Escape From The Heat: Join Our Jebel Akhdar Retreat! 1st-3rd June 2017

Are you an expat in the UAE/Oman/Qatar?  Are you dreading the onset of summer?  Why not escape the oppressive heat, dust and humidity and join our Weekend Retreat in the cool climes of Oman’s Green Mountain, Jebel Akhdar?

Desert Diva Events and Adventures, in conjunction with Ibex Adventures in Oman are offering a two night camping trip with walking/driving/hiking activities, food and optional camping equipment hire.  To drive to the top of Jebel Akhdar you will need a 4×4 or an AWD/4WD car, however if you have a 2WD then our guide can collect you from the foot of the mountain, take you up to the camp, drive you around on Friday/Saturday morning and then return you to your car around lunchtime on Saturday – see price list below for cost.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE – if you are a GCC foreign resident, ie an expat with residency visa in UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi or Kuwait then you can enter Oman for only 5 OMR with an AGCC Foreign Resident’s Visa. 

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Please note that this trip is during the Holy month of Ramadan and during the hours of daylight, guests should not eat or drink in public.  Having visited during Ramadan in 2014, our experience is that the mountain is practically deserted and there are ample places to rehydrate or snack away from those who are fasting.

Temperature Comparison

There are quite a few sites out there listing “average” temperatures, so to create this guide I have taken a few then “averaged their averages”.

  • Average Daytime temperatures in June
    • Dubai 38C * Muscat 40C * Jebel Akhdar 27C
  • Average Night-time temperatures in June
    • Dubai 25C * Muscat 30C * Jebel Akhdar 14C
  • Average humidity in June
    • Dubai 40% * Muscat 60% * Jebel Akhdar Low (Unless of course it rains, which it did in 2014)

Itinerary

Thursday 1st June 2017
  • Travel to Jebel Akhdar
  • You can drive up to the top of the mountain on your own, taking your time to stop and admire the views from the viewing platforms; then we will meet you at the nearest town, OR
  • Join one of our convoys – times to be confirmed but our estimated departures from  Nizwa  are likely to be 1545hrs and 1845hrs
  • 1900hrs onwards: campfire and supper (vegetable minestrone soup, bread, arabic sweets

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Friday 2nd June 2017
  • 0700hrs: Light breakfast (tea/coffee/fruit juice/snack bars/fruit) – will be served, and should be consumed, in our majlis tent
  • 0800hrs: walk around Saiq with our Omani Guide, Mohammed, including fruit farm visit, visit to Al Ayn.  Easy walk, suitable for families
  • 1130hrs: Return to camp
  • 1200hrs-1500hrs: Rest in the shade of a 1000 year old Juniper Tree
  • 1230hrs: Lunch (arabic cuisine provided by local restaurant) will be served, and should be consumed, in our majlis tent
  • 1500hrs: choice of 3 activities
    • 3 hour hike with Mohammed (moderate walk, minimum age 8 years old)
    • 2.5 hour onroad drive exploring local villages with plenty of stops for photos and optional coffee at 4* Alila Hotel (coffee not included in tour price)
    • 2.5 hour drive with mountainous (no crash barriers) sections, exploring Sawjah – 4×4 with 4LOW gear essential
  • 1830hrs: return to camp for sunset
  • 1930hrs: campfire
  • 2000hrs: BBQ (lamb, chicken, fish, vegetables, halloumi with breads and salad; halwa for desert)
Saturday 3rd June 2017
  • 0800hrs: Breakfast (as for Friday but with the addition of eggs/toast or pancakes)
  • 0900hrs: Leave camp to explore Wadi Bani Habibi with Mohammed
    • See old abandoned village, falaj system, farms
    • Walk to the old village (300+ steps and rough ground in wadi)
  • 1200hrs: Depart Jebel Akhdar

Our Camp

Majlis Area

Our camp activities will focus on our majlis area which will have

  • Majlis tent
  • Seating area
  • Nightly campfire
  • Camping loo
  • Hand washing station
  • Battery/USB operated shower available on request

*If there are enough children (or even adults) interested, Neil will run a short session on campcraft at some point during the weekend.

