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12 days and 11 nights Hiking at Al Nafud Desert & Exploring Saudi Arabia

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Duration

12 days and 11 nights

Tour Type

Daily Tour

Group Size

Unlimited

Languages

English

Itinerary

DAY 01 RIYADH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - RIYADH

Arrive at Riyadh International Airport, after visa and immigration formalities, your representative will greet you and escort you to your air-conditioned vehicle for your hotel transfer. Overnight in Riyadh.

DAY 02 FULL DAY EXPLORING RIYADH

Breakfast at the hotel. Day dedicated to the visit of the capital of the kingdom. The name of the city of Riyadh comes from the Arabic plural of rawdat meaning pastures.
In the morning, visit the national museum appreciated for its large structure with contemporary architecture as well as its beautiful collection from ancient sites.
Then discover the fort of Masmak, an adobe fortress built at the end of the 19th century which sits in the heart of the old city, as well as the elegant al-Murabba palace, former residence of the founding king of Saudi Arabia.
At the end of the day, transfer by vehicle to Dariya to discover the site of At-Turaif, the first capital and cradle of the Saud dynasty.
Dinner at hotel.

DAY 03 RIYADH - HA'IL - NEFUD DESERT

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning transfer to Riyadh airport and flight to Hail (1h20), former capital of a 19th century emirate before the creation of the current state of Saudi Arabia.
Meeting with our local team of driver guides. Transfer to the Nefoud desert through superb landscapes of sand and rocks. We will reach our first campsite on the southern edge of this great desert. Dinner under the stars. Night under tent.

DAY 04 - DAY 06 HIKING AT NEFUD DESERT

We set off to discover this great and mysterious desert by following in the footsteps of the first explorers of the region in the 14th century, including the French explorer Charles Huber. We will then join the route of the ancient caravan kingdoms coming from "Arabia Felix" and trading with Greece and ancient Rome.

Itinerant hike for 3 days in a typically "Tassilian" landscape. On the edge of a sea of ​​sand, a lunar-looking sandstone plateau made up of labyrinthine mazes of sculptural rock formations, arches and rock pinnacles eroded by the winds and sands and which offers landscapes of great beauty.
Throughout our hike, we discover countless - and not yet listed - epigraphic texts engraved with alphabets, some dating back to -1000 BC and now extinct. We will also find derivatives of Aramaic such as the Nabataean called Paleo-Arabic as well as pre-Neolithic petroglyphs and rock engravings, dating back for the oldest to -8000 BC.

DAY 07 NAFUD DESERT

Day of transfer which will begin with the crossing of a dune massif, then towards the west where we will find these landscapes of rocks and sand which are reminiscent of the Algerian tassili. Arrival in the afternoon at our beautiful bivouac place, located in the center of a site of labyrinthine sandstone rocks. The transfer will be punctuated by numerous stops and a few steps for the observation of rock art sites still unknown to the general public.

DAY 08 NAFUD DESERT

Last great day of hiking in a vast area of ​​ancient paleolakes, probably explaining the presence in this area of ​​one of the longest sandstone walls completely covered over 160m and nearly 4m high with rock engravings and epigraphic texts dating for the oldest from the Neolithic.

DAY 09 NAFUD DESERT - AL-ULA

In the morning, after 1 hour of track and 2 hours of road, we will join the axis of an old way traveled by the caravans of Antiquity. After the picnic we will hike in a labyrinth of monolithic rocks forming small massifs 70m high, interspersed with red and blond sand. The ascent of one of these small massifs will allow us to have a very beautiful 360° panoramic view of this very beautiful place. Engravings and petroglyphs will also be there. Then in 40 minutes of transfer by 4x4 we will reach our hotel, located in the valley of Al Ula.

DAY 10 AL-ULA - HEGRA

A haven of greenery, a caravan node and an oasis for millennia due to its underground water resources, the Al Ula valley is truly splendid.
In the morning, visit the monumental rock funerary heritage of the Nabataean city of Hegra, founded around the middle of the first century BC and on the same model as their southern capital, Petra, in Jordan. Within the enclosure is also one of the stations of the famous Ottoman Hejaz railway.
In the afternoon, discovery of ancient Dadan, capital of the kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyân mentioned in the Bible. Then we will see the rock carvings of Jabal Ikmah, dated from the 6th to the 3rd century BC and a valuable source of information on the origins of the Arabic language, beliefs and customs. Return to the hotel in the early evening.
**For information, the remains of Hegra have been open to the public since 2021. The visit to the site is very supervised: it must take place in a group and it is compulsory to take a bus which stops in front of 3 Nabataean facades described by an English-speaking site guide.

DAY 11 AL-ULA - JEDDAH

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the old town of Al Ula and visit. Then transfer to the airport and flight to Jeddah, a seaside city, renowned for its multiculturalism. After lunch, we will discover the historic city of Al Balad and its souks which are an urban ensemble with traditional and very unique architecture from the end of the 19th century. We stroll through the coral stone constructions, adorned with plaster decoration and finely crafted wooden structure facades called rawshan. We also admire the imposing tower houses, a subtle blend of aesthetics and technicality. Transfer to your hotel for dinner and overnight.

DAY 12 JEDDAH - AIRPORT

Breakfast at the hotel and transfer from Jeddah to the airport for your return flight.

Included/Excluded

  • - Meet & Assist with English Speaking representative from Flow Travel
  • - Transportation all through
  • - 11 nights’ Accommodation (3 nights in a comfort hotel in Riyadh and Jeddah, 6 nights in bivouac & 2 nights in a hotel resort in Al Ula)
  • - English Speaking guide all through touring days
  • - 10 Breakfasts
  • - 10 Lunches
  • - 09 Dinners
  • - Entrance fees to all mentioned sites
  • - Any tour not mentioned in the program.
  • - Any personal expenses, (Drinks on Beverage, Phone Calls, Laundries).
  • - Other meals are not included to give you maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat.
  • - Tips for Guide & driver
  • - Personal insurance
  • - Anything not mentioned in the including section

Tour's Location

FAQs

Difficulty of the Tour
Level: moderate
Duration of the stages: around 5 to 6 hours per day.
Elevation: the difficulty will mainly be played out on walking in the sand on certain days.
Nature of the terrain: sand and rocks not presenting great difficulty.

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