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Summary: Saudi Arabia

7,103 km in 29 days: Saudi Arabia is a big surprise for us: from day one, the enormous off-road and natural paradise captivates us. Via the new border crossing with Oman we drive into the largest sand desert on earth, the Rub al Khali, and enjoy the 700 km lonely road through red sand and monstrous dunes. Arriving in Riyadh we visit the nearby Edge of the World with its bizarre rock towers and cliffs. We cross the Asir Mountains and drive down and up the wadis a few times, because these mountain roads are the most spectacular, even if trucks are not actually allowed to drive on them. A few old, restored villages reflect romantic beauty through the stone houses and alleys. The Jebel Shada is almost mesmerizingly beautiful because we can’t take our eyes off it and offers breakneck runs that we prefer to do with Shujoo. In Bisha we visit the Dakar Rally for the second time on out world trip (after Argentina) and spend exciting hours on the racetrack in the desert. On the one hand Jeddah is a very modern big city, but with its old houses with the typical wooden balconies it offers also romantic flair. In the Red Sea we go snorkeling, which is forbidden as well as swimming. In the Harrat Khaybar area we visit the white/black volcano, experience great off-road routes and indescribable nature again. The breathtaking nature experiences continue like this: We discover bizarre rocks of all sizes and formations, from split to arches to mushrooms, everything is included. Al Ula with the rock tombs of the Nabataeans in Hegra including the surrounding area is again indescribable, even if a lot has been closed off for a national park in the meantime, but at least the protected Arabian leopards should be happy. The Wadi Disha is a highlight in itself. Rugged, steep cliffs towering into the sky, meter-high reeds and beautiful slopes await us. One word best describes the landscapes of Saudi: Breathtaking. The people here are also extremely nice. It is almost impossible to refuse an invitation. In terms of tourism, the country is still at the very early stages and still has a lot to do in this transformation. But this way you have the feeling of being able to really explore a country instead of relying on a travel book. However, many tourist sights are closed or are currently being extensively and oversized renovated. It’s a huge country full of beauties and lots of potential.

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