No one would believe me if I told them that a lake and a waterfall existed in Saudi Arabia. Well it is certainly true, and it’s right outside Riyadh. In the middle of the magnificent desert hides Riyadh’s surprising secret, the Lake Kharrarah National Park. The valley transforms into a lake after some heavy showers. The massive wave of water rushes down the steep slopes of the dunes into the valley, after which the lake is formed, which is deep enough to swim in. When the valley bed is dry it shows a strong contrast to the red dunes surrounding it.
Kharrarah Park is famous amongst the locals for dune bashing, sand boarding, dune buggy riding and picnics. Weekdays are the best time to go, as the park is practically empty, however there is a massive crowd on the weekends. Many people come to the area in their SUV’s which have been prepared for the desert. Normal cars can also make it to the edges of the park as it is almost paved all the way down to the lake bed; however the best places are still only accessible by SUV’s with 4x4.Climbing the steep dunes by foot, is a strenuous exercise but rewarding none the less. The views from on top of the highest dunes are breathtaking. They say on a clear day, you can view the tuwaiq escarpment and the farms that lie in the valley. Coming down the dunes is the best part; some people jump,roll,slide down or run down the soft sand. Special boards are used like snowboards to ski down the dunes.
Taking your car out to the dunes can be a risky thing and should only be attempted by experienced drivers. Getting stuck is common even for the experienced drivers. Important tips to remember are; one should always deflate the tires before entering the sand anda shovel and ladder will be useful in getting the car out of the sand. Luckily the good people of Saudi Arabia are always around to lend a helping hand.
The scenery is said to become even more breathtaking during cloudy afternoons. This is because the shadow colors the dune in many colors. It is worth exploring beyond the fenced area. There is also a paved road which can take you behind the dunes to the other side of the lake. Additionally there are numerous ways of reaching the other side via many off-road trails; however these can only be accessed through a SUV with 4x4 engaged.
I urge the expat community to visit this place for a memorable picnic where the young can enjoy while the elders take in the view and enjoy their picnic. It is rare for anyone to experience such beautiful sights in their daily lives and if anyone is planning to take the kids out somewhere or go for a picnic with the family, I would highly recommend this beautiful spot.
The above content was initially published on Blue Abaya
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