Page 1 of 2
I first visited Dissa during my first year (1995) in Saudi Arabia. A group of us were on a week-long camping trip to Wadi Garagir and this took us through the village. We did not have the time to explore the village, but I was impressed by the spectacular nature of the surroundings and untouched nature of it.
At the end of October, 2006 and again in December of the same year I visited Dissa again - this time alone and with plenty of time to explore. In the meantime, I had discovered that the village also contained a Nabatean tomb, similar to the ones at Petra and Madain Salah and set locating this as one of my goals.
Setting out from Jeddah early in the morning I drove North along the road on the Western coast of Saudi Arabia. It is a long and rather uninteresting journey and, as this was during Ramadan, there was no food available on the way. By dusk, I had travelled as far North as was possible and I set about locating a suitable campsite out of view of the road. This was quite easy as there were a few small hilly rocky outcrops and I quickly set up my tent behind one of these. The first task, however, was to light the barbecue for my evening meal.
By 7 o'clock, it was pitch black and I had enjoyed a satisfying meal. By 7:30, I had settled down for the night and was in my sleeping bag. At 8:30, my mobile rang and awoke me. The rest of the world was still busy. I woke again at around 3:30 and, having had enough sleep, decided to pack up and get back on the road. Along the roadside are regular petrol stations which also provide (very) basic food and drink services. Very soon, I was enjoying the staple fare of cooked chicken and rice served with a small salad.
I reached the turn-off for Dissa just as the daylight was beginning to making its presence felt. My previous visit had left a strong visual memory of the filling station where we had left the main Tabuk road. With a little help from a map and GPS, I had managed to locate this quite easily. We had earlier left the road at this point and I had prepared a GPS route to follow to Dissa. Rather disappointingly, I discovered that, in the intervening years, the road-builders had been at work and I was presented with a perfect asphalt which, I quickly discovered, led me all the way into Dissa. I also gave a lift to a Sudani hitch-hiker who was able to tell me that there was now a 'Health Centre' in the village with a doctor who spoke English!