Saudi Arabian Adventures : Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe?
Yes, very much so – we have spent many days here and felt very secure. There is a high Police and Army presence and this contributes greatly to security within the country. Our trips are also very safe too, although we are in remote areas we never take unnecessary risks and you will be in the hands of two very experienced guides.
Is Saudi dry? Can we buy alcohol there?
Saudi is a “dry” country and you cannot purchase alcohol there at all, nor can you take in duty free/personal imports. Those found in possession of alcohol may be jailed.
Will I need to take a lot of spending money?
Most of our guests spend very little on our Adventures. You will need to pay for your own premium soft drinks, shisha (hubby bubbly pipe) and souvenirs but apart from that, pretty much everything is covered. Although our trips are in remote areas, you will have access to ATMS in Medina and Tabuk, but we also advise you to take some Riyals (SAR). Saudi, like Oman is very much a cash society.
Will I need inspect repellant?
Unfortunately there are mosquitoes in Saudi, mainly near the coast, so taking a quality insect repellent is a good idea (we favour ones with Deet). Hopefully you will not need it but it’s best to be prepared for the little blighters! Please note that you should buy this in advance as it is unlikely we will be able to purchase once we are on tour.
What if we get stranded in the desert?
Have no fear, this has never happened to us. If we did require external assistance we can call for it using our satphone. Many years ago Marina had to use the satphone for an emergency, not a serious one and with just her hubby and her driving our cars, but it is possibly her best campfire story so you will hear all about it when you join a trip!
Do I need any special vaccinations for Saudi?
The UK National Health Service only specifies that the normal vaccinations we have in the UK are up to date with boosters. There are a few other they suggest and you can read about them here.
How many people do you take on your trips?
On our week long trips we take up to 6 guest cars, which at most have 4 persons in each so we could have 14 (6 x 2 plus 2 guides) to 26 on our trips. Most of our guests opt for 2 in a car so it is more likely that the party will be around 14-16. If you have a group of friends or colleagues who wish to have a trip all to themselves please contact us to talk about our private trips.
How hot is it at night?
Temperatures depend very much on the month and the area, but you can expect temps of between 1C and 23C overnight. This feels much cooler than it does in the UK though, anything under 18C will probably have you reaching for a fleece!
What times are sunrise and sunset in Saudi?
These vary depending on the location and the time of year. Sunrise and sunset are mainly influenced by the lattitude as well as the distance along the time zone.
For instance, on our tours in November-April you can expect sunrise to be from 0600hrs-0700hrs and sunset from 1730hrs-1830hrs.
How far will be we from a doctor/hospital?
Mostly, we will be within 2 hours of a local clinic – there are many dotted around the country. Marina has a first aid certificate and we carry a comprehensive first aid kit with us.
Is there an upper age limit for guests?
We have no upper age limit. Seniors who are in good health and have moderate fitness levels will love our adventures!
Do ladies have to cover their hair/wear an abaya?
There is no legal requirement any more for ladies to wear a black abaya, nor cover their hair, and most areas we go, then modest, loose fitting western clothes are fine. That being said, there are some places when it is best to cover ladies hair, as it is respectful to the local community and elders.
Can ladies drive?
Yes, ladies can, and do drive, in the Kingdom since 2018! Marina even worked as an offroad driving instructor on the Dakar VIP experience in 2022!
Car and Driving Questions
Can I bring my own vehicle?
Yes you certainly can – currently we do not offer rental car packages in Saudi Arabia, though we hope to next season. Thre is not a lot of offroading by distance, but your car must be a 4×4, have recovery points front and rear and adequate clearance for the terrain we will cross, but no special modifications are necessary. Offroad insurance is also required. Find out more here
Can I hire a car and join your trip?
You most certainly can; currently we do not have any partners so cannot recommend a specific company. However if we were to rent one, then we would pick one up in Jeddah from one of the big international companies. Please ensure your car is a 4×4, not an AWD/4WD; it should have reasonable clearance and have 4LOW option.
Do I have to buy recovery equipment?
Do I have to buy recovery equipment?
No need, we have everything we need to pull you out of a stuck. If you want to take your own rated recovery gear then that is fine too. You can read more about our recovery equipment here.
Can I take my own rooftent or trailer?
You are welcome to take your own rooftent but sorry, we do not accept trailers on our trips.
Do I drive the car or does the guide?
You the guest drive the car for all of the trip. Don’t worry if you haven’t done any offroading before as we will teach you everything you need to know for the terrains we cross. To get the most out of this trip you must like driving!
How many people will share my car?
Your booking is for one car and the number of people in your party, so you will not be sharing a car with strangers.
Can we drive on our own country's licence?
Unless you have a Saudi or a GCC licence, we recommend you get an International Driving Licence/Permit from your home country.
What if my car breaks down in the desert?
Firstly, this is unlikely to happen, as we encourage all our guests to have their car serviced/checked over before they join the trip. If a breakdown does occur, then we will put a plan in action which may include us carrying them out of the desert in our guide’s car, and give advice regarding recovery/repair if needed (our guide knows lots of repair shops in our tour area)
Do I have to take my own camping equipment?
Ideally yes, although we may be able to offer you a camping gear hire package, please get in touch to check availability.
What does "wild" camping mean?
It means camping with zero facilities. We do not stop at pre-assembled camps, rather we make camp an hour or so before sunset wherever that happens to be, normally somewhere quiet and remote, where at night we will see an inky black sky dotted with stars.
How about toilets and showers?
When we are wild camping there are no toilets apart from the privacy of a bush or a dune! We carry a portable shower with us should you want to have a quick wash at the end of our camping days; we have organised our intineraries so that, with the exception of nights 1 and 2, every alternate night is spent in a hotel/villa
Will we get enough to eat?
We always buy lots of extra food- we would rather have it with us in the desert and give it away to construction labourers at the end if not needed.
Do you cater for special diets?
We cater for carnivores, vegetarians and gluten free. If you are vegan we may also be able to cater for you but would like some input before you book as vegan options in Saudi are extremely limited. If you suffer from a food allergy which may require the use of an epipen, please do get in touch before booking.
How do you keep food cool?
We have a large compressor fridge as well as a couple of supersized ice boxes so we can keep plenty of food and water cool for everyone. We encourage you to take a small cool box in your car for water and soft drinks in between stops
If I take my own coolbox will there be somewhere to replenish ice?
Our tours pass through some small towns with supermarkets and large gas stations and we will stop daily if possible to give you a chance to stock up on ice or anything else you need, subject to stock availability.
Do you take children on your trips?
Yes we do. Some of our itineraries are during term-time which are ideal for guests who would prefer not to have children in the group. However we welcome young children on our special school holiday itineraries since we make lots of extra stops to let them stretch their legs and explore. Be aware however, that all our Saudi itineraries have a good bit of car-time so we suggest you have some in-car entertainment for your kids.
Do children get a discount?
Yes they do providing there are two full paying adults in the car. The child price depends very much on the hotel sleeping arrangements – please send us an email
How long will we be driving at a time?
We always try to stop at least once every two hours on all our itineraries.
Saudi is a huge country, but the roads are good and travel between main cities is relatively fast.
On our Saudi Pioneers, which has yet to be group tested, our plan is (approx distance, approx driving minutes, comments)
- Day 1 – 540kms – 400 minutes – to reach the most interesting areas
- Day 2 – 318kms – 224 minutes
- Day 3 – 224kms – 165 minutes
- Day 4 – 183kms – 180 minutes
- Day 5 – 147kms – 128 minutes
- Day 6 – 304kms – 220 minutes
- Day 7 – 370kms – 420 minutes (long section of offroad this day)