Where Arabian landscapes are vertiginous
In a country where rainfall is scarce and temperatures are over 40°C most of the year, the Province of Aseer (as the neighbooring Al-Baha) enjoys a very special status. On its high plateau the temperatures rarely rise above 35°C, and while the rest of the country has only one short rainy season, Aseer Province benefits from two generous rainy seasons, one in March-April and the other one during the summer, thanks to the monsoon coming from the nearby Indian Ocean.
As a result the landscapes in the higher part of the plateau are nowhere near to the stereotypes of the Arabian desert, but instead is all about green hills that inhabitants have redesigned for millennia by building terraces for agriculture which have created harmonious underlining of the relief.
When heading west from Aseer's high plateau an inevitable natural obstacle spreads from north to south: the impressive cliffs that lay between the plateau and the Tihama coastal plain. The difference of altitude between the top of the cliffs and the plains at the bottom can reach as much as 2000 meters! There are several roads going down and up the cliffs with parking areas on the road sides allowing visitors to stop safely and admire the stunning view of the escarpments.
Once reaching the bottom of the cliffs the greenery and agriculture are still present with some areas even showing aspects of a mangrove. But the big difference with the top of the Sarawat mountains is the climate: the variance in temperature can reach 10 degrees, and the difference in humidity is even more striking.
Tour operators organizing trips to the Sarawat Mountains in Aseer
Where Arabian landscapes are vertiginous (author: Florent Egal)