03-Dec-2002 -- Some lucky employees in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are given a compulsory break at the end of the holy month of Ramaḍān. I was one of them, but was unable to find any others that had stayed in the Kingdom and who were interested in a long trek through the desert. Therefore, I decided to visit the south-west region of Saudi Arabia on conventional tarmac roads rather than across the desert. So, my son, Sean, and I embarked on a six-day journey of nearly three thousand kilometres which was routed to visit the region’s sights as well as take us past as many confluence points as possible (see also 20N 45E, 19N 45E, 18N 44E, 18N 43E, 19N 43E, 21N 43E, 22N 42E).
Having visited the 22N 42E confluence, we continued along the road heading north-west until we met with the Riyāḍ/Makka road. We turned towards Riyāḍ and then left the main road at Ẓalim to take a detour to the north-east. While the 23N 43E confluence would have been easier to conquer in terms of distance, the continuous fence that lines the Riyāḍ/Makka highway makes it a little inaccessible. Therefore we decided to try the 24N 43E confluence instead.
The road from Ẓalim to `Afīf was boring as the terrain was flat and featureless. This became a problem as the light faded as we needed a sheltered campsite. We finally found a small gully near a hill that would protect us from the wind that was sweeping over the plains. It was here that we spent our last night under the stars before returning to Riyāḍ.
The following morning, we resumed our journey towards `Afīf. A short distance after `Afīf, we left the road heading north and found the confluence point about two kilometres away. Again, this was a very easy conquest being on flat sand/gravel plains with some granite hills in the distance.