Outside Riyadh


King Khalid Wildlife Park

Wildlife lovers should definitely put the King Khaled research centre on their must-visit list, it being a major conservation nature park some 80kms north of Riyadh’s town centre.

Here you will see a number of animals that you would be hard pressed to see elsewhere – such as Ruppel’s fox, the desert hare, the sand cat and the rock hyrax.

Pride of place, however, goes to the breeding pens for larger animals which are indigenous to the region – such as Oryx, Desert Rheem, and the Darker Coated Idmi. There are also non indigenous Gazelle, Zebra and Ostrich – the Arabian Ostrich died out in the 1930s.

Each animal released into the wild has its chromosome pattern recorded in order to ensure that the gazelles of separate species released in a particular area are sufficiently disparate to prevent cross breeding. Many animals also have radio collars fitted so that their success in integrating back into the wild can be monitored.

In order to visit the Thumamah Research Centre, you need first to get permission from the head office of the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development which is located on Khazzan Street near Shamaisi Hospital.

At its visitors’ centre, you can get detailed information not only about the Centre, but also about other reserves and research centres – including the Ibex Reserve which can be found 300km south of the capital.

Alternatively, you can ring them on (01) 441 0369.

You will pass the King Khaled Research Centre if you are heading towards Thumamah Airport and if you’re in luck you might be able to combine a visit to the Centre with some displays of sky diving.

Entrance: 25o 11.99’ N; 46o 38.42’ E

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