Last weekend we were driving around a village West of Riyadh looking for a plot of land we wanted to check out. Because of the beautiful sand dunes nearby and lovely weather, we decided to explore the area further. Following a small road past some majestic rock formations we proceeded on to a dirt road and soon came across a picturesque valley surrounded by Red Sand dunes. The area was truly breath-taking and best of all, blooming with flowers!This year the desert has gotten plenty of rain water which has resulted in flowers and grass sprouting out from the sand and rocks everywhere. Further down the valley a plethora of different flower species could be found. Surprisingly, there was nobody around. Usually places this close to Riyadh (such as Kharrarah National Park nearby) are packed with families having picnics and hoards of youngsters on quad bikes creating clouds of dust and noise. Most unfortunately, there’s lots of trash and garbage scattered around the dunes.
The only people around were on a small farm and a goat herder tending to a large pack of black goats. We later saw camels on their way up the dunes, going to who knows where?
We let the kids ‘on the loose’ and they were absolutely thrilled with the vast open space. They jumped, crawled, dug into and swam in the sand dunes, running around like headless chickens squealing with joy. My heart and mind were at peace as I watched the children frolicking freely.
It was a cloudy and chilly day and this area can get very windy. I can imagine that during the upcoming sandstorm season this area would become very dusty. We found a place amidst the dunes where the strong wind didn’t reach but on the higher ground it was quite strong. There should be flowers in this area for another month or two depending on the weather. The ground underneath the sand was still wet which means the underground water reserves are full. There’s a barbwire fence and behind it there’s more sand dunes and a track which could only be done with a 4×4. The fence can be passed on from the right side.
Directions from Riyadh:
From the Diplomatic Quarter take the Mecca highway West, pass the large check-point and continue down the escarpment. You will pass the exit Dirab, then after a few more km you will reach Muzahmiyah, this is where the Lake Kharrarah is. Still continuing along the Mecca highway, you will soon reach a town called Jauw. Shortly after you will see a HUGE farm on the right side of the road called Aziziyah farm. Right after the farm wall ends there;s a tarmac road that starts next to it on the right. Turn on this road and continue straight. You will see some large rock faces in front of you, drive past them and the road begins to curve to the left. Soon you will pass another huge farm with a mile long wall on the right side. Continue until you see the sign for a village that turns left and the road you’re on becomes a dirt road. Go on the dirt tracks and drive past a few small farms until the end of this road. You are now in the valley and the Red Sand dunes will be to your right and directly in front of you. Most of the flowers are to the right hand side. If you drive to the left there are some nice trees to picnic under.
Please don’t leave any trash behind, take everything with you back to the city!
Google map location I pinned where we parked the car.
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