Al-Jawf

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Al-Jawf

One of Saudi Arabia's northernmost regions, Al-Jawf (also spelt Al-Jouf) is a treasure ground of historic artefacts and natural beauty. The province's two major tourist routes lie through its rural capital of Sakakah and the ancient town of Dumat Al-Jandal, where most of Al-Jawf's ruins and ancient relics are concentrated. Endless opportunities for exploration, rich cultural heritage, and exotic desert adventures await visitors to Al-Jawf at every turn.

The Region

Much if the province's territory is used for olive and date farming; the Wadi Sarhan area in particular is known for its high concentration of fertile farmlands. Lush greenery starts to disperse the closer one travels towards the An Nafud desert, where an abundance of activities awaits - from camping out in the sands to catching the morning rays of the rising sun to engaging in exotic desert sports such as sand surfing and duning, riding camels and jeep racing. Among the most sought-after historic sights of Al-Jawf are the Za'abal Castle and Al-Dhelā€™ quarter of Sakakah, as well as the open-air ruins of Dumat Al-Jandal and the mysterious rocks of Al-Rajajil, whose original designation remains unknown to this day. Those looking to explore the region's fauna may find the Hurrat Al Hurrah Reserve of particular interest - located on migratory birds' natural migration path, the area is a real find for bird-watchers.

Do & See

The province's two major cities of interest are conveniently located only a few kilometers away from each other. Sakakah, the capital, borders on Dumat Al-Jandal (an ancient open-air town of ruins) in the north-west. In Sakakah, do not miss the panoramic views from atop Za'abal Castle, and possibly make time for a trip to Dumat Al-Jandal lake located nearby.

Dining

Grains such as wheat and rice together with meats, such as lamb, constitute the bulk of Saudi cuisine--pork is normally not served in the country, as its consumption is forbidden by Islam. Milk is often used in local cooking, and dates constitute a dessert staple. Another local speciality is the desert truffle, collected by Bedouins and served as dessert. Exotic treats of Al-Jawf include desert lizards ("dobb"), wild rabbits, and birds.

Cafes

Escape the heat by visiting one of the cafes dotting the region's towns. They are a great way to relax and people watch while enjoying some hot coffee or tea. Many places roast their own beans and offer great desserts, as well.

Bars & Nightlife

The cultural environment in Saudi Arabia is highly conservative. Religious law forbids the sale or consumption of alcohol throughout Saudi Arabia, so there are no bars or nightclubs. Instead, evening social activities are centred on shopping or dining out in one of the region's many restaurants or cafes whilst indulging in a delicious mocktail (a mix of fresh fruit juices) or a strong cup of Arabic coffee.

Shopping

Like most Saudi destinations, Al-Jawf Region is home to authentic markets where bargaining is most welcome as well as fixed-price stores and boutiques. When in the area, do not miss Aljouf Plaza located in Sakakah - it is the province's largest shopping center and event venue. Local crafts to shop for include Badu weaving, rugs, carpets, and, of course, olives and products made of olive derivatives.