The history of the red sand desert in Saudi, can you explore the hidden treasure?

80 kilometers to the northeast of downtown Riyadh city, lie the striking red sand dunes of Ad-Dahna Desert surrounded by high picturesque mountain ranges. It is the closest desert adventure available to the city’s dwellers; acting as a bridge between the Empty Quarter and Nafud desert. This desert covers 45,000 square kilometers with its peaks rising to heights of 300 to 600m and given reddish hues due to the concentration of iron oxide in the sand. The desert also holds what are dubbed as some of the most impressive dunes of the province in the form of star-shaped formations located about 200km north of Riyadh.


The red dunes are a staple weekend destination for locals to drive out where the Bedouin stalls are located along the highway and go quad biking, drifting, sandboarding or taking it easy camp-side while enjoying the sunset, a cup of warm tea or Arabian coffee and good company. The area is also great for a budget-friendly adventure with quad bike rentals starting at 50 riyals ($13); as well as hiking trips where visitors always praise the scenic views from atop the high hills.


While planning on visiting the red dunes of Riyadh, make sure to pack clothing and footwear suitable for sandy terrain activities; and as not many facilities are available in the area, it’s important to pack essentials such as food, drinks, trash bags to avoid littering, tent and hiking equipment, your sandboard and of course, a camera to take photos against the backdrop of stunning red dunes and rock formations.


The deserts of Saudi Arabia are a big part of its natural landscape, and the red sand dunes of Riyadh are magnificent for their Grand Canyon-esque charm. Take your friends and family on a desert adventure fully set up by our travel experts at Sana Tourism, contact us now with any inquiries!

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