‘Jeddah Go Outdoors’ offers hiking trips to experience Saudi Arabia’s natural splendor
JEDDAH: The urge to explore and reconnect with nature is at the heart of Jeddah Go Outdoors, a Saudi organization unlocking adventures in the Kingdom.
Founded by Ahmed Shatta, Maher Indijani, and Mohammed Jafrawi, Jeddah Go Outdoors regularly organizes trips inspired by their own passion for hiking.
Shatta fell in love with walking and spending time in nature with his friends and fellow students while he was studying in the US. He then wanted to put his newfound hiking skills into practice when he returned to Saudi Arabia.
In Jeddah, Shatta began hiking with his friends in 2014. At the time, hiking was not particularly common, and the only people who joined him on these expeditions were foreigners. Now, Shatta and his friends are making the activity more accessible and organized for locals and tourists, and creating opportunities to appreciate the wonders of the Kingdom’s diverse landscape.
“The idea to start a tour group and get people out of their houses to explore the countryside came about because I felt that everyone should be able to observe and appreciate the beauty and wealth of our nature between mountains, lands, and weather,” Shatta told Arab News.
With the inception of that idea, along with Jafrawi and Indijani, Shatta created the tourism foundation that is now approved and licensed by the Ministry of Tourism.
They started by traveling domestically throughout the Kingdom, and later expanded to international trips to explore places like Georgia, Oman, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and more.
As experienced hikers, their forays outside the Kingdom are learning experiences that they use to their advantage. “Our overseas travels have given us a wealth of knowledge from our hiking experiences outside of the Kingdom. For instance, while in Oman, we discovered they had a 20 km walking tour. We learned how to do it and used it to organize and prepare an adventure here on our visits,” he said.
Their trips are not limited to hiking as they also organize zipline adventures and biking trips: “What sets us apart are our affordable rates and our array of packages, which include hiking meditation, challenging hiking, and even a fantastic bike ride in Jeddah’s Al-Balad area, where we all ride our bikes and take in the breathtaking views of the UNESCO World Heritage Site,” Shatta added.
People should venture outside of their comfort zone and explore that nature, rather than being enmeshed in mundane occupations and everyday responsibilities.
Ahmed Shatta, Jeddah Go Outdoors co-founder
Shatta and his companions take trips frequently and have added a lot of exciting elements to the experiences, like Egyptian Night, Levant Night, Kuwaiti Night, and more.
His purpose is to link humans with the natural world around them, and thus far they have served over 70,000 people.
“We fulfilled several government contracts, such as the one from the Saudi Climbing and Hiking Federation to map out a path through Al-Baha. We created the route after winning the bid,” he said.
With a workforce composed entirely of women, Jeddah Go Outdoors has also been able to cater to women who desire privacy during these adventures.
Being an IT specialist, Shatta was also able to develop the website with a simple booking system. He is currently working on a platform that unites all travel agencies in the Kingdom and their operating systems, enabling them to showcase their deals and tickets for their experiences: “Since we have a large client database, we have decided to assist other Saudi tourism businesses in joining this platform so they can advertise their services there and generate income.”
His job necessitates him spending a lot of time in front of a computer, much like most people these days working corporate jobs.
“People should venture outside of their comfort zone and explore that nature, rather than being enmeshed in mundane occupations and everyday responsibilities,” he says.