Saudi Arabia’s Soudah Peaks: the luxury mountain destination at the Kingdom’s highest point

Visitors and residents will have abundant opportunities to enjoy Soudah Peaks with year-round outdoor activities in the clean, cool mountain air, from mountain trails and hiking paths to paragliding, mountain biking, horse riding, and zip-lining. (Supplied)
Visitors and residents will have abundant opportunities to enjoy Soudah Peaks with year-round outdoor activities in the clean, cool mountain air, from mountain trails and hiking paths to paragliding, mountain biking, horse riding, and zip-lining. (Supplied)
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Updated 10 December 2023
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Saudi Arabia’s Soudah Peaks: the luxury mountain destination at the Kingdom’s highest point

Saudi Arabia’s Soudah Peaks: the luxury mountain destination at the Kingdom’s highest point
  • The area stands 3,015 meters above sea level and offers adventurers, thrill-seekers, and lovers of serenity a special place in Asir

RIYADH: Soudah Peaks, a sustainable luxury mountain destination under construction by the Public Investment Fund’s Soudah Development, lies in the southwest region of Saudi Arabia.

It stands 3,015 meters above sea level — the highest point in the Kingdom — and will offer adventurers, thrill-seekers, and lovers of serenity a special place in Aseer.

“Soudah Development and Soudah Peaks, as a destination that our company has been developing under the ownership of the Public Investment Fund … we believe, has done something very, very important,” said Srdan Susic, chief sustainability officer at Soudah Development. “Out of 630 sq. km under Soudah Development, we are developing only a small portion of it. So, the built footprint is not going to be very, very large.”

He added 28 percent of the land being used has been placed under numerous forms of natural protection.

Daniel McBrearty, chief development officer for the company, said: “The masterplan for Soudah Peaks epitomizes meticulous design within a sustainable environmental framework, reflecting an unwavering commitment to responsible development. Acknowledging the region’s rich biodiversity, Soudah Development is dedicated to preserving and nurturing these invaluable assets.”




Visitors and residents will have abundant opportunities to enjoy Soudah Peaks with year-round outdoor activities in the clean, cool mountain air, from mountain trails and hiking paths to paragliding, mountain biking, horse riding, and zip-lining. (Supplied)

Susic added that this information is important for the PIF-backed developer to enhance and extend protective coverage of the area.

“We are very keen on restoring around 19 priority cultural heritage sites. The ecosystems around us have been very productive in the past, and this allowed the local communities to build significant assets like old houses, old palaces, old mosques, old integrated villages … some of them we hope to see on UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list,” he said.

Part of these efforts include a partnership with the National Center for Wildlife, which witnessed the recent release of 10 Arabian mountain gazelles into the wild, with the aim of reintroducing more wildlife to enhance biodiversity.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Part of these efforts include a partnership with the National Center for Wildlife, which witnessed the recent release of 10 Arabian mountain gazelles into the wild, with the aim of reintroducing more wildlife to enhance biodiversity.

• As well as support endangered animals, the developers’ environmental initiatives will plant 1 million trees by 2030 and rehabilitate parks and forests to enhance vegetation cover, conserve biodiversity and restore ecosystems. 

As well as support endangered animals, the developers’ environmental initiatives will plant 1 million trees by 2030 and rehabilitate parks and forests to enhance vegetation cover, conserve biodiversity and restore ecosystems.

Visitors and residents will have abundant opportunities to enjoy Soudah Peaks with year-round outdoor activities in the clean, cool mountain air, from mountain trails and hiking paths to paragliding, mountain biking, horse riding, zip-lining and more. An 18-hole golf course will sit atop the Soudah plateau with stunning views and average temperatures of 20 C.

The serene settings will offer nature lovers a chance to enjoy national parks, a network of hiking trails, local farms and find harmony with nature through a collection of luxury wellness experiences including exclusive eco-spa resorts, meditation centers and yoga retreats.




Visitors and residents will have abundant opportunities to enjoy Soudah Peaks with year-round outdoor activities in the clean, cool mountain air, from mountain trails and hiking paths to paragliding, mountain biking, horse riding, and zip-lining. (Supplied)

Soudah is also home to a rich tapestry of traditional folk music, poetry, art, locally produced honey, coffee farms and local customs passed down over generations. There are more than 200 documented heritage sites, from hamlets, mosques and minarets to watchtowers and mountain forts, and many will be considered for inclusion on the UNESCO List of World Heritage Sites.

There will also be 80,000 square meters of retail area, more than 30 additional attractions, 1,336 residential units, and 2,700 hospitality keys.

“The project encompasses six unique districts — Tahlal, Sahab, Sabrah, Jareen, Rijal, and Red Rock — each offering world-class facilities, from hotels, luxury mountain resorts, and chalets to villas, premium residential units, and diverse entertainment options,” said McBrearty.

