In this post: Al Makhwah is 103 km from Al Qunfudhah. It is a small town in Al Bahah province of Saudi Arabia better known for the Shada mountain and the Watch Towers. This rocky mountain is something to see really! You can only enjoy it fully from Al Makhwah as it looms over in the background.
Last month, over the Eid al Fitr holidays, we road tripped to Al Bahah via Al Qunfudhah. There are two routes that lead to Al Bahah from Jeddah- Route 5 which takes you via Makhwah and Route 15 that takes you via Taif. We chose to go by Route 5 and return by Route 15.
After staying at the sea side town of Al Qundfudhah, we started for Al Bahah again, stopping to see the Shadda mountain at Makhwah and then the Dhee Ayn Village in Al Huraan Valley before taking the winding road up to Al Bahah.
The Town of Al Makhwah
Al Makhwah from Al Qunfudhah is 1o3Km. It isn’t really one big town but a series of villages that together are known as Al Makhwah or Al Mekhwa.
Al Bahah province is known as the Land of 1001 Watch Towers. Really, there are so many. Almost on every hill! They are ruins, of course, but something to really see.
Next stop on our trip was Makhwah, a small town at the foot of the Tihama mountains. . Scroll —-> to see the rocky Sadda Mountain. ⛰ It was WOW!! . We found a lot of historic ruins. See last pic (scroll —>) they are villages that have been abandoned. . Makhwah had lots of such villages that had been carved either into the mountain or made using just rocks! . … as we went up the mountains, we saw that many new villages had been built around these ruins. More pics to come. . #exploresaudi #summeraroundtheworld #summertravel #mkbkids #jeddahmom #roadtrippin #saudiarabia #sauditourism #whereintheworld #archaeologicalruins
These towers are like forts that were built over 400 years ago by the tribes living there to protect themselves from invaders. The towers are made of shale and slate stones, placed one upon the other, without much binding material to hold together. The windows, if any, are made of wood and stone hinges. Most of it is in ruins, but it is really interesting to see how they survived for so long. These have become uninhabitable with time, as this region gets lots of rain. Due to erosion and weathering, it is not even safe to explore them. We had little children with us and as the men had already explored these places before, we only stopped to take pictures from afar.
We saw that quite a few had new settlements around them with newer houses too.
Al Bahah region is known for it’s handicrafts. We saw a few examples of their work in Al Makhwah along the roads.
In Makhwah, on the side of the road. This beautiful display that we saw, is made into the mountain. Scroll the pictures to see more closely. All of it, including that bridge and door is stone. Isn’t it stunning? #whereintheworld #sauditourism #saudiarabia #summertravel #jeddahmom #roadtripping #summeraroundtheworld #mkbkids #manmadewonders #uaephotographer #saudi_nature
Al Shada Mountain:
24 kms north of Al Makhwah town is the rocky Shada mountains. There are two mountains Shada al Asfal and Shada al ‘Ala. Shada al ‘Ala is the bigger one. It is quite spectacular to see from a distance as it looms over the horizon while you travel towards it.
It was foggy that day and we could only make out it’s outline in the distance, casting shadows. The weather was still very sunny and pleasant in spite of the fog, or else I think it would have looked very eerie.
The mountain and the area around Al Makhwah is known for it’s coffee plantations. This region also produces the most expensive honey in Saudi Arabia.
Al Shada mountain and the Al Bahah region are one place in Saudi Arabia that really has four seasons! It was turned into a nature reserve in 2001 by the Saudi Wildlife Authority. Therefore, you can find wild and rare creatures such as the Arabian leopard, striped hyena, Arabian wolf, foxes, lynx, rock hyrax, Nubian ibex and the oryx and many wild birds thriving here. This region is said to have over 400 types of plants including the juniper and olive trees. You can find roses blooming in the Spring season, I’ve read.
No, we didn’t. We didn’t see any animals except may be a few sheeps and camels grazing. It is Summer. I am hoping we get to see it in the winter sometime. Yes, I want to go back there!!
The Shada mountain is best known for it’s caves and steep rock formations. There are watch towers that have been carved into the mountain on the top too, I was told. These ancient caves have been used as houses (abandoned now of course!). They have drawings and scribblings that date back to 2000 and 6000 BC. It is perfect for some adventure and hiking. If you are interested in mountain climbing, this is the place to go! There are hiking groups that go up there to explore too.
My BIL said that some of those towers and caves are rented to tourists to camp for the night (if you’re that brave!). We had little children in the car and we were driving sedans so we didn’t go up.
The road to Shada al Ala, is really scenic and even if you don’t plan to go up the mountain, there is a little park with children’s playground to enjoy. It is a perfect little picnic spot. The park is right after the tunnel under the mountain.
You can go ahead, follow the road, all the way to the top where you will find some villages on the way. However, we returned back to Al Makhwah to carry on our journey.