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Hegra Sandstone Ruins in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia

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A Day in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla desert with Pelorus

AlUla is a trove of Saudi cultural heritage. Home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, stunning dunes, and sculpted sandstone, it’s a fabulous location for an Arabian desert adventure.

 

Words by Pelorus

ALULA & DUNE BUGGY

You’ll begin among the dunes of AlUla—a region of the desert rich in Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage with relics and sites that trace back to the Bronze Age.

Set off on a dawn 4×4 to beat the heat of the day, the rich red of the ‘Dancing Mountains’ hovering into view on the horizon. Disembark and wander their maze-like canyons. Take things up a notch with a dune buggy ride through the canyons, shooting from shade to brilliant sun as you tackle the landscape.

Take a more traditional mode of travel next, seeing the sculpted sandstone vistas and occasional sapphire desert lake from the back of a camel. Alternatively, see its golden immensity from above in a helicopter.

Next, choose between nature or history. For the former, hike Elephant Rock before a visit to the Arabian Leopard Initiative to learn about these rare animals. For the history buffs, choose the Ikma rocks where you’ll discover messages left behind by ancient Arabian merchants before a special Pelorus-arranged lunch in this incredible desert location.

UNESCO HEGRA & LUXURY CAMP

In the late afternoon, visit AlUla Old Town. This once thriving 10th-century civilization has left behind extensive ruins and tombs. Have it brought to life once more with an expert local guide.

Next is UNESCO-protected Hegra—the largest preserved site of the pre-Islamic Nabataean Kingdom. With over 100 elaborately decorated tombs here and much more, it’s a fascinating insight into an ancient culture’s belief system and way of life.

Retire to a luxury desert camp after your day of culture and adventure. Your tented villa is designed to blend in with the striking desert landscape, and its harmonious aspect will help you unwind amid your stunning surroundings. A renowned local chef will serve up delicious morsels for you to taste and a blazing fire pit will keep you warm as you end your incredible day stargazing while wrapped in a soft blanket.