Soudah Development and Soudah Peaks, as a destination that our company has been developing under the ownership of the Public Investment Fund … we believe, has done something very, very important.

Srdan Susic, Chief sustainability officer at Soudah Development

“Each district is curated with a different emphasis to cater to sports, adventure, wellness, and cultural enthusiasts. Soudah Peaks’ development is structured across three phases … (with) phase one encompassing over 940 hotel keys, 340 residential units, and 32,000 square meters of retail space.”

Tahlal will serve as the primary hub for tourists, offering upscale dining and shopping, hospitality, entertainment, and conference spaces, all within a sustainable ecosystem. Perched atop Soudah, it offers breathtaking views of the Sarawat Mountains.

The clifftop Sahab district will provide thrilling attractions, mountain experiences, and a hub centered around mountain sports, including hiking, paragliding, biking and zip-lining. A high-altitude performance and rehabilitation center will offer top-notch training facilities for extreme athletes.




Visitors and residents will have abundant opportunities to enjoy Soudah Peaks with year-round outdoor activities in the clean, cool mountain air, from mountain trails and hiking paths to paragliding, mountain biking, horse riding, and zip-lining. (Supplied)

Sahab will also feature 15 glamping pods, over 360 luxurious hotel rooms, serviced apartments, and commercial spaces for entertainment.

Sabrah district, which will be a remote luxury residential and hospitality destination with a wellness spa, yoga pavilion, and meditation retreats, is located on the southern plateau of Soudah Peaks. It offers peace and tranquility, with 180 different types of premium hotel rooms, 350 opulent second homes, and commercial spaces to support the residential community, all surrounded by an authentic integration within the natural landscape.

With Soudah’s green agricultural landscape, Jareen district will adopt a sincere approach to fostering a sense of connection with the natural world. Hiking paths meandering through the heritage sites and agricultural landscape, along with culinary excursions to small organic coffee and honey farms, are sure to delight nature lovers. Jareen will have 35 distinctive glamping pods with a range of boutique stores and dining options perched on the mountainside.




Visitors and residents will have abundant opportunities to enjoy Soudah Peaks with year-round outdoor activities in the clean, cool mountain air, from mountain trails and hiking paths to paragliding, mountain biking, horse riding, and zip-lining. (Supplied)

The Rijal district will offer opportunities to experience authentic culture and heritage by fusing the past, present, and future. This destination, which is surrounded by historic architecture and situated within the Rijal Almaa heritage village, will combine park areas and outdoor event space to provide a variety of year-round events. Rijal will have 80 boutique hotel rooms with chic, heritage-inspired luxury interiors, as well as boutique stores and real food options.

Situated amidst natural parkland on the plateau of Soudah Mountain, nature lovers will discover an abundance of activities including peaceful glamping sites, nature reserves, horseback riding, and cycling trails at the Red Rock district. It will also have 170 upscale boutique hotel rooms and distinctive restaurants perched atop a cliff with views of Red Rock Mountain.

Commencing in 2024, phase one is expected to be completed by 2027, marking the point at which Soudah Peaks will be ready to welcome tourists. This timeline aligns with the overarching plan for the destination to unfold gradually. Abha currently has airport access of 222 flights per week, including 34 international flights.

 

Decoder

Soudah Peaks

Soudah Peaks, the highest point Saudi Arabia at 3,015 meters above sea level, is located in the southwest region of Aseer. It is being developed as a luxury mountain destination for adventurers, thrill-seekers, and lovers of serenity. Phase 1 of the project will start in 2024 and is expected to be completed by 2027.


Warnings issued after NCM forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain

Warnings issued after NCM forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain
Updated 04 March 2024
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Warnings issued after NCM forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain

Warnings issued after NCM forecasts thunderstorms, heavy rain
  • NCM forecasts inclement weather in some parts of the Kingdom until Tuesday
  • Civil Defense calls on everyone to take caution and adhere to its instructions

RIYADH: People are warned to be careful after the National Centre of Meteorology forecast inclement weather in some parts of the Kingdom until Tuesday.

The Civil Defense Directorate said: “Forecasts from the NCM indicate heavy rains in the Riyadh region, including the capital Riyadh, Diriyah, Afif, Dawadmi, Al-Quway’iyah, Al-Aflaj, Hotat Bani Tamim, Al-Hareeq, Al-Zulfi, Al-Ghat, Shaqraa, Al-Majma’ah, Al-Muzahimiyah, Rumah, Marat (and) Huraymila from Sunday.

“The Civil Defense calls on everyone to take caution and adhere to its instructions. Your cooperation is needed. Your safety is our goal.”

The authority has previously warned residents against crossing flowing valleys and canyons as this can be dangerous with potentially fatal consequences.

The NCM has said most regions will experience cloudy weather, thunderstorms and rain until Tuesday.

