- A rare opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia in the company of author and Saudi expert, Peter Harrigan
- Visit the spectacular site of Madain Saleh, the largest Nabatean settlement after Petra
- Visit the old city of Jeddah and the historical sites around Riyadh including Diriyah
Steppes has had Saudi Arabia in its sights for some time now. The prospect of travelling in the footsteps of Richard Burton, T. E. Lawrence and Wilfred Thesiger is a tantalising one.
In more modern times, Saudi has become an emblem of everything most inexplicable to the West and therefore carries an aura of mystique and intrigue that is a compelling drawcard for the curious traveller. Having found a reliable partner on the ground and an exceptional western leader with the knowledge and experience required to give insight into the Kingdom we are excited to offer this new group tour.
SAUDI CITIES - JEDDAH AND RIYADH
One of the most important archaeological sites in the whole of Saudi is Diriyyah. A UNESCO World Heritage site located just outside Riyadh, Diriyyah has a history that goes as far back as 627 AD, during the era of the Prophet Muhammad and served as the first capital of the Saudi Dynasty from 1744 to 1818. Our Tour Lecturer, Peter Harrigan serves as an advisor to the Arriyadh and Diriyyah Development Authority providing counsel on a restoration project which includes five major museums on the site of the capital of the First Saudi State.
The trip starts in Jeddah – a city with a history that can be traced back to more than 2,000 years ago. There will be time spent in the old town and the Abdul Rauf Khalil Museum which not only represents the rich Islamic heritage of Jeddah but also the city’s pre-Islamic past, with artifacts on show that can be traced back to the fishermen tribes who first inhabited this region. Saudi cities are full of fascinating sites with major historic significance, often juxtaposed with very modern, high-tech architecture and infrastructure. This is most noticeable in Riyadh – a city that forty years ago had a population of 100,000 people but is now home to over 7 million people.
WHAT CAN I SEE ON STEPPES TRAVEL'S TOUR OF SAUDI ARABIA
Outside of the cities, Saudi is equally as evocative. Visit the highland province of Asir and feel the fresh mountain air of Soudah – the highest peak in Saudi at 2,995 metres. Take a cable car ride to the hanging village of Habala, built into the side of a vertical cliff face, and once only accessible by ropes. The story goes that the villagers of Habala fled the Ottomans and chose to live an isolated existence until they were discovered by a Saudi army helicopter in more recent times. For all its commercialisation, Habala is still worth the visit, not only for its history but for its natural splendour. Other highlights outside of the cities include the 7th century Sakaka Fort and the mosque of Domat Al Jandal close to Al Jouf; Nafud Desert and Jubbah to see the magnificent rock carvings and the imposing forts of Oraif and Qishla in the city of Hail.
MADAIN SALEH - 'THE CAPITAL OF MONUMENTS'
No trip to Saudi would be complete without a visit to Madain Saleh. Accessed from the oasis town of Al-Ula, Madain Saleh, Petra’s twin, was Saudi’s first World Heritage site. With its well preserved, ancient, rock hewn tombs set amongst a dramatic desert back drop, it is easy to see why Madain Saleh was chosen as a World Heritage site. The settlement of the site took place during the 1st century AD, when the Nabateans made Madain Saleh the kingdom's second capital, after Petra in the north. The sense of history at Madain Saleh is palpable in the rock art and sculpture that can be seen all over the site, giving fascinating insight into the lives of the Nabateans over 2,000 years ago.
WHY TRAVEL TO SAUDI ARABIA?
There are few places left that can be said to represent the last frontier of tourism. Follow your curiosity and put experience before prejudgment.
IS THIS GROUP TOUR SUITABLE FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS?
Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour Lecturer.
If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.
If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.
- 4th November 2017
- 18th February 2018
- 2nd November 2018
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.