Al Nafud Desert

Saudi Arabia

While the Empty Quarter gets all the attention, it is actually far easier to come upon the picturesque desert of romantic Arabia by visiting the beautiful red sands of Al Nafud. Covering an area of 103,600 sq km, these sweeping red dunes sit in an oval-shaped depression towards the north of the country, just past Hail. It rains only once or twice a year here, and the desert is popular with locals for overnight camping trips.

A partially tarmacked road south of the oasis of Jubbah heads out for several kilometres into the red dunes, and is a great place to see the desert. If you come equipped with the right gear and a 4WD, you could also potentially camp close to this spot, but beware, the dunes are treacherous here and the winds notoriously harsh. Any attempts to head into the interior should only be done with a guide or tour company. As beautiful as this desert looks, it is truly merciless.

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