Dune Bashing in Khobar – Saudi Arabia
Living in a country which is mostly covered with desert and not relishing a sand related sport can’t be justified. Dune Bashing is a popular recreational activity here in Saudi Arabia. There are designated areas at outskirts of cities where quad-bikes rentals are available. These areas also attract locals performing stunts in sand dunes on 4×4 SUVs or driving recklessly in sand.
It was one of the weekend when I made a plan with my friend to try this sport for the first time. After some web search, I found out that the most popular area closest to Khobar city for dune bashing was beside Half Moon Bay. We (with our families) reached there by Friday (local holiday) afternoon. It was still a little bit hot but I was surprised to see the area was already full of people. Luckily, we found a Pakistani guy who was renting buggies (so no language problem :).
He asked us which type of quad-bike we want as there were many variants small, medium, large or manual/automatic. Upon knowing that we are novice, he himself suggested medium size quad-bike with automatic transmission. The rent of medium size quad-bike was 60 SAR (16 USD) per hour and for large size, the rent was double.
At first, we practiced on flat area. Even it was quite a fun.
After practicing for 10~15 minutes, we were confident enough to accelerate to reach the top of dune.
A number of riders were maneuvering around while some experts were performing different stunts. Couple of such ‘experts’ fell off the bike but luckily, no one was hurt.
Upon reaching the dune top, we saw a number of vehicles (mainly 4×4) on the other side of sand hump. They were also trying to cross the dune top.
While others were simply driving through the sand.
Driving a vehicle on sand requires a different set of skills as vehicle may slide on sand specially on steep slopes. Also air pressure in SUV’s or car’s tyre is usually reduced to flatten it out and to ensure a stronger grip on sand. However it’s an implicit norm that if a vehicle is jammed in sand and you are nearby, you are supposed to help him.
I saw a guy whose quad bike was stuck in sand and his friend was trying to toe his bike. They succeeded to pull it out before I could reach them and ask if they needed any help.
My friend, not visible though 🙂
Women were also allowed to drive a quad bike in the vicinity, so did my wife. It could be surprising for some to know that driving a vehicle is officially ban in Saudi Arabia. Violators can face fine as well as short duration imprisonment. Though they can enjoy quad bike at least.
Finally the rental time was over and we returned back to base. We vowed to come back soon and experience large quad bike. Hopefully, some weekend, we would do.