Ta’if is located a little over 2 hours southeast of Jeddah, and is reached by driving the Jeddah-Makkah highway. As one makes their way towards Ta’if, they are presented with two options; there is a route around the holy city of Makkah, being a requirement to take for non-Muslims and another directly through the city of Makkah, available for Muslims only. While there are the two options to reach the city of Ta’if, the route leading around Makkah, may add about 100km to the drive, it is far less congested.
Upon nearing the city of Ta’if, we are presented with a large mountain and road that seemingly disappears into the sky. Al Hada road has been reached, this road ascends over 1,800m or approx 6,000 feet into the sky toward the village town of Al Hada. There are many stories surrounding the road but, I would like to share the story that I’ve heard about how the road came to be…( I personally cannot speak to the credibility of this particular story but I like the aesthetic of it and found that it was too beautiful not to share )
“ Several years ago when the city of Ta’if and the surrounding areas began to thrive economically, the Kingdom began to look for simpler ways in order reach the city, situated within the mountains. As the Kingdom began researching companies and interviewing developers for the Al Hada road, they were faced with consistent difficulty. Companies began stating that the road simply could not be built as the mountain was too steep and the old pedestrian pathways would simply not suit automobiles. Finally a local company was interviewed, the Saudi Bin Laden Company. They too faced an initial difficulty of mapping the road; they then decided that the best way to do so would be to use goats. They began from the top of the mountain and set the goats on their descent. As the goats made their way from the top of the mountain to the bottom, they were followed and thusly the road was mapped and later built.”
As the town of Al Hada is reached, the road becomes less hostile and a much easier drive; the word “Al Hada” translates to “tranquility”; and between the foliage, vegetation and mild temperatures; one begins to truly understand that the name is most appropriate. The actual city of Ta’if is quite developed but will not compare to the metropolitan sense of cities like Riyadh and Jeddah.
As someone who lives in Jeddah give the proximity of the region, mild temperatures and rainfall, this area in the mountains is a great escape for the heat.