Al-Soudah, or ‘the black one’, so named for the black clouds that so often surround it, is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Located close to the summit of the Kingdom’s highest peak, Jebel Soudah (2910m), about 22km west of Abha, this is the place to come for precipitous cliffs, deep valleys and mountain-tops disappearing behind the clouds.
Jizan is known as the ‘fruit basket’ of Saudi Arabia for the variety and abundance of its agricultural produce. The fair ladies of Jizan are considered to be great cooks, tidy housekeepers and skilful in the use of perfumes and fragrances – so are much admired by Saudi men! If you’re invited to an inhabitant’s house, expect a fabulous feast.
Asir National Park
This national park was Saudi Arabia’s first and contains some of the Kingdom’s most spectacular scenery, with mountains reaching nearly 3000m before plunging down to the coast. The park encompasses some 450,000 hectares stretching from the Red Sea, across the mountains and east into the desert.
The Farasan Islands form part of an archipelago about 40km off the coast of Jizan. Farasan, the main island, makes a great break from the mainland for one big reason – fabulous diving. The area is just bursting with marine life and diving is superb in the shallow, plankton-rich waters.