The Eastern Forest (Ghaib Sharqiya) is one of Jeddah’s lesser-known wonders. And hearing about the huge man-made forest is surely an added bonus for nature lovers living in or visiting the port city, which is mostly known for its sparkling seashore.
The extensive forest is home to over 80,000 plants, and what’s more is that it’s the only place you’re likely to see some of them in the Kingdom. With so much greenery, sweet sound of birdsongs, and the sight of colourful butterflies fluttering by, the 2.7 million square meter sanctuary is an oasis of tranquility that allows you to escape the daily hustle and bustle of the city. Undoubtedly, one of the highlights of visiting Eastern Forest is the view at the top of the observatory tower. Situated on a plateau, it offers the best views of the lush surroundings. There’s also a delightful small mosque with lovely gardens.
On entering the forest, the green answer to covering up Musk Lake which was used for Jeddah’s sewage disposal, visitors automatically feel safe thanks to the security guards and barricades. The forest, which you can reach by taking the Briman exit off the Jeddah-Jummum highway, is about 30 kilometres from Jeddah.
The hidden gem is only open to families during weekends and entry is free of charge. Parking is readily available on openings along the winding road that traverses the forest. While trees don’t cover the whole space, the forest, which is irrigated through recycled sewage, is expanding.
Note: The forest is a perfect spot for a light picnic, however there are no restaurants or other places where you can buy food or water. So make sure to bring your prepared picnic, including water, with you.