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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: Nestled between towering red, sandstone escarpments, an untouched valley in the northernmost region of Saudi Arabia offers a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Located about 200 kilometers south of Tabuk city, and 400 meters above sea level, Al-Disah valley is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the Kingdom. With crystal-clear streams, flowing springs, lush patches of green and towering palm trees, it offers some of the most distinctive Saudi experiences residents could hope to find.
It is no surprise, then, that the area was chosen by the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) as one of featured destinations for its Saudi Winter Season.
The valley’s secluded location, well clear of crowded towns and cities, allows visitors to take a step back in time to an age before technology, before urbanization. It could almost be described as a “Jurassic Park” experience, albeit with a lot more peace and quiet — and no rampaging T. Rex.
With most of the northern regions experiencing a steep drop in temperatures this winter, the valley’s considerably mild weather has attracted many visitors from across the Kingdom, drawn by the chance to camp out and set off on day-long hikes surrounded by palm trees, papyrus, henna, oleander and wild basil shrubs. They can also enjoy evening barbecues and a clear view of millions of stars, undiminished by light pollution.
“While on a family trip in Tabuk, my cousins and I packed our camping gear and headed to the valley,” said Abdullah Al-Harthi. “We felt like we were driving into something out of the movies: Red mountains covered in greenery — we felt the weather shift right there and then.
“We usually camp out in areas around Taif but this was a first for us. It was great fun, and relaxing before the second semester started. I heard that the weather is usually like this all year long. I think the locals enjoy seeing us southerners around.”
The STA’s “Winter Around You” season began in December and continues until the end of March. It includes more than 300 experiences and packages offered by more than 200 private sector establishments. The campaign encourages citizens and residents of the Kingdom and other Gulf nations, whether families, groups or individuals, to explore the country’s diverse geography and climate and discover its many attractions.
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