There’s nowhere I love more than Wadi Hanifah and Diriyah. Only fifteen kilometers from Riyadh’s Olaya road Diriyah is the home of the Al Saud family and was their first capital. Parts of Diriyah are a UNESCO world heritage site and the area is full of mud-brick structures, some of which are in disrepair. Diriyah is the perfect get-away from Riyadh’s hectic pace. Here’s some pictures of my latest trip down, after the recent April/May rains. I do hope you enjoy and if you’d like to know more about the place do read the Wikipedia entry here.
Along the walk way there are spots for families to gather and light fires for barbeques. The area gets very busy at weekends
The walkway along Al Elb Dam is a family favourite in Diriyah and should not be missed
The spillway at Al Elb Dam is sizable and is a remarkable site when waterlogged
The view towards Diriyah from Al Elb Dam
Date trees are an ever-present in Diriyah and provide both beauty and shade
Wadi Hanifa in flood
A view of one of Diriyah’s old walls and watch tower from the Wadi Hanifah road
This is one of the old mud watchtowers in Diriyah, on the path to Al Elb Dam
The extent of the flooding after the May rains is apparent here
As with any Wadi, Wadi Hanifah can be waterlogged after a flash rain
I’ve always wanted to open these doors and go inside!
My wife calls these Christmas trees
Just maybe the best place to walk in Riyadh
This is a picture of Wadi Hanifah’s water spillway (obviously, when dry)
Note the circular tower structure on the left, which is the architectural style of Old Diriyah’s defences
The standing stones of Wadi Hanifah
The views of Wadi Hanifah after the rains are breathtaking. The area is so green that you forget you’re in the middle of a desert
Al Elb Dam is at the furthest point of the Wadi and worth the drive down
Wadi Hanifah’s fauna is diverse and you may be surprised by the type of trees and other fauna you will find in the valley
Driving up and down the Wadi Hanifah road you’ll be surrounded by date trees which sprout up from behind farm walls
Wadi Hanifah is full of beautiful fauna such as these pink flowers which always bloom after a rainstorm
This alcove is a strange one and I’ve never understood why it was built. It’s a one-off in Wadi Hanifah
The rain came down and washed the trailer away…
Welcome to Wadi Hanifa, one of the most beautiful parts of Riyadh
Shot from the Wadi Hanifah road, this is a farmhouse building
Despite the plethora of farms owned by wealthy Nadjis, there are still many Saudis who live in Old Diriyah in much poorer conditions
Here’s another painted farm door in Diriyah, on the road to Wadi Hanifah
Diriyah has some wonderful hand-crafted and painted doors, such as the one in the picture
This is the view of Diriyah’s district court from the road heading down to Wadi Hanifah
Here’s another set of amazing images from Jeddah-based photographer Thamer Ossra. Moon Mountain is only 45 minutes drive from Jeddah and is named after its stunning landscape. The views from the top of Moon Mountain are remarkable. Enjoy the images and I hope you also get the chance to visit.
I was sent these pictures by a great Saudi photographer and friend Thamer Ossra. The location is Wahba or Al Wa’aba Crater, one of the largest craters in the Middle East. The crater is 2.5km wide and the cliffs on the crater’s side drop vertically by 270 meters to the crater’s base. In the center of the crater is an amazing salt field.
Wahba crater is 250 kilometers east of Taif just off the Makkah-Riyadh highway. It’s a remarkable place to visit. If you have the chance, just go!
A full view of Wahba crater from the top
Looking down Wahba crater’s wall
Enjoy the shade while you can!
This is what you will see when you approach the crater
The walk down to the crater is stunning
There’s a good deal of greenery around the crater itself
It’s best to visit the crater in a group
The sunlight on the salt plane can be blinding.
Walking on the salt plane!
Have a look at the crater’s walls from the bottom
On the ground at Wahba crater!
Al Wahba crater in all its glory
A diversion here from the norm, but this video is beautiful. The location is Wadi Rum in Jordan, where Lawrence of Arabia was shot. Just click play and enjoy!