The city of Mecca is the holiest place in the Islamic world. Ancient relics and pilgrimage sites attract millions of faithful worshipers each year. The city is located in Saudi Arabia's Mecca Province in the southwestern Hejaz region. The coastal city of Jeddah also lies within Mecca Province, just 45 miles away from the holy city of Mecca. There is very little rain in this region, and the temperatures remain warm even in the winter. With vast desert mountains and the Red Sea on the western coast, the province of Mecca has a variety of outdoor activities for travelers to experience.
Dive and Snorkel in the Red Sea
Go diving or snorkeling in the mystical waters of the Red Sea. The arid climate and barren coast disguise the vibrant marine life below the surface of the sea. The legendary diver Jacques Cousteau once explored these waters, commenting favorably on the rich colors of the underwater reefs. Keep your eyes open as you snorkel. There are more than 450 native species of fish living in the Red Sea reefs just off the coast of Jeddah. You will also find hawksbill turtles, manatee and dolphins. The Red Sea waters on the coast of Mecca Province are safe and warm, perfect for snorkeling and diving year-round. Hire an experienced diving guide to ensure your safety throughout the excursion. One of several trustworthy companies in the area is Desert Sea Divers.
Desert Sea Divers
North Obhur Road
PO Box 50817
Scale the Al Wahba Crater
Hike the Al Wahba Crater northeast of the city of Mecca. Situated in the desert, this massive crater measures nearly 1 mile across with 850-foot cliff faces stretching to the bottom of the pit. The crater bottom fills with water in the wet season and turns into a salt-pan in the summer as the sun evaporates the moisture. This area once saw large amounts of volcanic activity, and the sandy plains surrounding the crater consist mostly of volcanic ash. Trek up the side of the crater to the top. Palm trees grow along the northern cliff face, providing shade for tired hikers. Some locals claim that the crater resulted from a meteorite, but it is in fact an extinct volcano. It takes more than 2 hours to scale and circle the crater once you reach the top, and the descent takes another 45 minutes. Set out on your excursion early and bring plenty of water with you to stay hydrated. Camping is permitted around the crater, but you should hire a guide if you plan on spending the night. Campers and hikers must make do without any bathroom facilities, and no garbage can be left on site.
Swim at Jedda Corniche Beach
Swim at the Jeddah Corniche Beach on the coast of the Red Sea. Just 50 miles from the inland city of Mecca, Jedda Corniche Beach has 22 miles of recently refurbished shoreline. The city of Jeddah invested millions in the past 5 years to upgrade the boardwalk and beachfront. Stroll along the boardwalk promenade observing sculptures and cultural monuments. Swim in the warm waters of the Red Sea. Hire a sailboat for a cruise along the coast, taking in the views of downtown Jeddah as you go. Local vendors also sell traditional foods as well as ice cream at Jeddah Corniche Beach, making this an ideal spot for a family outing.
Article Written By David Thyberg
David Thyberg began his writing career in 2007. He is a professional writer, editor and translator. Thyberg has been published in various newspapers, websites and magazines. He enjoys writing about social issues, travel, music and sports. Thyberg holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh Honors College with a certificate in Spanish and Latin American studies.