Off-road to giant monoliths

We were keen to explore a little bit of the vast Saudi Arabian desert on a tour which took us on simple tracks through endless desert landscape, to giant monoliths and through narrow valleys.

Parking for the night

It was a long drive along the R30 to the south-west, and we had to find a place for the night, before we had reached the start of our off-road tour. We found a monolith, behind which we could hide from the main road. We admired the sunset, but soon went to bed, as we were tired from driving all day. The distances in Saudi Arabia, not to be underestimated. When we woke in the morning, we noticed that somebody else had spent the night here, a Squacco Heron, a water bird, must be in transit, we wondered where he is going.

Squacco Heron – far away from any water

Luckily, when we reached the point where we had to leave the highway, we found a last filling station, that way we were safe to make it through the empty area.

Last filling station, DIESEL 0,30 Euro/litre

We used a GPS track from Pistenkuh, a German couple which publishes off-road books for different countries. This track helped us navigate 250 km from the R30 to the R40. On this route, we drove past Bedouin camps and saw 3 times a local car, but mostly there was nothing and nobody, just us driving through a fascinating landscape.

What animal do you see in this rock?

The first part was dotted with giant granite monoliths, and we navigated through narrow valleys between them.

We even came past a lake

Later the landscape widened, and we were driving over endless plains with some of the monoliths scattered around. We used one very convenient rock which formed a shelter to stop for lunch and a brake.

Lunch break!

During the day we had 34 degrees and more, luckily it was a dry heat and there was always some wind. During the night, the temperatures dropped slowly to around 20 degrees, which made it comfortable to sleep.

At the end of our tour, we were driving along a black mountain until we passed a mining area. We found a spot on an open plain between sand dunes, where we spent the night. As soon as we had stopped, Bedouins had spotted us and came by, but the communication was only possible with hand signals. It seamed they had no problem with us parking here.

The next morning we had 80km of tar road left, until we reached the R40.

We will follow this highway in the direction of Jeddah, but will make another detour on off-road tracks to visit some volcanoes. More soon!

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