Wonderful though Riyadh undoubtedly is, there will come a time sooner rather than later when you will want to explore beyond the confines of the town itself.
One’s first visit into the desert areas can come as a bit of a shock if you don’t know what to expect. Many people travel to Sa’udi Arabia expecting there to be a sea of sand surrounding the capital.
But although there are vast areas of sand – much of it a beautiful reddish colour – the majority of the desert areas you are first likely to encounter are made up of hard top, rubble and scree.
Don’t for one moment allow this to put you off. There are stunning places to explore and very many visitors go out weekend after weekend after weekend enjoying the raw scenery at its very best.
Not that it’s all desert, of course. Agriculture plays a very important part in the Sa’udi economy and you may also be surprised how green much of the scenery has become.
Do remember that desert areas especially can be dangerous places for the unwary, and you should always let someone know when and where you intend to visit (and let them know when you have returned) and you should always have a minimum of two cars in your party when visiting areas outside the city.
Many desert areas cannot pick up a mobile phone signal, so you should also acquaint yourself thoroughly with what to do in the event of an accident or breakdown.
In addition, the use of a GPS unit will help you find your way back when – not if – you become disorientated in the desert. Failing that, a compass is an absolute ‘must’. Remember – as the daylight changes, the desert views also change, and if you venture off the beaten track, it is all too easy to find yourself going round in circles until you become thoroughly lost. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you!