The beautiful gardens of Rawdhat Khuraim can be found about 100 km outside Riyadh in the middle of the desert. An abundance of trees, bushes, birds and flowers welcome the visitor.
After rains in the winter and spring months small "lakes" and streams form in the Rawdhat. This is when lots of Riyadhiens will come to the area for picnicking on weekends. If it gets crowded it's best to drive up North around the gardens, a trail runs next to the fence all the way around the area. A 4x4 vehicle is needed when driving on this trail!
Turn towards Rawdhat Khuraim and by following this road you can the enter the park from anywhere you like, left or right hand side of the road. If you continue straight on this road you will reach the King's farm which is off limits to public and closed off with a large gate. To the left of this road the red sand dunes can be seen behind the garden.
-Watch out for the thorny bushes especially at night. Don't wear flip-flops or crocs the thorns might puncture the shoes (believe me it hurts)
-It's best to leave the area before dark if your car is far away from you, carrying all the stuff back to the car in the dark is a nightmare (been there done that, see above)
-Don't take a strollers here that have air filled tyres, the thorns will puncture the wheels. Strollers with very small wheels might be hard to maneuver in the terrain. (pushing a stroller with flat tyres in the desert makes for a good work-out though)
-If you make a fire, use one of the fire trays that you can buy at all of the gas stations on the way to the desert. They are much safer. It's not allowed to use the garden trees for firewood so bring your own, it can be purchased on the road to the garden. (remember to bring a lighter so you don't have to rub sticks together until your hands get blisters in them and then walk around the rawdhat looking for someone to borrow a lighter from and then get lost in the process and end up scaring your wife into thinking you got eaten up by some desert lizzards)
-Make sure you know where your car is parked. If you walk around and don't pay attention to your surroundings you WILL get lost. (not fun especially in the dark and carrying a baby, see part one)
-If you have children with you make sure they are wearing proper shoes like sneakers and long sleeve trousers. Don't let them out of your site they might easily get lost. (no need to call child protection services, we did not loose our kids there)
-Don't leave food lying on the ground, ants will soon take over your picnic. Instead, hang the foods packed in plastic bags on tree branches or keep them in the cooler. (ants especially enjoy climbing into opened cans of 7 Up in the dark)
-Don't play loud music here. It annoys the heck out of people who drove 100 km to enjoy the song of BIRDS not your crap. (includes watching loud Youtube videos from your iPhone)
-If you sit under a big acacia tree, check first if it has birds nests in it. You don't want bird poo-sauce on your sandwich (or any other food for that matter, trust me on this)
-Before you leave, try to check the weather forecast for sandstorm warnings. Check this post to find out what happened to us once: http://blueabaya.blogspot.com/2012/03/stuff-that-annoys-me.html
-Pick up all the trash you can carry out, do a good deed and you will feel good, promise!