The Edge of the World
The Edge of the World is aptly named. Reached through winding desert trails that run along a ridge of the Tuwaiq escarpment, this spectacular spot offers uninterrupted views across the barren valley floor and to the horizon, from the edge of a sheer precipice. These starkly dramatic views earned the site its nickname, and have helped turn it into one of Riyadh’s most popular tourism destinations.
The Edge of the World, or Jebel Fihrayn as it is also known, is located about 90 kilometers from Saudi’s capital and about a 1.5-hour drive. It forms part of the vast Tuwaiq cliffs, which stretch over more than 600km through central Saudi, and once overlooked an ancient trade route used to cross the Arabian Peninsula from Yemen into the Levant and Persia.
Hikers can choose from a range of routes to get to the top, but with rugged terrain, steep climbs and loose gravel, good walking shoes are advised. As you traverse the path, keep an eye out for fossils – a holdover from when the region was part of an ocean bed – and for camels and the remains of riverbeds crossing the valley below.
It typically takes between 15 and 30 minutes to reach the cliff edge, however, there are plenty of opportunities along the way to stop and enjoy the view. Gates out of the site close at 6pm, so make sure you leave enough time for the return drive home or, instead, opt for a night of camping in the Acacia valley and savor the atmospheric sunset and star-studded night sky.
Getting here requires an SUV with good GPS, and ideally as part of a larger group of vehicles. Alternatively, several leading tour companies offer daylong excursions to the site, including the option to camp overnight. The best time to visit is in the cooler winter months, when the skies are clear and the temperatures more manageable.