Vast swathes of the Middle East were either once seas, or explosive volcanoes or both. Now that Saudi Arabia’s ruling family has decided to open up Saudi Arabia to the Western world, it is opening up some of the most untouched places on earth including their ancestral home, a palace made from mud. One of the new sites to open to tourists at the spectacular region of Alulu is the Khaybar Volcano Camp. Sleep under the stars, for $500 a night.
The luxury glamping site, being marketed as an eco-lodge, opened in December late 2022 and it’s situated on the landscape of an ancient, dormant volcano called the Harrat Khaybar. It is being touted as one of the most untouched places on earth. If you are new to Saudi Arabia and Alula, start here.
Archeologists are rushing into the area to study ancient and near history in the Khaybar Harrat area and are forming new theories of civilization from the region. They found desert kites created by ancient trappers, and strange burial mounds meant for travellers. If you are an aspiring archaeologist, Saudi Arabia is the place to rush in.
The Khaybar Volcano Camp is at the heart of it all, at one of the rarest lava fields in Saudi Arabia which has seen traces of people living there over the years. The region is full of monumental archaeological evidence, prehistoric monuments (see the desert kites), rare geological landmarks, lush oases, and lava caves that have existed with and without us for millions of years.
Think Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a history? Think again. Meet it along with locals at the Khaybar Volcano Camp. Started there the region will be accessible to travelers who desire nature and history, over let’s say fake moons and flying taxis (another tourism direction for Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.)
Cultural activities, mythical storytelling, evening stargazing, wellness programming, balloon flights (tethered), and trekking to geological wonders and touring the ancient ruins are some of the activities offered at the volcano resort. Cost? About $1000 USD for a couple for 2 nights, including meals.
Ten luxury tents with ensuite bathrooms (which is now known as glamping) feature upscale furnishings and creature comforts. Natural, local ingredients make up the meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As for “eco” credentials beyond the organic food –– you can look into it when you are there. How do they get their power, where does water come from? Where does waste go? What are the hiring and work policies at the resort? These are some questions you can ask when you go.
Saudi Arabia isn’t the first to start volcano travelling. Costa Rica and Sicily both have active volcanoes and an active group of tourists who flock to these places for some geological action. Over in Israel, Beresheet Hotel, is a luxury hotel overlooking the Ramon crater formed by a retracting sea. That’s what NASA says, after theories of meteorites and volcanoes were quashed. You might need a trust fund however to afford staying at this place.
Another nature option for the budget traveller is to sail across the Red Sea to Sinai, Egypt and hike and trek to God’s mountain with a local Bedouin guide who will bring tents and a full camp/semi-glamp experience for a fraction of the price.
More on Harrat Khaybar
Harrat Khaybar is one of Saudi Arabia’s largest volcanic fields, covering an area of more than 10,000 square miles, and found north of Medina. An 80 mile vent system contains felsic lava domes, tuff rings, the Jabal Qidr stratovolcano, and numerous small basaltic cones. At least seven of the ancient lava flows are young at less than 4,500 years old, and another eight are less than 1,500 years old. An eruption was reported in the early Mohammedan times during the 7th Century.
More to explore in Alula, Saudi Arabia: