‘Jeddah Go Outdoors’ offers hiking trips to experience Saudi Arabia’s natural splendor

Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)
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Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)
‘Jeddah Go Outdoors’ offers hiking trips to experience Saudi Arabia’s natural splendor
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Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)
‘Jeddah Go Outdoors’ offers hiking trips to experience Saudi Arabia’s natural splendor
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Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)
‘Jeddah Go Outdoors’ offers hiking trips to experience Saudi Arabia’s natural splendor
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Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)
‘Jeddah Go Outdoors’ offers hiking trips to experience Saudi Arabia’s natural splendor
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Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)
‘Jeddah Go Outdoors’ offers hiking trips to experience Saudi Arabia’s natural splendor
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Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)
‘Jeddah Go Outdoors’ offers hiking trips to experience Saudi Arabia’s natural splendor
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Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)
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Updated 12 February 2024
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‘Jeddah Go Outdoors’ offers hiking trips to experience Saudi Arabia’s natural splendor

‘Jeddah Go Outdoors’ offers hiking trips to experience Saudi Arabia’s natural splendor
  • Founded by hiking enthusiasts, Jeddah Go Outdoors gives chance to explore Kingdom’s natural beauty

JEDDAH: The urge to explore and reconnect with nature is at the heart of Jeddah Go Outdoors, a Saudi organization unlocking adventures in the Kingdom.

Founded by Ahmed Shatta, Maher Indijani, and Mohammed Jafrawi, Jeddah Go Outdoors regularly organizes trips inspired by their own passion for hiking.




Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)

Shatta fell in love with walking and spending time in nature with his friends and fellow students while he was studying in the US. He then wanted to put his newfound hiking skills into practice when he returned to Saudi Arabia.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Founded by Ahmed Shatta, Maher Indijani, and Mohammed Jafrawi, Jeddah Go Outdoors regularly organizes trips inspired by their own passion for hiking.

• As experienced hikers, their forays outside the Kingdom are learning experiences that they use to their advantage.

• With a workforce composed entirely of women, Jeddah Go Outdoors has also been able to cater to women who desire privacy during these adventures.

In Jeddah, Shatta began hiking with his friends in 2014. At the time, hiking was not particularly common, and the only people who joined him on these expeditions were foreigners. Now, Shatta and his friends are making the activity more accessible and organized for locals and tourists, and creating opportunities to appreciate the wonders of the Kingdom’s diverse landscape.




Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)

“The idea to start a tour group and get people out of their houses to explore the countryside came about because I felt that everyone should be able to observe and appreciate the beauty and wealth of our nature between mountains, lands, and weather,” Shatta told Arab News.

With the inception of that idea, along with Jafrawi and Indijani, Shatta created the tourism foundation that is now approved and licensed by the Ministry of Tourism.




Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)

They started by traveling domestically throughout the Kingdom, and later expanded to international trips to explore places like Georgia, Oman, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and more.

As experienced hikers, their forays outside the Kingdom are learning experiences that they use to their advantage. “Our overseas travels have given us a wealth of knowledge from our hiking experiences outside of the Kingdom. For instance, while in Oman, we discovered they had a 20 km walking tour. We learned how to do it and used it to organize and prepare an adventure here on our visits,” he said.




Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)

Their trips are not limited to hiking as they also organize zipline adventures and biking trips: “What sets us apart are our affordable rates and our array of packages, which include hiking meditation, challenging hiking, and even a fantastic bike ride in Jeddah’s Al-Balad area, where we all ride our bikes and take in the breathtaking views of the UNESCO World Heritage Site,” Shatta added.

People should venture outside of their comfort zone and explore that nature, rather than being enmeshed in mundane occupations and everyday responsibilities.

Ahmed Shatta, Jeddah Go Outdoors co-founder

Shatta and his companions take trips frequently and have added a lot of exciting elements to the experiences, like Egyptian Night, Levant Night, Kuwaiti Night, and more.

His purpose is to link humans with the natural world around them, and thus far they have served over 70,000 people.




Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)

“We fulfilled several government contracts, such as the one from the Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation to map out a path through Al-Baha. We created the route after winning the bid,” he said.

With a workforce composed entirely of women, Jeddah Go Outdoors has also been able to cater to women who desire privacy during these adventures.




Jeddah Go Outdoors makes hiking and other outdoor activities more accessible and organized for both locals and tourists, while also providing opportunity to explore Saudi Arabia’s diverse nature. (Supplied)

Being an IT specialist, Shatta was also able to develop the website with a simple booking system. He is currently working on a platform that unites all travel agencies in the Kingdom and their operating systems, enabling them to showcase their deals and tickets for their experiences: “Since we have a large client database, we have decided to assist other Saudi tourism businesses in joining this platform so they can advertise their services there and generate income.”

His job necessitates him spending a lot of time in front of a computer, much like most people these days working corporate jobs.

“People should venture outside of their comfort zone and explore that nature, rather than being enmeshed in mundane occupations and everyday responsibilities,” he says.

 

 


Founding Day is a day for Saudis to celebrate their roots, says expert on Diriyah’s heritage and culture

Founding Day is a day for Saudis to celebrate their roots, says expert on Diriyah’s heritage and culture
Updated 22 February 2024
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Founding Day is a day for Saudis to celebrate their roots, says expert on Diriyah’s heritage and culture

Founding Day is a day for Saudis to celebrate their roots, says expert on Diriyah’s heritage and culture
  • ‘We celebrate the long journey of a great nation,’ says Zean Alshirian, senior officer for cultural and historical validation at Diriyah Gate Development Authority
  • Founding Day, on Feb. 22, marks the establishment of the First Saudi State in 1727, while National Day, on Sept. 23, marks the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932

RIYADH: Saudis across the Kingdom will celebrate their lineage, heritage and national identity on Feb. 22 at events marking the third annual Founding Day, which commemorates the establishment of the First Saudi State by Imam Mohammed bin Saud almost 300 years ago.

“We’re celebrating rich and deep history … as Saudis, we celebrate the long journey of a great nation,” Zean Alshirian, senior officer for cultural and historical validation at Diriyah Gate Development Authority, told Arab News.

Founding Day, which was established as a national holiday by royal decree in 2022, is a celebration of Saudi identity, she said, a day that connects the nation’s people to their roots and heritage. As such, it honors the first step on a path that led to the modern-day Kingdom, she added.

The First Saudi State, or the Emirate of Diriyah, was founded in 1727 by Imam Mohammed. Known for his bravery, leadership skills and generosity, he brought security and stability to Diriyah and under his leadership it flourished, becoming a hub for culture, commerce and education.

“The first treasury of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was here in Diriyah, in At-Turaif, (which is now) a UNESCO World Heritage Site,” said Alshirian. “This treasury was built to allocate (resources to meet) the needs of the people here. And that speaks to the peak of where the First Saudi State actually reached.”

The First Saudi State, its development, which was advanced for the time, and its cultural, economic and humanitarian initiatives helped to shape embryonic beginnings of what would become the modern Kingdom we know today. Founding Day therefore gives Saudis a chance to remember the origins of their nation, its people and their traditions, and to celebrate this connection between past and present.

“We, as the people of the Kingdom, are ever so connected to our predecessors, we’re ever so connected to our ancestry,” Alshirian said. “So beginning to understand that our traditions, our cultures, date back to 300, 400 years ago, we can then understand how rich they are.”

To fully understand the groundbreaking nature of Imam Mohammed’s historic achievements, one must be aware of the broader history of the Arabian Peninsula, Alshirian said. Prior to the founding of the First Saudi State, city-states were common but nation-states were not.

“When he (Imam Mohammed) founded the First Saudi State … this was a huge step forward. This was a momentous moment in history, something that signifies his character,” Alshirian said.

He founded the state at the heart of of the Arabian peninsula, in Al-Yamamah region, and by doing so enhanced local security, unity, education and culture, she added.

“So this huge step forward is something visionary from Imam Mohammed bin Saud,” Alshirian said.

The cultural history of the First Saudi State is revealed by the manuscripts of the time.

“We can understand it through their handwriting and the colors that they use. They were connected to their environment,” Alshirian said.

Some people might be confused about the difference between Saudi Arabia’s National Day and its Founding Day, which mark two pivotal, but distinct, events in the history of the Kingdom.

“National Day is Sept. 23, when we celebrate the unification of the (modern day) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Alshirian said.

“But when we talk about Founding Day, we are talking about the founding of the First Saudi State about 300 years ago.”

If we consider the timeline of the evolution of the nation, the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932 was in a sense the final step on the path, while the founding of the First Saudi State in 1727 was the start.

“When we understand that, we understand the domino effect, the butterfly effect of how this great journey started. So we’re celebrating the beginning of a journey, in a sense,” Alshirian said.

“But the after is as important as the first, and vice versa.”

Alshirian added that it is her hope that Founding Day helps the Saudi people to better understand and celebrate their national roots and history.


KSrelief, UN officials meet to discuss aid cooperation

KSrelief, UN officials meet to discuss aid cooperation
Updated 22 February 2024
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KSrelief, UN officials meet to discuss aid cooperation

KSrelief, UN officials meet to discuss aid cooperation

RIYADH: Officials from Saudi Arabia’s aid agency and the UN met in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss ways to improve aid delivery across the world.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, royal court advisor and supervisor-general of KSrelief, met with Mohamed El-Zarkani, the UN’s resident coordinator in Saudi Arabia.

El-Zarkani praised Saudi Arabia for assisting the UN’s various humanitarian and aid agencies.


KSrelief distributes 950 food parcels to displaced people in Khartoum

KSrelief distributes 950 food parcels to displaced people in Khartoum
The assistance forms part of the humanitarian and relief projects it provides in Sudan. (SPA)
Updated 22 February 2024
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KSrelief distributes 950 food parcels to displaced people in Khartoum

KSrelief distributes 950 food parcels to displaced people in Khartoum

KHARTOUM STATE: Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributed 950 food parcels in Sudan’s Khartoum State, benefiting 7,566 displaced people as part of the project to support food security in the country.
The assistance forms part of the humanitarian and relief projects Saudi Arabia provides through its humanitarian arm in Sudan to alleviate the suffering of people displaced by the war.


KSrelief to provide equipment to Sudan children’s hospitals

KSrelief to provide equipment to Sudan children’s hospitals
The agreement aims to reduce mortality rates. (SPA)
Updated 22 February 2024
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KSrelief to provide equipment to Sudan children’s hospitals

KSrelief to provide equipment to Sudan children’s hospitals

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s aid agency KSrelief signed a cooperation agreement on Wednesday with the Patients Helping Fund Organization in Sudan to provide essential medical equipment to the country’s children’s hospitals.

Ahmed Al-Baiz, KSrelief’s assistant supervisor-general of operations and programs, and Kamal Yaqoub Mohamed, director-general of the fund, signed the agreement in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The aim is to reduce mortality rates in the Kassala and El-Obeid hospitals.

The new equipment will directly benefit 100,000 individuals and another 100,000 indirect beneficiaries.

The agreement is part of the Kingdom’s ongoing efforts, led by KSrelief, to support Sudan’s health sector.


Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers discuss bilateral ties

Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers discuss bilateral ties
Updated 22 February 2024
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Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers discuss bilateral ties

Saudi and Egyptian foreign ministers discuss bilateral ties

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, held talks on Wednesday on the sidelines of a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Rio de Janeiro.

They discussed the relationship between their countries and ways in which it might be enhanced in various fields, the Saudi Press Agency reported. They also reviewed the latest regional and international developments, particularly those relating to Israel’s war on Gaza.

The Saudi ambassador to Brazil, Faisal Ghulam, and the assistant director general of the foreign minister’s office, Walid Al-Smail, were also present at the meeting.