Wadi Mur

What an outstanding weekend. I think it was the best weekend I had in this year.

It is not that often that you find people who are willing to go on a camping trip. It all started with an email being circulated by a fellow colleague. The plan was to go to a valley 3 hours away (called Wadi Mur) from Jeddah, camp and sleep there for the weekend. I loved the idea since I haven't camped before.

We left at around 2 p.m. I joined the guys at CARREFOUR where they were shopping for what we need for the trip. Tents...check. Food..check. Mattresses..check. Apparently, the guys were experts in camping and they knew what to get. One of the guys even packed one of broken down old dining rooms that were thrown away, lying in the dust. Wood is always good for a bonfire. :D

The absence of signs and the fact that the roads were not paved forced us to be on 4-wheel drive all the time with our only source of guidance was an old 1995 guidebook that was guiding us by resetting our odometer at specific points and calculating the number of kilometres we drive. A typical description was like this: "reset your odometer at 0. After driving 14 kms north east, you'll see palm trees, take right..and drive 32 kms till you see a small farm. Take left And drive 35 kms....etc"

3 hours later, we were there. We picked a great spot that was between a small cliff and a running stream. We set up the tents before it got dark and we climbed up the cliff to a decent spot where we could enjoy the sight of the sun set.

As much as I write, nothing could describe the serenity and the beauty of that night. A night illuminated by a full moon, instrumental music and a bonfire. We shared many great stories and jokes. It was a chance to know each other especially since most us meet for the first time. It is not very often that I hang out with such a unique group; a group that consisted of:

i) Yours truly
ii)an Egyptian guy who spent many years in Cambodia and Mauritania. He basically spent a significant portion of his life camping in the wild
iii)a Maldivian with his kick-ass 10.2 megapixel NIKON camera equipped with God knows what Lens that can support up to 134x ZOOM. In other words, he is a professional photographer
iv) A half Saudi half Swedish guy (weird mix..eh?) who got his degree in Australia and spent 9 months of his life on an environmental project in East Timor
v) An American Egyptian who was an intern in the White house. He was the guy who drafted the speech for the UN American ambassador who vetoed against condemning Israel for the murder of Sheikh Ahmad Yassin.

So considering the composure of our group that give the impression that we are a bunch of amateur foreigners, I think our biggest achievement that night was not getting ass-raped and lose our anal virginity, especially after a bunch of strangers passed by at around 11 p.m. who tried to befriend us and wanted to investigate more about us. We were worried for some time as they camped somewhere near and every once in a while, they'd send out a scouting car near our camp.

By the time we woke up at dawn to watch sun rise, all of us were itching from the mosquitoes that feasted on our skin for the whole night. Well, this isn't too bad considering that we didn't become a feast for other animals, especially those dogs/wolves tracks that I've noticed around our camping site.

At around 9 a.m, we packed our stuff and headed home. On our way back, we stopped by King Abdullah Economical City, and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology. Those were the two big projects that are being heavily campaigned as future projects that will rejuvenate the Jeddah district and attract many foreigners to Saudi Arabia. It is their way of imitating the Jebel Ali & University City areas of Dubai. By the constructed civil works we've seen, it looks like it is a very promising project.

On our way, we passed by Rabigh city and chilled for a while on the beach. For those who don't know, Rabigh is an industrial city that is famous for having the biggest oil refinery in the world. We continued our journey back home and by mistake we ended up in Durrat Al-Arus. Entering that place is an accomplishment by itself as it is usually reserved for high class families who own a resort there. As the Wikipedia link says, its a tourist village that has the American lifestyle theme and it is a "very liberal and open-minded village that is far away from Saudi Arabian traditions". I guess that says it all. We managed to sneak past the security and swim for 2 hours there.

After that, we went for lunch at one of the famous restaurants lying on the outskirts of Jeddah where you personally choose and pick the fishes and ask the cooks to make it grilled or fried depending on your preference. This delicious meal was the perfect way of ending our long enjoyable journey.

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Isam said...

"It is not that often that you find people who are willing to go on a camping trip."

u didnt ask right ? ;)

if u do it again be sure to contact me am a camping freak ...

KJ said...


Yalla man alf mabrook I am glad you enjoyed your time there!

Ask the guy what lens he was carrying :D

Sam said...

im glad u had a great time!! i went camping once in northern ontario and that was it for...i like going up north and to the rockies in alberta and bc and enjoying nature...but i always stay at hotels and resorts...especially with bears, and cougars around..no thanks!

Ms Loala said...

Don't you just love camping?
The whole idea of cold tingeling upon your body while you set infront of the fire drinking hot tea is just exhilarating.

The place looks cool! Glad you had fun there ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today,I thought you'll test your french too:)

It didn't occur to me at all that camping is possible in Saudi Arabia..Nature doesn't look very friendly,or safe..but glad you and your friends enjoyed the experience:)

Kinano said...

Sounds like fun, and awesome pictures beaver, Moogle should be threatened :P

That guide instructions cracked me up ;) "Travel 26 kms due east, when you see a herd of sheep stop, make a 180 degree turn and travel 26 kms due west" :P

asoom said...

Sounds awesome! I'm curious, where did you guys take showers/wash up?

I've been camping many times before where we had bunks. One time I went REAL camping where people slept in tents but I got in a fight with my parents or something like that. I can't remember exactly what happened; I think I got mad because my dad told me it was 7araam to wear shorts and I didn't want to change into pants. I ended up sleeping in the backseat of the car and I told my mom we should go home and leave my dad there and he should get a ride with one of his friends. Man this would make a hilarious post....

eshda3wa said...


sounds like fun

except im not an outdoorsy type of person, but wouldnt mind spending a day out.

a very interesting group of ppl too!

Hamza said...

isam - good to know that. I'll definitely consider you in our next camping trip to Madaen Saleh. Give me your contact info ;)

KJ - yea thanks. It was great

Sam - I remember reading a post for you about how worried you were about a loose cougar or a bear..hehehe

ms loala - you are soo right. Only that we packed everything except the tea. :(

noura- that book gave us many camping locations. I wish I knew about them earlier. I felt like I've missed alot in my life

Kinano - you should check the ones on facebook. they are great too. :D
Loool at the guide

asoom - hmmm..a post definitely worth waiting for. The other great camping trip was to Wadi Rum and Petra. You should try that, especially gazing at stars at night

eshda3wa - even if you are not an outdoor person. A day out in nature will arouse some of those dorment instincts that are worth exploring about oneself.

Dandoon said...

"After driving 14 kms north east, you'll see palm trees, take right"

I will be losing it big time if this was my guide to trip into no-where!!

you are probably the only person i know (non-Saudi person) who went out to camp in the desert...or aka Al-Khala...
you should go the next time there is an astronomical event happening, I heard too many stories about some incredible sceneries.
Post more pics Hamza :)