The Disappearing Lake

We went to see the disappearing lake one day.  It had disappeared.  Obviously this was the wrong time to come.  Apparently, during the rainy season, there is a lot of water in this lake.  It runs down through the surrounding sands and meets in a rather large valley that, on this day, was covered with a lot of greenery.  Proof there has been water.

Although there had been quite a bit of rain prior to our visit, it wasn’t sufficient to fill the lake.  In fact, the base of the lake was solid enough to drive a fair way through before it started getting soft and we risked sinking our 4WD Yukon.

Not that that would have been a problem.  The lake is also a popular picnic spot for the locals.  There were four wheel drives galore hooning around the dunes.  A call for help would have been responded to.

The Arabic name for the lake is Kharara.  I only know this because the turn off was sign posted in Arabic and English – quite helpful for Kiwi’s on a tiki tour.
At 3pm on a weekend afternoon there was also a crowd starting to gather.
Driving over the rise toward the lake did make me go “Wow, look at that”.  The green was an unexpected contrast to the surrounding red dunes.  We decided to follow a vehicle down into the lake – there was an obvious track around the inner circumference. 

As we got closer to the gateway all I could say was “Crikeys, look at all the rubbish”.

Location of Lake Kharara 24° 24′ 20.63″ N 46° 14′ 43.45″ E

Muslims might have a “Keep clean” verse in the Quran, but Saudi’s don’t relate it to the environment.  The place looked like a trash can.  What a bloody shame!

After recovering (partially) from the disappointment of a cultures obvious disregard for the health and cleanliness of the planet on which they live, I was determined to find water here.  There must be some.  So Glenn, (who’s such an obliging husband) wove his way through the lake, and numerous picnikers, following tracks that criss crossed the base in search of wetness, a pool – anything that could have us say ‘Yay, water’. 

The best we could find, eventually, was a damp spot that had turned the hard dirt soft.

Sunken tyre marks from vehicles who had taken this route before were testament to the fact that this was as far as were going.  The ground did look more solid over yonder, but Glenn had had enough sight seeing, largely because the sights were rather monotonous.  Plus it was time to eat.  On our way back to the hillside, we came across some bird life that Glenn had never seen before.  He’s a bit of a wild life lover….so I had to take some photo’s for him.

We were greeted, on our exit from the lake by a rather large swell in visitors to the dunes.  There were over a hundred vehicles.  Four wheel drive families out enjoying the scenery and open air and young men testing out their driving skills in the soft sands.

I had packed our own picnic, so we found a spot up on a hill overlooking the lake and settled on our newly bought arabic rug to enjoy the early evening.  It was quite entertaining.  Vehicles sliding up and down sand dunes, one car (note – a car, not a 4WD – who the heck brings a car out on sand dunes?) was abandoned after it bottomed out in the sand.  Young men, and some not so young, were digging their vehicles out while the women decided to leave them to it out to enjoy the outdoor exercise that walking up sand dunes provides.

We are glad we found the Disappearing Lake, and I am presuming this was ‘the’ disappearing lake.  Next time we’ll save our next visit until there has been a bit more rain.  It would be nice to see what the lake looks like once it has reappeared.

Map To Disappearing Lake

Ka Kite,

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