I hadn’t ventured very far since my run-in with the camel, so we planned a weekend on the Oman side of Dibba to co-incide with the largest and brightest full moon of 2013.
Deviating from our normal route to the East Coast, we headed to Musandam via Dubai and made it to Dibba by late morning. It’s a bit complicated to cross the border between UAE and Oman these days
We checked in at the Golden Tulip Hotel Dibba (N25 40.184 E56 16.195), had a rest while we waited for the worst of the day’s heat to subside, then ventured forth into our favourite wadi – Wadi Shab Al Khamis (N25 39.626 E56 13.991).
This wadi forms the main road through to Khasab as it winds its way through the Hajar Mountains, however unless you are Emirati or Omani your Musandam adventure will stop at the Omani border post (N25 48.991 E56 12.321) as non-GCC nationals are not allowed to cross here.
After about 5kms of tarmac the road becomes gatch, thankfully well maintained. The winter of 2012/13 has been a particularly rainy and stormy one and there’s lots of huge rocks by the side of the road bearing testimony to a busy time being had by the road maintenance crew.
I’m standing in the wadi for this photo – it would be possible to drive this road by sedan, at least until point N25 48.021 E56 14.265 when the first set of switchbacks appear to take you up onto a beautiful plateau area.
Although quite happy to drive down dune slipfaces which are up to 100m drop, I am terrified of mountain roads so we didn’t venture further than the point above, but we drove up the narrow rubble strewn road a couple of years ago and you can read about our trip here – http://thedesertdiva.com/2012/06/03/dibba-or-daba/.
The high sided canyons you travel through are a blessing in the summer; this is a wadi you could consider tackling during the early morning or late afternoon even in July or August. It’s still hot, but at least there is shelter from the blazing sun and there are some passing places here and there which will allow you to stop and stretch your legs once in a while.
This photogenic spot can be found at N25 44.859 E56 16.711. It’s a Bruce family ritual to snap the cars right here!
We saw a total of 6 vehicles during our two hours on the route, a busy day compared to previous visits when we’ve only seen one or two! The truck driver was most surprised to see a white woman standing by the side of the road with her camera!
If you look closely at the photo on the right you will see a stone built house clinging on to the top of the rock. Did we investigate it? Not likely! This area used to be a rock climber’s paradise but with the new border procedures and price of hotel accommodation the costs have become prohibitive for many.
Unless you are a mountain goat, you’ve got to turn around at the border post and retrace your steps, so we left the wadi just as the sun was beginning to hang low in the sky.
Our next stop was the lovely Dibba Beach (N25 40.282 E56 16.230), where we snorkelled and saw a huge varietyof fish less than 100m from the shore. We spotted the moon just afer 7pm and set up our “evening camp” while watching it rise high above the Indian Ocean.
We sat round our campfire over a steak dinner while chatting, mesmerised by the moonbeams sparkling as they hit the waves.
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