Tuesday, 11 December 2012

RawDhat Khuraim The Kings Forest.

Rawdhat Khuraim is a nice place to visit if you're looking for somewhere not far out of town for a picnic.  In spring after a decent douse of rain is supposed to be the best time to go.  At least, that's what I've heard.  I'd also heard that Rawdhat Khuraim was a forest in the desert.

'A forest in the desert!' I thought.  'This I gotta see!'  Unfortunately the One Who Is Allowed to Drive didn't hire the Yukon till some weeks after I excitedly informed him about this new KSA adventure.  That's why the timing of our trip to Rawdhat Khuraim was a little bit off - we went toward the end of summer.

While waiting for Hubster to get revved up about the idea of driving off to find a desert forest, a bit of internet research was in order.  According to one website I found, Rawdat Khoraim (which has a number of variations in spelling) is part of a Saudi strategy for biodiversity and a number of similar protected forests and parks have been set up around the country.  Other websites call Rawdat Khoraim the Kings Forest while still others called it a royal resort.   I like the idea of a Kings Forest, so Kings Forest it is!

Finding Rawdat Khoraim wasn't that difficult - it's only about 70km out of Riyadh and the exit off the Dammam highway is very well signposted with brown tourist signs.

On arrival at security, which also happens to be the end of the road, the very nice gentlemen there will direct you toward a parking spot.

I gathered, during this visit, that Rawdat Khoraim refers specifically to the protected part of the forest - the part where access is restricted.   Fringing the periphery of the Kings Forest is a public parkland - a spill over from the real forest - which itself is protected from cars by this pole fence...

You can park where security sends you or you can drive round the perimeter and choose some other spot that takes your fancy though be aware the tracks around the forest can cut up rough.  Once you've chosen you're picnic point you can take a leisurely stroll through the vegetation which is kind of sparse in the middle of a Saudi summer but still nice when compared to other areas outside Saudi that are very harsh and barren.  We found these flowers blooming.

Apparently after the spring rains the park is fabulous as all the grasses and flowers burst into life and the forest floor becomes very green and lush.  And if you're a bird watcher you'll find a few birds flitting around.

At some point in your stroll through the park lands you will come across this fence...

...it's the boundary to the Kings part of Rhawdhat Khuraim.  If you look through it you'll see that it has a lot more vegetation.  Getting behind that fence will require knowing someone with connections.

As always when sight seeing around Saudi pack a picnic.  Rawdat Khuraim is quite a nice place for chilling out in the late afternoon with a thermos of mint tea and watching the sun go down.

And, as per this sign...

...leave the place clean!

This coming spring I'd like to go back to experience the green lushness of the forest which is what I had planned for last spring but The Bald One wasn't being co-operative.  He kept saying he had to work weekends.  His lack of work/home/leisure balance needs adjusting as the current ratio, which leans heavily towards 'constantly at work' is seriously interfering with our ability to see this country.

If you fancy a picnic in one of Saudi's forests then take the Dammam highway till you spot the sign pointing out the RhawDat Khoraim exit, which also happens to be the exit to Rumah.  Follow the signposts and enjoy your afternoon at RhawDhat Khuraim.

Where is RawDhat Khuraim?

View Kiwi In Saudi: Tiki Tour in a larger map

Ka Kite,

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