JEDDAH: The Saudi Tourism Authority announced the launch of the Saudi Winter Season, starting Dec. 10 until the end of March 2021, with hundreds of activities and adventures, including hiking trails.
Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities among adventure-seeking people in the Kingdom. It has gained interest in recent years with the government’s promotion of domestic tourism.
The Kingdom’s diverse climate and geography offers many hiking experiences. “The Edge of the World” is a hiker’s favorite place, especially in the fall and winter seasons.
“The Edge of the World,” also known as Jebel Fihrayn, is a dramatic geological wonder in the rocky desert about 90 km
The site earned its nickname because of the panoramic views of the plains from its highest point.
What distinguishes the experience with this winter season is that the tourism authority is now providing packages for tourists that include camping, horse and camel riding, quad biking, sand skiing, and more.
Al-Sharaf Park in Tanoma, Asir, has another hiking destination which was inaugurated this year by the Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation.
It has two different tracks for beginners and experienced hikers in the midst of the charming greenery of the region.
Dakka Mountain in Al-Shafa in Taif is also one of the most prominent Saudi hiking areas and destinations. It is an extension of the Hijaz mountain range which rises about 2,500 meters above the sea level, making it one of the top attractions for tourists to explore.
Salma Idrees, 23, an amateur hiker from Jeddah, thinks such campaigns will encourage many to explore tourist sites in the country.
“I very much enjoy hiking but I’m not experienced, I have been hiking with groups in locations near Jeddah, but never tried it elsewhere,” Idrees told Arab News.
She added: “However, I believe it is a wonderful therapeutic experience where you immerse yourself in the outdoors and I would love to make it more adventurous.”
She is planning to visit Riyadh soon and make the most out of her trip and experience as many desert adventures as she can.
Khalid Siddiq is an experienced adventurer from Riyadh who has found his escape in the desert in winter since 2012.
“The beauty of the current tourism campaigns is that they target different groups of society,” Siddiq told Arab News. “It, of course, offers very suitable tourist options for everyone, especially with the diversity of the weather between northern, central and eastern Saudi Arabia.”
However, for an adventurer like Siddiq who had been to around 60 countries, the lack of tourist services and adequate infrastructure has never been a problem for him.
The winter season aims to attract domestic tourists and GCC nationals to more than 17 destinations across the Kingdom, with over 300 experiences and packages offered by more than 200 private sector establishments.
Tickets can be booked on the Visit Saudi app by the Ministry of Tourism.