A tragedy occurred a few days ago when a couple died in the Saudi desert. The wife near their overturned car, the husband out on the dunes after apparently attempting to reach help.
I know that a lot of expats head home for the summer, but for those who are staying and consider the desert a great weekend escape, this sad event is a timely reminder to make sure you are prepared when travelling into the desert.
The fact that this couple were in the Empty Quarter is not a reason to be complacent. Having taken ourselves into the desert on a number of occasions, and usually to places others don't go because we want to get away from it all, I can tell you, even an hour or so out of Riyadh, the desert is vast, dry, barren and doesn't always have mobile reception.
The ABC's of Desert Survival, by Marjorie Woodruff is a free resource worth reading if you are a desert newbie and want to be prepared for the worst.
As prevention is generally better than cure, a bit of preparation will stand you in good stead and, if you don't wind up in an emergency situation after all the prep, count your blessings.
At the very least do or have the following:
- First and foremost, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.
- Preferably travel with a group of vehicles so if one breaks down or gets stuck the rest can help you out.
- Have an emergency kit in the car.
- And take PLENTY of water.