Edge of the World

The Popular Natural Wonder of Riyadh Region

The Edge of the World (whose real name is Jebel Fihrayn) has become within a few years one of the most popular destinations around Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This “nickname” was given because of its main attraction that are the stunning viewpoints from the top of the 300-meter-high cliffs overlooking the surrounding plain. This escarpment is part of the much longer Jibal Tuwaiq which is one of the most prominent natural features of Saudi Arabia as it spreads over 1 000 kilometers from the province of Najran on the south up to Qassim in the north. It even played an important role in Arabia’s History as along its foot was one of the ancient caravan trade routes that used to cross the Arabian Peninsula from Yemen into the Levant and Persia.

In more recent times some travelers built several trails along the cliffs allowing access up and down the impressive escarpment. Some of those stone-made trails are still visible today like at the Khashm Zubaydah, 50 kilometers southeast of Edge of the World.

Those cliffs are the result of the tectonic movement of the Arabian plate towards the north east because of the spread of the Red Sea rift located 1 000 kilometers to the west of Tuwaiq. The clear cut it generated in the sedimentary grounds of Riyadh area reveals the layers of sediments that accumulated there when the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula was a shallow tropical sea during Jurassic era (150 million years ago).

Fossils of corals on the way to Edge of the World (photo: Florent Egal)

Fossils of corals on the way to Edge of the World (photo: Florent Egal)

That is the reason why plenty of fossils of corals are still visible today in the layers and on the ground.

Fossil of corals on the way to Edge of the World (photo: Florent Egal)

Fossil of corals on the way to Edge of the World (photo: Florent Egal)

Given the popularity of Edge of the World, local authorities have built a hardtop that leads to the gates of the sites, and guards check that this beautiful place is respected by visitors, and it is forbidden to collect any wood or coral stones, and of course to let litters in the area.

Gates of Sha'ib Kharmah (photo: Gary Boocock)

Gates of Sha'ib Kharmah (photo: Gary Boocock)

After the gates lays the Sha’ib Kharmah, a large valley that becomes green during the raining season and that hosts thousands of trees offering shade to visitors all year long, making it a perfect place for picnicking.

Grass on the way to Edge of the World (photo: Florent Egal)

Grass on the way to Edge of the World (photo: Florent Egal)

The valley runs for 15 kilometers towards the west until it reaches the massive cliffs of the famous Edge of the World and its amazing viewpoints. As the cliffs look towards the west it even offers unforgettable sights of sunsets above the Saudi Arabian desert to visitors who camp there overnight.

On top of Edge of the World (photo: Florent Egal)

On top of Edge of the World (photo: Florent Egal)

How to visit Edge of the World?

By yourself

The locations of the gate and the exact spot of Edge of the World are available on Google Maps, but although the gates can be reached on tarmac, the trip until Edge of the World 15 kilometers further down the valley is off-road. Even though the rocky track doesn’t present major difficulties a proper uplifted 4X4 and a navigation system are required to do the round trip safely until the cliffs.

Be careful about the weather as heavy rains can generate flash floods in any of the usually dry valleys of the country.

With one of our Tour Guides

If you don't have the proper equipment or if you simply wish to rely on a guide, here are the ones that we advise you for organizing an enjoyable trip to Edge of the World.

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Edge of the World: the popular natural wonder of Riyadh region (author: Florent Egal)

About the Author

My name is Florent Egal, I am a French national living in Riyadh since January 2010. After six years of exploration of Saudi Arabia I have decided to show with this website that KSA has much more to offer than the stereotype landscape of empty extends of sand dunes. I hope that after reading through these pages people will feel the same willingness and amazement than I have to discover this fascinating country