to find many facilities there.
More Wanderlust Wednesday Posts on Blue Abaya:
Read about the unique flora and fauna of the Farasan Islands: Farasan Archipelago Nature Reserve
Learn more about Farasan Islands on the Saudi Tourism site
Discover more beautiful places in Saudi Arabia: Explore KSA