Articles/Wadi Hanifa: Thriving natural oasis

Wadi Hanifa: Thriving natural oasis

منتزه وادي حنيفة بالرياض

28 FEB 2021

Source: Abeer Al-Amoudi

There is little that can match or exceed the experience of drinking a cup of tea or coffee while being surrounded by palm trees from all sides. This is why Wadi Hanifa is a perfect family picnic destination, particularly because of its waterway and desert scenery.

Located in the middle of the Najd Plateau, the Wadi Hanifa (or Hanifa valley) is the longest and most important valley near Riyadh. It is a natural water drainage course spanning an area of over 4,000 square kilometers and is considered a unique geographical feature in this dry region.


Known in the pre-Islamic era as Wadi Al-Irdh, the valley was renamed Wadi Hanifa after the Bani Hanifa tribe that populated the area. Riyadh grew substantially and its expansion destroyed the environmental balance in the once fertile scenic valley, leading to erosion. In 1986, the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) launched a plan to transform the valley into a large nature reserve, attracting local and foreign visitors and encouraging investments.


The redevelopment plan involved creating water channels, trails and spots for visitors to observe the spectacular views the valley has to offer. Riyadh’s first large sewage treatment facility created an area of small lakes south of Riyadh. This area grew and a 100-kilometer green corridor was created, featuring wetlands that became a stop for migratory birds and popular area for recreation.

Wadi Hanifa Dam Park

The valley, located on the outskirts of the capital, features water channels, green corridors, walkways and picnic spots for visitors to enjoy a barbecue amid the scenic beauty. Nearby are orchards and farms, ensuring the site is a major attraction for both Riyadh residents and visitors.

There are many other nearby parks including Al-Jazaa Lake, Factory Lake, El Box Dam and Stone Dam.