Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

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A man enjoys climbing in the area known as ‘Edge of the World’ outside Riyadh. Flicker
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A beautiful view of the valley. Getty Images/Shutterstock
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Camel-riding in the desert
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Updated 19 April 2018
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Height of adventure: Treading the ‘Edge of the World’ near Riyadh

  • Cliffs in Tuwaiq were formed as a result of the movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift
  • Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site

Thrill seekers and fitness gurus all over the Kingdom will be pleased to know that their choices for weekend activities have increased. 

Several tour operators in Riyadh have started offering trips to the area known as the Edge of the World, making the location more accessible than ever.

With the country’s obesity rates on the rise and many citizens growing more concerned about their physical health and stress levels, people are seeking ways to maintain their fitness without having to restrict themselves to the monotony of a gym routine.

One such solution that has steadily increased in popularity over the past year is hiking, which many have embraced as being much more exciting and fulfilling than spending hours on the treadmill. And most popular of all for hiking and other fitness activities in a natural setting is the magnificent landmark of Jabal Fihrayn, more commonly known as the Edge of the World.

Described as a “window framed by rock,” the Edge of the World offers stunning views of the valley below, a lush grove of acacia trees teeming with wildlife and vegetation. The spot is well-known for being a favorite of visiting picnickers.

Hikers can choose from several trails of varying levels of difficulty, making their way to the top of the Tuwaiq escarpment to take in the magnificent views at the top of the trail, where the colossal cliff faces drop off to reveal the dizzying height from the valley below. In addition to the rich wildlife unique to the location, you can also find samples of fossilized coral and raw mineral deposits in certain areas of the valley.

The cliffs in the areas were formed as a result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate toward the northeast because of the spread of the Red Sea rift situated 1,000 km to the west of Tuwaiq.

Due to the increasing popularity of the site, the authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites and arrangements are in place to protect the area and its natural treasures. 

Several prominent Saudi tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site. The more intrepid explorer also has the option to go alone; though past visitors recommend that solo travelers take an all-terrain, 4x4 vehicle and extra precaution. Visitors can spend the day at the site and leave before 6 p.m. (when the gates are closed for the night) or stay behind for a night of camping to enjoy the sunset and the breathtaking celestial views of a star-studded night sky.

Nora Alfard, amateur hiking enthusiast and two-time visitor to the location, was quick to offer praise about her trip. 

“The trip out there was a bit tiring, but totally worth it,” she said. “The views are stunning, and the hiking itself is not that difficult. Most people should be able to make it to the top without too much trouble.” She said she was likely to go a third time, and encouraged others to do the same.

The Edge of the World is roughly 100km northwest of Riyadh, about 1.5 hours’ drive from the capital. Visitors should be prepared for at least 30 minutes of hiking, possibly more depending on your trail and your level of fitness and experience. Previous visitors recommend bringing water and snacks, and stress the importance of dressing appropriately — hiking shoes only!

Decoder

What is hiking?

Hiking means a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails in the countryside. Day hikers generally carry at least food, a map or a GPS navigation device.


Saudi women incubate creative ideas for community development

Updated 18 August 2018
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Saudi women incubate creative ideas for community development

JEDDAH: The Halcyon Incubator fellowship on Friday concluded a program in Washington, DC for a group of Saudi female pioneers in social development.
Fourteen Saudi innovators working in community development on Thursday gave presentations on seven ambitious projects that highlight applications that they are seeking to implement.
The seven Saudi projects highlighted a number of unique applications, such as the online on-click link between dentists, lab technicians and labs, whose design has shown that it will make a major social change in its country and will save waiting for medical appointments and reports.
Another online project helps children with autism to improve communication skills through games and educational activities.
Another focuses on linking history and modern technology in many languages to improve tourism and make it easier for pilgrims to visit the country.
It also presented practical projects such as “Green Desert,” which seeks to contribute to solving the problem of lack of waste recycling culture in Saudi Arabia.
During his visit to the Halcyon Incubator, the director of innovation and entrepreneurship at Taibah University, Dr. Mohammed Al-Ghamdi, praised its development of social projects. He also congratulated the group of Saudi women for their innovative excellence.
The Saudi Innovations Group has spent two weeks working in the hospitality of the Halcyon Incubator, which has been named the “Kingfisher” as a symbol.
The organization seeks to promote creativity in all its forms throughout the world by stimulating and supporting creators who seek to promote the good in their communities.
The annual program of the Halcyon Incubator sponsors various groups of change-makers in the fields of arts and social projects and provides them with an environment that incubates their bold ideas and helps them to learn, gain experience and knowledge and provide them with free trial opportunities to enhance their talents and visions and transform them into influential energies in society.