Desert Diva Events in conjunction with Ibex Adventures Oman recently ran a two-night camping and activities weekend near the top of Oman’s Green Mountain, Jebel Akhdar. We had a great mix of participants, families with school-age children (minimum age for this trip is 5 years old), couples and some singles; all were “western.” Here’s what we did.
Our guests joined us at our camp, a short way from the road. We had a double majlis, so we could eat inside, since it was Ramadan, as well as a gazebo to relax outdoors: a shower tent with adjacent changing tent, camping loo/tent and a hand washing station; and of course the all-important camp fire and bbq area. (Photos by Mo, Mike G and Daniel B)
On Friday morning we were up early for some walking, culture and nature, courtesy of our great local guide, Mo. We observed the fruit and rose terraces from the side and also from the top; spotted frogs, dragonflies and leeches in a pool; wandered through some fruit farms, admiring the main fruits and nuts growing on the trees and bushes there. Total walk distance was around 3kms – we traveled in our cars from village to village.
After lunch and a couple of hours chilling out at the campsite it was time to head out once more and our guests had the choice of three activities. The first was a hike through three villages with Mo, a distance of around 3kms which included sections where you had to scramble over rocks – photos below courtesy of Debra Galvin
The second, which most of our guests opted for, was a mountain road drive; first a visit to an old village situated at the foot of a ravine, followed by a visit to a secret spot, nestled in the hills, with a spectacular view of the sunset. Photos below by Mike Galvin unless otherwise stated.
Once back at the camp it was time to light the fire, get the BBQ going and feed everyone, under a canopy of thousands of stars of course. We had beautiful sunrises and sunsets each day, here are a few pictures to savour
In case you are wondering what happened to the third option- it was an onroad drive to check out some local villages but nobody took me up on that. I stayed at the camp, preparing for the evening, ably assisted by Emily who didn’t fancy hiking with her Mum, Dad and big sister Katy. We also created some constellations with spaghetti and marshmallows, and had a rest in the company of Rahhal and Ramlah, my two hounds.
Saturday morning saw us prepare a cooked breakfast before our day’s exploration walk
My favourite place to wander on Jebel Akhdar is the ruined village of Wadi Bani Habib so we arranged with Mo to lead us there; I am pleased to say our guests loved it too. He chose a 3km circular route over a rugged path with lots of culture/nature points on the way – now does anyone remember why they grow nut trees in the valley here?
After returning to our cars we bid goodbye to our guests and headed back to dismantle the campsite. Halfway through the operation we were halted by some serious rain. We will try to schedule this earlier in the weekend next time, so our guests can share it!
Speaking of the weather – during our trip the gulf was experiencing a bit of a heatwave, with inland temperatures of 50C (as I experienced when doing the shopping at Nizwa). Up on the mountain it was a bit hotter than we expected, peaking at around 34C during the day and falling to 17C overnight with low humidity; a relief to everyone who traveled from AD and Dubai!
I will finish with some comments from our guests –
“Kids loved it! This trip is definitively in their Top 3 camping trips of all times (and we have done quite a lot…)!” said Marc who joined us from Dubai with his 3 wonderful boys aged 6,8 and 11
“What a fantastic weekend. A complete break with wonderful activities and great people” said Heather who joined us from AD with her husband and 2 daughters aged 9 and 13
“Always a pleasure!” said Gwendal who joined us from Dubai with a friend
Our next trips for Jebel Akhdar are
Catch A Falling Star On Jebel Akdhar – 10th-12th August 2017 (to coincide with the Perseid meteor shower) and
Fruits of The Fall Trip – 14th-16th September (to coincide with the fruit harvest and including a chance to help some farmers with their pomegranate picking)
Full details very soon!