It has issued warnings of moderate thunderstorms accompanied by strong winds reaching speeds of over 50 km per hour, leading to hailstorms, sandstorms and high waves along coastal areas. This is expected to affect the Jazan, Baha and Asir regions.

The Makkah and Madinah regions are expected to experience light to moderate rainfall.

The forecasts also indicate that some areas will remain overcast and wet until the weekend.

Riyadh had hazy sunshine on Monday. The minimum recorded temperature was 14 C, and the maximum was 27 C.


Saudi project clears 669 Houthi mines in Yemen

Saudi project clears 669 Houthi mines in Yemen
Updated 04 March 2024
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Saudi project clears 669 Houthi mines in Yemen

Saudi project clears 669 Houthi mines in Yemen
  • The explosives, which were planted indiscriminately by the Houthis across Yemen, posed a threat to civilians, including children, women and the elderly

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Project Masam cleared 669 mines in Yemen — which had been planted by the Houthi militia — between Feb. 24 and March 1, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Overseen by the Kingdom’s aid agency KSrelief, the project’s special teams destroyed 537 items of unexploded ordnance, 109 anti-tank mines, and 23 anti-personnel mines.

The explosives, which were planted indiscriminately by the Houthis across Yemen, posed a threat to civilians, including children, women and the elderly.

Project Masam is one of several initiatives undertaken by Saudi Arabia at the request of King Salman, which has cleared routes for humanitarian aid to reach the country’s citizens.

The demining operations took place in Marib, Aden, Jouf, Shabwa, Taiz, Hodeidah, Lahij, Sanaa, Al-Bayda, Al-Dhale and Saada.

A total of 434,002 mines have been cleared since the start of the initiative in 2018, according to Ousama Al-Gosaibi, the project’s managing director.

These include 275,891 items of unexploded ordnance, 143,621 anti-tank mines, 8,001 improvised explosive devices, and 6,489 anti-personnel mines.

The initiative trains local demining engineers and provides them with modern equipment. It also offers support to Yemenis injured by the devices.

About 5 million people have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the conflict in Yemen, many of them displaced by the presence of land mines.

Masam teams are tasked with clearing villages, roads and schools to facilitate the safe movement of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The project’s contract was extended for another year in June 2023 at a cost of $33.29 million.


Saudi crown prince congratulates newly elected prime minister of Pakistan

Saudi crown prince congratulates newly elected prime minister of Pakistan
Updated 04 March 2024
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Saudi crown prince congratulates newly elected prime minister of Pakistan

Saudi crown prince congratulates newly elected prime minister of Pakistan

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman has congratulated Mohammed Shahbaz Sharif, on the occasion of being sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The Crown Prince sent a cable to Sharif on Monday expressing “his sincere congratulations and best wishes for success and prosperity for his country, and for the brotherly people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, further progress and prosperity,” the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

Pakistan’s newly elected lower house of parliament on Sunday elected Shehbaz Sharif as prime minister for a second time, putting him back in a role he had stepped down from ahead of general elections on Feb. 8. 

Sharif, the candidate for his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and coalition allies, secured a comfortable win over Omar Ayub Khan of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) backed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party of jailed former PM Imran Khan.


Saudi civil defense joins search and rescue exercise in Tunisia

Saudi civil defense joins search and rescue exercise in Tunisia
Updated 04 March 2024
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Saudi civil defense joins search and rescue exercise in Tunisia

Saudi civil defense joins search and rescue exercise in Tunisia

RIYADH: The Saudi General Directorate of Civil Defense is taking part in a collaborative mission with the Kingdom’s search and rescue team in Tunisia.

The White Operation Hypothesis exercise is being held until March 7, reported the Saudi Press Agency, and underlines the ongoing cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Tunisia in civil protection and defense.

It aims to use hands-on experience to bolster the capabilities and knowledge base of the international search and rescue team.

The exercise features various simulated scenarios involving rubble and water, providing an opportunity for valuable practical training.


KSrelief provides aid for orphans in Albania

KSrelief provides aid for orphans in Albania
Updated 04 March 2024
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KSrelief provides aid for orphans in Albania

KSrelief provides aid for orphans in Albania

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s aid agency KSrelief is collaborating with the Muslim community in Albania to support orphans in the country.

Monthly financial assistance will be provided to 206 beneficiaries in 10 provinces covering healthcare, education and living expenses.

The project includes weekly education sessions on community and social interaction.

KSrelief has successfully implemented a collaborative project with the Muslim Community of Albania. (SPA)

Elsewhere, KSrelief has provided 645 food parcels to the most vulnerable and displaced families in the Northern State of Sudan, benefiting 3,870 individuals.

In Yemen, KSrelief continued its mine-clearance project, Masam. Its operators successfully dismantled 669 mines across various regions during the fourth week of February.

These included 23 anti-personnel mines, 109 anti-tank mines, and 537 unexploded ordnance.