Option One includes the Ibex Adventures tent rental package
  • High Quality Colemans Instant Tent
  • 1″ foam mattresses/air mattress
  • Variety of seating options which can be used at tent or at majlis area
  • Torch

*Freshly laundered sleeping bags/blankets/pillows available to rent at 50aed per person

OR you are welcome to bring your own kit (Option Two)

What to wear

Wear Sunscreen!  The temperatures may be relatively low but the sun is just as strong as in Dubai or Muscat; if anything the cleaner/clearer air makes sunburn even more likely.

As it is Ramadan we recommend you wear clothes which cover you from the neck, to just above the elbows and down to the knee.  Take a hat – the sun’s rays are strong – see above.

For hiking and walks, please wear trainers or hiking boots.

Round the campfire, please wear closed in shoes/boots and socks.

What to pack

If you are opting for our camping package then all you need is your clothes, toiletries and bedding (and you don’t even need that if you are hiring a sleeping bag/pillow from us)

We recommend you carry some basic meds with you, such as paracetamol, insect repellent, bite/sting relief cream, after sun cream, plasters.  A new pharmacy has appeared at the main city but I have yet to see it open.

Your camera, fully charged, with at least one empty sd card – there are photo opportunities galore.

Your sense of adventure!

Vehicle Requirements

The Royal Oman Police require everyone ascending the mountain to have a 4×4 or AWD.  You will find a Police post at the foot of Jebel Akhdar where you will be required to show your licence/car registration card and possibly a copy of your insurance policy.

Although it is tarmac all the way, the road to the top has steep climbs and one or two twisty descents, which will be a real test for your car’s brakes and cooling system!  If your brakes, radiator, hoses, fans etc are giving you any trouble now, please get them repaired before the trip!

Most of our sightseeing will be done using blacktop roads so AWD cars will be fine, however if you wish to do the mountain road trip to Sawjah on Saturday afternoon then a 4×4 with 4LOW gear is essential. For this option we also recommend that your car has All Terrain Tyres.

Please fill up your petrol tank at Nizwa, but don’t let them overfill it (I find my patrol leaks a little petrol when climbing steep gradients when the tank is overfull).  There is an Al Maha petrol station at the top of the mountain where you can refuel if required.

Cost

Option One Includes Camping Equipment Hire

Hire of tent, seating, mattresses.  2 x breakfasts, 1 x supper, 1 x bbq, 1 x lunch.  Campfire. Services of Omani Guide

  • Adult/child aged 13 or over – Standard price 700 AED
  • Children aged 5-12 – Standard price 465 AED
  • Children aged 2-5 – Free of Charge if sharing parent’s bed.  Not all activities are suitable for pre-school children, please read itinerary for more info.
Option Two excludes Camping Equipment Hire

Food – 2 x breakfasts, 1 x supper, 1 x bbq, 1 x lunch.  Campfire.  Services of Omani Guide

  • Adult/child aged 13 or over – Standard price 640 AED
  • Children aged 5-12 – Standard price 405 AED
  • Children aged 2-5 – Free of Charge.  Not all activities are suitable for pre-school children, please read itinerary for more info.
Add-Ons

Add-On One: Transport up Jebel Akhdar as detailed above – up to 3 adults (or 2 adults and 2 children) – 800aed (total, not per person)

Add on Two: Hire of freshly laundered sleeping bag/pillow – 50 AED per person

Sign Up

Please download and complete the registration form, then email it to marina@desertdivaevents.com

Payment

Secure your place – and the early bird price – with a bank transfer payment of 50%.  Balance payable on or before 24th May.

Trip will go ahead subject to a minimum 12 adults signing up.

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Can’t make it on 1st-3rd June?  We are planning a return during the Perseid Meteor Shower on the weekend of 10th-12th August; if there is enough interest we will also run this event one weekend in July, and one in September – please contact us at marina@desertdivaevents.com to enquire.

You can read trip reports from some of my previous visits here, here and here.

 

 

 

 

 

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