In the southwestern region of Saudi Arabia, situated along the Red Sea, is a region named Jizan, home to some of the Kingdom’s most attractive tourist destinations. Visitors flock every year to beautiful locations in Jizan such as Farasan Islands, an archipelago comprising 84 islands boasting stunning coral reefs, deep blue waters, and pristine stretches of shoreline. The region is also home to magnificent mountains such as Fifa, which stand 11,000 feet above sea level, the healing Al-Khoubah hot springs, and sites of rich heritage, culinary traditions, and cultural attractions.
With all these natural and cultural wonders, there is still one relatively unknown stretch of paradise in Jizan that brings in a unique flock of visitors every year. Uninhabited by humans, Daraka Island is home to stunning beaches and rock formations that have made it a popular destination for migratory birds such as seagulls and swans. Once winter begins, locals flock to the island, which is located some 15 kilometres from the more popular main Farasan Island to enjoy the calm and beauty, as well as the sight of magnificent birds. Aside from attracting families to its shores spend time with its visiting birds, Daraka is also becoming a popular destination for photographers and people looking to spend hours fishing.
According to Al-Arabiya English, there are some 286 islands – including Daraka – in the Jizan region awaiting to take part on the national transformation initiative, in order to increase the state’s income and invest in tourism. The popular Farasan Island already brings in a significant amount of income to the region, particularly with its Hareed (parrotfish) Festival that takes place between April and May each year. During the same period of the festival, whale sharks swimming in from the Indian Ocean can be spotted at the mouth of the archipelago.
Farasan Governor Hussain Al-Hazmi commented on the number of tourists to the island earlier this year, which was estimated to be over 57,000 visitors, saying in an article by Saudi Gazette that “Farasan Islands are known for their clean beaches, glistening waters and perfect weather. People visit any day of the week for scuba diving, to fish or simply enjoy the landscape.”