Set in golden desert sands and climbing three storeys into the Saudi Arabian sky is the awe-inspiring Elephant Rock, also known as Jabal AlFil, one of AlUla’s many geological marvels.
Unlike the ornate, hand-carved facades of nearby Hegra’s Nabataean tombs, the "trunk" and "body" of this monolithic red sandstone beast were hewn by natural forces — millions of years of wind and water erosion.
The beauty of the unrefined structure is enhanced by its surroundings of a fine-sand sea studded with rocky outcrops, many of which are equally impressive in size and have interesting shapes and figures.
Each day visitors can travel to Jabal AlFil and explore the wonder of the natural structure and the landscape that surrounds it. As light shifts across the desert sand throughout the day, Jabal AlFil transforms from a rosy canvas to a soft glow.
This area is open for visitors to hike the trails and camp beneath the night sky.
During AlUla’s Winter at Tantora Festival, Elephant Rock turns into a popular hangout place for locals and visitors alike. Horses and camels are on site and available for memorable photo opportunities and possibly even a ride. In the evenings, the structure is set ablaze by artistically placed lighting elements, seating areas, warming lamps and firepits, where visitors can be served beverages and relax. Nearby, sheesha cafes stay open until 3 am to serve those gathered.
The nature-borne sculpture also serves as a festive gathering place this time of year, when it’s the centrepiece of myriad open-air cafes and food trucks. The robust offering of pop-up eateries delights diners with menus from internationally recognized chefs and restaurants, including SALT burger, Burger Boutique and JOLT Coffee.