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Saudi Arabia’s most impressive natural wonders

07 Jul 2014 11 AM

Saudi Arabia’s most impressive natural wonders
Mainly consisting of desert, Saudi Arabia has an extreme landscape with some of the most dramatic scenery on the Arabian Peninsula.

So naturally, part of unlocking the mystery of Saudi Arabia is discovering its impressive natural wonders – many of which are so spectacular they’re classed as wonders of the natural world.

From harsh desert and sweeping sand dunes to towering, rugged mountains and oases, here are five of the most extraordinary natural wonders of Saudi Arabia.

Al-Hasa Oasis


About 60km away from the shoreline of the Persian Gulf lies the Al-Hasa Oasis – the largest oasis in Saudi Arabia and the whole of Asia. Unique and unusual for its abundant water supply in an otherwise arid area, Al-Hasa has been home to natural fresh water springs for millennia, making it a very inhabitable place for humans, which is unusual for an area surrounded by one of the world’s largest deserts.

It’s so inhabitable, in fact, that the oasis provides water to the area’s millions of inhabitants – not to mention over 3 million palm trees. With such a paradisiacal landscape, a dip in this natural wonder should be a priority for any visitor staying in the Saudi capital Riyadh or at the Hilton Garden Inn Riyadh Olaya, which is just three hours away.

Al Wahbah Crater


It’s not every day you see a crater as big as the Al Wahbar Crater – a crater that’s 500 metres deep has a 2 kilometre diameter, no less. While it was originally thought that the crater was formed by a meteor, geologists now agree that it was formed by volcanic activity.

For a truly spectacular experience, head to the camp sites just south of the crater. You’ll get some incredible views and since it’s just a four hour drive from the Jeddah Hilton, it’s the perfect distance for a short overnight trip. And after a night sleeping under the stars, you can return to your luxury hotel room.

The Hijaz


You’ll find another of Saudi Arabia’s natural wonders in between the west coast and the Red Sea – the Hijaz Mountains. They run north to south along the west coast of the Arabian Peninsula and are one of the most volcanic areas in Saudi Arabia.

Combine a trip to the Hijaz Mountains with a stay at a Hilton hotel in Jeddah, Makkah or Medina and you’ll have the perfect base to explore.

Rub‘ al Khali


The Rub’ al Khali is one of the largest deserts in the world, taking up most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula and spanning four countries – Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE and Yemen. In fact, it’s so big you could fit the UK into it two and a half times.

Temperatures here can reach as high as 56˚C, making it one of the hottest places on Earth too. Also dubbed the ‘Empty Quarter’ for its empty, isolated landscape, the best way to take in this natural wonder is from above on an organised tour. And since this desert is so vast, it can be reached from Hilton hotels all over the Arabian Peninsula.

Oil


And lots of it. In fact, Saudi Arabia is home to around one fifth of the world’s oil reserves, causing its economy to boom since the mid-20th century.

And as far as impressive natural wonders go, the Ghawar Field is certainly one. It’s the largest oil field in the world – producing up to 60% of Saudi Arabia’s oil. Discovered in 1948, production here started in 1951 and it’s reported that the Ghawar Field produces 5,000,000 barrels of oil every single day. You won’t be able to visit it but chances are you’ve probably used oil that’s come from it.

However, choose a good base, such as Jeddah, and you’ll be within easy reach of these natural wonders. And if you’ve got any others to recommend, let us know.

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