Interested in spending your weekend with the birds? The central region of Saudi Arabia has two great options to help you get closer to the nature. You can feed different kinds of birds and enjoy the cuteness of their flight around you.
1. Visiting AlWashm Bird’s Sanctuary
AlWashm Protected Bird’s Sanctuary lies on Makkah road, very close to Shaqra. If you are planning for a trip to Ushaiqer Heritage Village, then pass by the sanctuary which is only 15 minutes away from Ushaiqer. Our group, led by Salman from Tour of Riyadh, did exactly that. We made a quick one hour stopover to enjoy with the birds.
Upon entering, we were welcomed with the “huboob” (grains to feed the birds) which led to a group competition of who lands the maximum number of little birds on their palm. I initially struggled in this area as it was my first time to ever let the birds land on my skin. Can you believe it? They must be as scared as me. Eventually, we liked each other and I managed to feed the little bundles of love.
A seating area was available under a covered roof and our group enjoyed some snacks while watching the birds fly in all directions inside the sanctuary.
Our guide began handing us umbrellas and I thought it was a joke when he said that it would rain. The sanctuary had arrangements to simulate the rainwater and its sound too! Some of us liked getting drenched while others posed in the seemingly real rain.
Cost: 100 SAR per hour for 4-5 persons. Individual booking is difficult to obtain though. Advanced booking is required and the best time to visit is weekends. For bookings and more information, please refer to: https://www.instagram.com/_alwshm/ Mobile number: 0554455714 Location: https://goo.gl/maps/VmpEAQGuMhk
2. Visiting AlJumeiniah Protected Bird’s Sanctuary
AlJumeiniah Protected Bird’s Sanctuary is in the famous city known to quickly satisfy AlBaik craving for Riyadhians, AlKharj. It is much closer to Riyadh than AlWashm Sanctuary. Upon entering the Sanctuary, we saw a little garden on our left with two swings, grass and some more bushes. It looked well maintained. On our right, a guest house (istiraha), cozy and large enough, was built with many rooms and separate sections for men and women to enjoy their time after bird feeding.
The sanctuary itself comes after walking past the garden and guest house. It looked pretty similar to AlWashm, though a little smaller in size. It was decorated with cages, little boxes serving as the birds’ holes, lamps for evening light, mini buckets of water, and pieces of wood and bamboo strung together for the birds to rest their paws on.
I found the birds friendlier here and they quickly flocked onto my grains-filled palm to feed themselves. The type of birds are similar to AlWashm, so you won’t find much difference in terms of variety.
In terms of the staff, I liked the ones in AlJumeiniah as they were more approachable and keen to help. There wasn’t any rainwater arrangement here but, it didn’t really matter to me as birds were my main concern.
Information: Entrance per person is SAR 15. Children above four years of age will be charged same as adults. Entrance is free for older women and those with special needs. Hospitality services are available.
Cost: 15 SAR per person for one hour. Advanced booking is required and the best time to visit is weekends. For bookings and more information, please refer to: Al Jumeiniah Birds Sanctuary Instagram Mobile number: 054 554 1322 Location: https://goo.gl/maps/hZ2SaBU3LVm
Check out the quick comparison of the two sanctuaries to decide where you should go.
|Space for other activities||5||3 (Rain)||5 (Garden & Istiraha)|
|Friendliness of Staff||5||4||5|
|Proximity from Riyadh||5||3||5|
|Value for Money||5||3||5|
The verdict: AlJumeiniah Sanctuary.
Enjoy the video made by Traveler Crews for our AlWashm Protected Birds’ Sanctuary trip:
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