Wadi Qaraqir

The natural jewel of Saudi Arabia

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Wadi Qaraqir - also known as Wadi Dissah - is a 15 kilometer long canyon running through the Jebel Qaraqir, a sandstone massif lying about 80 kilometers south of the city of Tabuk. This natural wonder was for a long time a well-kept secret among explorers, before the road leading to the nearby city of Dissah was built and satellite images were available to the public, which made it quite difficult to find and reach. Today, there are two roads leading to each entrance of the wadi and this natural wonder has become one of the must-see places in Saudi Arabia.

Eastern entrance of Wadi Qaraqir (Photo: Florent Egal)

Eastern entrance of Wadi Qaraqir (Photo: Florent Egal)

The first striking feature of this wadi is its dimensions: at the eastern entrance of the canyon the side cliffs are already higher than 100 meters...

... but at the western entrance the gap between the bottom of the wadi and the tallest cliffs reaches as high as 500 meters! It is there, from the massive rocky peaks, standing on both sides of the canyon, that one can admire the most dramatic scenery of this magical place.

Western part of Wadi Qaraqir (photo: Florent Egal)

Western part of Wadi Qaraqir (photo: Florent Egal)

The second - and most unexpected - amazing feature of Wadi Qaraqir is a water stream that runs through the western part of the canyon towards the city of Dissah.

Vegetation in the eastern part of Wadi Qaraqir (photo: Florent Egal)

Vegetation in the eastern part of Wadi Qaraqir (photo: Florent Egal)

A traveler exploring Wadi Qaraqir from the eastern entrance will find abundant palm trees growing naturally along the wadi bed. But once half-way through the canyon underground water tops up all year long.

As a result, lush vegetation made of 3 meter high grass, numerous palm trees and bushes, flourishes in between the majestic cliffs of the canyon.

Permanent stream in Wadi Qaraqir (photo: Florent Egal)

Permanent stream in Wadi Qaraqir (photo: Florent Egal)

There is a hard top entering the western part of Wadi Qaraqir from the city of Dissah but (fortunately) it doesn't go through the whole wadi. As some parts of the wadi bed are made of soft sand it is not possible to explore further without a proper 4X4. Hence, travelers not having the proper equipment for sand recovery are advised to reach Wadi Qaraqir from the city of Dissah (western access) which is anyway the most spectacular route.

Wadi Qaraqir (photo: Florent Egal)

Wadi Qaraqir (photo: Florent Egal)



The natural jewel of Saudi Arabia (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

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