A Travellerspoint blog

February 2012

Sandstorm in Riyadh

An Orange World...

sunny 15 °C

Excitement at work today! In blew a sandstorm. From nice sunlight to a surreal orange haze in a couple of minutes. My Saudi friends tell me it happens a couple of times a year. The sand is a fine dust, much finer than we would find in the UK. Visibility is down to a few yards.

Not the best series of photos but hopefully gives you all a taste of how much sand was in the air.
First we knew was the wind got up and it was dusty and then a wall of sand blew over the building. Within the space of a couple of minutes visibility was right down and the lights barely visible. Thankfully we were indoors - it can't have been much fun driving in it or even worse being stuck out in it. From start to finish was maybe 20-30 minutes. A nice bit of rain then made sure that all the cars were covered in a nice orange sludge.

I did venture out for a few seconds - it's hard to describe the strange orange glow from all the sand, creates a very strange effect.

Here's the series of photos taken as the sandstorm built up, photos are a little darker than reality due to slightly tinted windows, but it did become very dark.

Photos courtesy of Tom Hunnisett,

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The camera gave up at this point... :-)
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Couple of the better YouTube videos that other people have posted>>

Posted by Gavin Lee 04:28 Archived in Saudi Arabia Tagged riyadh sandstorm Comments (0)

Indian Head

North West of Riyadh

overcast 15 °C


Click Satellite Button for better view.

Blackpool beach - that's what it felt like... Sat in a deckchair, flat sand in front of me like the sea was out and, of course, a gale force wind making it feel like zero degrees.

From an unpromising start we headed off towards the edge of the cliff to be greeted by a great view out of nowhere, a crumbling rock face stretching into the distance. Once over the edge of the cliff and following a gully made by rainwater it was a welcome relief to be out of the wind and really quite pleasant. Walking along the bottom we found a dry wadi with some flowers in.

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Making our way along the bottom we climbed back out up the rock face. The route taken was straight ahead here and underneath the right hand rock of the group of three (couple of inches in from left of photo), making our way across the rockface and exiting at the far right of the rockface just before the last group of rocks (picture below).

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The ants make the start of the climb.
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Almost there...
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Worth it all I think you'll agree.
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And just for fun we did it twice! I was part of the lead group that went early to scout the trail and make sure it could be done.

And why is it called Indian Head? Well we didn't get that close but it's because of the rock formation at the far right of the last photograph. It's better shown by in this photograph.

Indian Head from the other side by Michael Kiesl

Posted by Gavin Lee 09:44 Archived in Saudi Arabia Tagged walk riyadh Comments (0)

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