A Visit to the Edge of the World in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Undoubtedly the Edge of the World is one of the most popular and amazing desert treks from Riyadh. It is most definitely worth going for a perfect day trip, as the experience is unforgettable and the scenery is just exquisite. The Tuwaiq escarpment runs around 700 km through central Saudi Arabia, it is a scenic plateau with many wonderful viewing spots. What makes this special is the breathtaking view from the extended ledges at the top, is an endless plain, thus the name the Edge of the World.[irp]

The location of this beautiful place is around 90km outside of Riyadh, and it usually takes 1.5 hours to reach there. Although many of us may feel tempted to go there in our normal cars, it has been warned that the trip should not be attempted in anything that does not have a 4×4. This is due to the last bit of travel being extremely challenging, as it takes you through rocky terrain and loose gravel. Some visitors have even managed to get themselves stuck in the soft sand. The best option is to go in a convoy of multiple cars, with full fuel tanks and equipped with shovels, spare tires, tire repair kits, and a tow strap.

The best time of the year to visit this beauty is during fall or winter time when the temperature will be pleasant and the skies will be clear. This location can get extremely hot during the summer as there is no shade at all. If you prefer privacy, it is best to visit the place during weekdays. Over time this spot has become extremely popular among expats, and it is common to see a small crowd on site, during winter weekends.

If you plan on taking the trip, it is best to leave early enough to keep four hours for driving, to and from the place, and an additional 2 hours for exploration of the site. This should be done during daylight hours as navigation at night, through the desert, is extremely difficult. All tracks eventually do lead out of the acacia valley, but it is important to remember that Rangers close the fates by 6 p.m. so if you do not leave by then, you are spending the night.

One should especially be careful when visiting the site as it is in its completely natural form. This means that no safety rails, no sign boards or any other warning signs have been put up. Everybody needs to be cautious while climbing to the top as loose rocks may cause you to fall due to rock slides. The danger of falling to your death is also completely real as one western nurse has already fallen and died from the top. Therefore, it is recommended that very small children should not be brought along and if they are brought along, not to let them out of your sight.[irp]

While on your way back from the site you can observe camel and goat herders. Occasionally some Saudis may also be camping out under the acacia trees and if you plan on spending the night, this would be the ideal place to do so.

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