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Wadi Hanifah in Winter

If only I could freeze moments, I would freeze Sunday's 11th birthday celebration on the first Friday of this month and Gabby's 13th this coming Sunday. But I couldn't. Time seems to pass me by so quickly that I didn't even notice that just ten more days, it's already February.

Speaking of something chilly, I presume that the 3°C last two Sundays ago would be this winter season's coldest. I really thought winter was over after that. So a few days ago, I didn't believe Fred when he advised me to still bring my jacket to work. I didn't follow him and even bragged of my layered outfit to protect me from the cold: an abaya over my usual office clothes and a tarha to cover my head. I was so wrong. Not only did the temperature dropped, it also rained! Being laughed at by our driver who donned an almost complete winter gear - a bonnet, a jacket, a pair of gloves, high socks and thick shoes, I walked to the parking lot shivering. What's worse than that? Well, we had to wait for a few minutes more inside the car because the frigid weather took its toll on the car battery. Brrrr to the 10th power!

Almost the same week last year, we took advantage of the cool temperature and headed to Wadi Hanifah on an early morning. Weeks before our first visit there, Fred and I were wondering why there were too many Wadi Hanifah signs in Riyadh. We wondered where the park is actually located. We later knew that Wadi Hanifah is a wadi or a valley that runs for a length of 120 km from north to south of Riyadh. Because it covers a wide area, you can still see that sign (featured above), even when you are somewhere near Diplomatic Quarter or in King Fahd Road.

We went there with three friends who wanted to experience winter at the park. It was a great morning to bond with friends. The sun shone brightly and the crisp air gently blew. We thought we were the first to stroll Wadi Hanifah but we chanced upon families already on their way out.

I think it's convenient to go there when the temperature ranges from 15°C to 20°C. The park is best for a barbecue picnic and walking those fats off after eating. First tip: if you plan to explore this part of Wadi Hanifah, wear walking or running shoes. Your feet will thank you. And I am so sure you will be tempted to go down the lower part of the park where it's a little rocky (see below).

I've searched for blogs and travel websites that featured Wadi Hanifah and I've read mixed reviews. Most write-ups tell that it is an oasis amidst a vast desert. Some revealed that they didn't see any drop of water there. So, before we came there, I set the bar a little lower and didn't expect too much.

And that's the good thing about not expecting too much. I realized - from the moment we left the main road and headed to that narrow road that lead to Wadi Hanifah Dam - that a place like Wadi Hanifah is there not to amuse us, or to give us something to rave about. It's just there to serve its sole purpose: a place for recreation. I fell in love with it. I could stay there the whole Saturday. I could just stroll, take pictures, have a good time with my family, barbecue chicken and hotdogs, and eat under a shady tree. When you're a working mom like me - who shuffles around the house doing chores after spending hours in front of the computer designing corporate materials for clients - you need something to revive your senses. You need something to get you out of the humdrum of everyday life, even for just a while. And that's what Wadi Hanifah offers. It is a refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life.

That day, I wanted to just sit, relax and while away the time. But my kids decided to do otherwise and set off to check out what lies beyond what their eyes can see. Fearing that they might get lost, we followed them and were sidetracked by those little streams of water along the trail. Such beauty.

Second tip: when you feel like using the hamam or the toilet, don't put it off. The restrooms are few and far between. But that day, we must have been too early because the toilets were still closed and the park's maintenance staff didn't have the keys.

Because we really enjoyed our stroll in Wadi Hanifah, we decided to return there the following day but at a much later time. We got disappointed to know that the park was closed for public at 6PM. But we understood why. The few street lights did little in illuminating a park that big. We can still have a picnic near the road as what some families we saw did, but I presumed it's unsafe. And the police at the gate would probably approach us and tell us it's time to go home. 

And that's what we did. We haven't been there since. We might go back on a chilly morning. Again.

Wadi Hanifah Park and Dam 
Coordinates: 24°39'27.8"N 46°36'31.7"E


Farida Jane said…
Hello Beth! Winter is completely different there. No snow but the wind is surely chilly at 3 degrees! The photos you've taken at Wadi Hanifah are beautiful. It is totally different from what I see in Manila. Glad your family and your friends enjoyed the trip to the park! :)
Again I have been reminded that I need to visit this place, one of this days thanks for your informative post :)
Anonymous said…
Dear Beth,
Thank you so much for your recent post, the pictures are really nice. Having read it, I have a feeling that I’ve visited Wadi Hanifah) I will certainly do it one day, thanks for having inspired me. I would like to share with you a very good free app. It is called Carde and it is at All image content of top social networks is there, it can be useful in communication with your followers. I will be looking forward to your feedback and I’m waiting impatiently for your new posts!
Beth said…
Hi Ida! Nice to see you here. There is snow during winter in the uppermost part of Saudi like Tabuk. I love going to Wadi Hanifah. We just did a few days ago before winter ends. :)
Beth said…
Yes, you should visit Wadi Hanifah. Such a good place for bonding with family and friends. I will inform you when I post our recent visit there. Thanks for dropping by, Dexter.
Beth said…
Thanks for the visit, Iryna. I checked out Carde and downloaded it. I will PM you once I launched or used it, or get the hang of it because I'm really not a tech-savvy person. :( Anyway, thanks again!
Sony said…
Hello, Beth. Sorry to hear you didn't bring your jacket. What can I say? Trust Fred the next time around.

But I digress. The pictures are a "wow", most especially that one which shows a temporary rivulet (for lack of a better term). The wadi as all dry when we got there months ago. Your being traveler has a lot to do with how you crafted the meat of this post: it is a must to recharge our batteries by going to places like Wadi Hanifah every once in a while. No wonder you returned sooner than expected.

I enjoyed reading the post, Beth.

Happy Valentines!

Sony said…
Errata: The wadi "w"as all dry when we got there months ago. Your being "a" traveler has a lot to do with how you crafted the meat of...
Beth said…
Hi Sony,
We returned to Wadi Hanifah two weeks ago. I might make a revisit post next time.

Thank you for the visit and the lovely comment. I learned a new word! I didn't know rivulet, really. :) Now, I have to visit your blog to check if you have new grammar lessons. I really learn from them! :)
Beth said…
Haha. No need for this, Sony. I know they're just typo errors. :)
Anonymous said…
Interesting blog :)

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