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the Degree Confluence Project
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Saudi Arabia : Makka al-Mukarrama

28.1 km (17.5 miles) SSE of al-Far`a, Makka, Saudi Arabia
Approx. altitude: 976 m (3202 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 21°S 137°W

Accuracy: 3 m (9 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: The view to the North #3: A well earned drink #4: The view east showing the confluence interloper #5: The GPS reading #6: The dunes provided a source of fun as well as hardship

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  21°N 43°E (visit #1)  

#1: The view to the South

(visited by Alistair Rausch and Sean Rausch)

02-Dec-2002 -- Some lucky employees in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are given a compulsory break at the end of the holy month of Ramaḍān. I was one of them, but was unable to find any others that had stayed in the Kingdom and who were interested in a long trek through the desert. Therefore, I decided to visit the south-west region of Saudi Arabia on conventional tarmac roads rather than across the desert. So, my son, Sean, and I embarked on a six-day journey of nearly three thousand kilometres which was routed to visit the region’s sights as well as take us past as many confluence points as possible (see also 20N 45E, 19N 45E, 18N 44E, 18N 43E, 19N 43E, 22N 42E, 24N 43E).

Having visited the 19N 43E confluence, we continued driving north. Having passed through the town of Bīša, we found a cosy campsite on a flat sandy floor and protected by small hills. After a delicious BBQ we counted the moving satellites and the falling stars until our eyes needed to stay shut.

The following morning we set off north once more. The terrain seemed perfect for an easy confluence visit until we approached the Confluence. Suddenly the flat plains rose into the high sand dunes of Ḥinjarān. The confluence point was only about five kilometres from the road, but it was protected by the high dunes with their slip faces mocking us, making it impossible for us to drive directly towards the Confluence. We drove up to the dunes to confirm this and then drove north along the base of the dunes until we found a suitable ascent. The dunes were soft and "choppy", which made it difficult without deflating the tyres. As we did not have the support of another vehicle with us, we stopped about one and a half kilometres from the Confluence when the going became too risky.

Much to the dismay of my son, Sean, I suggested that we walk the last leg. This we did, and the going was indeed tough walking through the soft sand. However, we finally arrived at the confluence point, only to discover that two camels had beaten us to it.

We were on the top of the range of dunes so the view was great. We could see the mountains in the west where the main road ran north. To the east, the sand dunes rolled on for as far as you could see. This was definitely a place to come back to.

Continued at 22N 42E.


 All pictures
#1: The view to the South
#2: The view to the North
#3: A well earned drink
#4: The view east showing the confluence interloper
#5: The GPS reading
#6: The dunes provided a source of fun as well as hardship
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)