Between Nejd and Nafud

Nejd Nafud

In the Nejd and Nafud deserts, it was these sand dune beauties that called…that seemed to be the emissaries of the Empty Quarter, the Rub Al Khali, the world’s largest contiguous sand desert, located in the southern Arabian Peninsula, to the south east of the Asir Mountains and north of Yemen and Oman.

In the 1980s, while living and working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I travelled the triangle from Jeddah to Riyadh to Medina, touching the edges of the Nejd and Nafud deserts, and then via the Red Sea coast back to Jeddah.  There were always somewhere in the landscape…sand dunes–not always continuous but amongst rocky plains and stony mountains, sand dunes tucked here and there.

Somehow these sand dune emissaries had moved north on their own from the Empty Quarter, and I must say–they began as magnetic attractions for my eyes.

But also their landscape stories, their landscape reputations became magnetic attractions through the ears as heard by St. John Philby, Bertram Thomas, Richard Francis Burton, Wilfred Thesiger, Gertrude Bell and T.E. Lawrence–all authors, all travelers, all mesmerized into their own Arabian Peninsula sand dune desert explorations.

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