THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH

Saudi Arabia 2016 | TOURISM | PHOTO ESSAY: THE EDGE OF THE WORLD

The Edge of the World offers adventurous visitors spectacular, post-apocalyptic vistas just 90km outside of Riyadh.

The Edge of the World is located within the Acacia Valley some 90km outside of Riyadh, or about a 1.5-hour car ride away. It is a journey the final stretch of which is most efficient on a 4x4, as the path turns from jagged rock to lose gravel to sand and back. While it is a destination occasionally reached by a two-wheel-drive automobile, without the most skilled of Saudi drivers, visitors may find their vehicles stuck in the sand or wedged between rocks before the harsh desert sun even rises beyond midmorning. The most seasoned visitors arrive at the final destination among a cavalcade of suited vehicles, each with its tank full of petrol and its trunk outfitted with a shovel, a tow, more than one spare tire, and a repair kit capable of mending all but love gone cold.

Visitors find most pleasure in visiting the Edge of the World in the fall and winter months, when unblemished skies allow visibility to penetrate deep into the horizonof this Shakespearean sandbox, and the temperature does not exceed forgiving. Nomads brave enough to venture into this land during the summer months, when the temperature escalates well beyond reason, will find neither a generous tree nor friendly shrub to offer shade from the great gig in the sky. For sojourners seeking minimal interaction with others, weekdays are when they can find the Edge of the World most still; in recent years, the locale has become a proverbial weekend hotspot for expatriates and adventure-minded locals, who arrive en masse with fruits, portions of legumes, and other snacks. At the site, visitors are encouraged to walk along what was once indeed considered to be the edge of the world. For any visitor, hiking shoes can be considered a necessity, as can a liberal slathering of sunscreen, adequate rations for the party, and a generous Panama hat.


For the adventure to be claimed a success, it is important to ration time with prudence. The journey from Riyadh should be expected to last a minimum of two hours, which means in order to have adequate time for rumination and other activities at the Edge of the World, and to return before nightfall, a predawn departure may be necessitated. Furthermore, the guardians of the Acacia Valley shut its gates at 6.00pm, thus any caravan inside the valley at that time must endure the cold desert night.