If Riyadh wasn’t your first pick for an up-close encounter with a cheetah, a trip to Nofa Wildlife Park on the outskirts of the city will change your mind.
This beautiful lodge-style resort is the canvas for an explosion of wildlife, and a rare opportunity to experience a piece of Africa in the Arabian Desert. The park has only relatively recently opened to the public – access was previously limited to private bookings or events – and a safari through its secluded reserve is a magical way to spend a morning. Here are just a few of the highlights on offer at the resort.
A tour of Nofa’s wildlife centre is included as part of the safari drive, and is an opportunity to see – and in some cases handle – a range of native and exotic animals. Spacious enclosures play host to falcons, owls, reptiles, desert gerbils and a number of other creatures, but the star of the show is the centre’s cheetah. Being able to lock eyes with this normally elusive predator, and to admire its fluid beauty from just an arm’s distance away, is a high point of the trip.
If a day trip has left you wanting more, you can stay overnight in one of the resort’s luxurious bungalows or villas. These secluded, thatched-roofed suites are exquisitely decorated with handcrafted furniture, brightly patterned African fabrics and wall art, and wooden sculptures. Watch the sun fade across the desert landscape from your private garden or pool, before visiting one of the hotel’s restaurants for an expertly prepared meal.
The resort also has a 232-stable equestrian complex and a spectacular 18-hole golf course, which is flanked by the desert and wildlife park and open to day visitors. The complex holds an annual horse racing event along with a series of show jumping competitions. Guests can also book rides.
Safari website: https://www.nofaresorts.com/ver/tr/en-nofa-african-resort.html
Hotel website: https://www.radissonhotels.com/en-us/hotels/radisson-collection-riyadh-nofa-resort