By Mohammad A. Ghamdi
Being an explorer, the idea of crossing the Rub’ al-Khali, also known as the Empty Quarter, was a big challenge.
We spent three months preparing for the trip, meeting frequently to study any potential risks or challenges that we may face.
The team consisted of eight carefully selected individuals and every member had a responsibility — navigation, medical equipment, supplies, logistics, and spare parts.
If you are planning to cross the Rub’ al-Khali, let me share some of the challenges.
January is the best time to go because the sand is harder and the weather is more pleasant.
A permit is needed to show your trip route, enough gasoline is essential to cross from the east to the far west, and rescue tools are required, especially for towing vehicles.
We started the trip on Dec. 31, 2020, to celebrate the New Year in the vast desert, which was amazing. There is sand as far as you can see during the day, and at night you can almost touch the stars.
Our trip had many planned stops for food, rest, sleep, and refueling.
Some of the most charming sites we visited during our journey included Al Shalfa sweet water well, the Wabar meteorite site, the Jalab hot sulfur water well (where the team had the best shower ever), and the Oryx sanctuary, which was an amazing place to visit and see the different types of animals.
For those who have never visited the Rub’ al-Khali, you will be shocked by the sand dunes, which can reach up to 300 meters high.
It’s always a majestic view with a clear sky at night, and sleeping under the stars will take your breath away.
Special thanks to all the trip members, the Ju’aymah NGL Fractionation Department, the Corporate Affairs Department, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, and the Shaybah Wildlife Sanctuary team for the great support and motivation.
— The Arabian Sun: March 17, 2021 | Vol. LXXVI, No. 11