RIYADH: The King Khalid Royal Reserve covers 1,162 sq. km and is situated northeast of the capital city of Riyadh. It is managed by the Imam Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Royal Reserve Development Authority and has natural attractions, structures, and geological formations that make it a distinctive and alluring tourist destination.
The Khashm Al-Thumama, which rises 810 meters above sea level and is regarded as the most significant khashm in the reserve, is the tallest peak in the Al-Urma mountain range, which spans around 700 km in the east-central region of the Arabian Peninsula.
Sedimentary rocks, some of which are dazzling white in color, make up the mountain range. These rocks break down into white sand that covers several valleys and reefs, including Al-Thumama Valley, as a result of factors related to erosion which creates white valleys with acacia trees and other vegetation. These rocks distinguish themselves from the light brown sedimentary rocks of other groups.
Al-Thumama is attractive for ecotourism activities. It boasts several species of wild trees and shrubs, along with rock formations and cavities filled with white sand, reflecting the beauty of the natural environment.
Additionally, it features paved mountain climbing trails constructed in accordance with international standards and specifications that cover environmental sustainability and visitor safety.
Al-Urma’s valleys are surrounded by lowlands and floodplains, including Al-Batin in the western part. However, most of them are situated in the eastern portion, in places like the Khuraim and Umm Al-Qata floodplains in the royal reserve.
Before arriving at its destination and irrigating the ground, water travels through the valleys for many kilometers. The ground is covered later in the year with seasonal and pastoral plants.
The authority launched Urma Winter Season last year and has adopted Urma as a trademark, registering it with the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property.
It carries great geological significance, with its rocks telling historic tales while featuring stone inscriptions thousands of years old.