Catch A Falling Star on Jebel Akhdar – Thur 10th to Sat 12th August 2017

Cool Camping, Meteor Spotting, Driving, Walking and Exploring Weekend

Are you an expat in the UAE/Oman/Qatar?  Is the summer weather making you suffer?  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?

(all pictures have been uploaded as “large” – click on individual images for a closer look!)

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 we can arrange transport from the foot of the mountain.

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. 

Falling Stars

This Perseid Meteor Shower is one of the most active events of its kind; peaking on 12th August there are “shooting stars” visible a few days before and after this date.  The moon will rise at 2040 hrs on 10th (2120hrs on 11th) and will be quite bright so it may make meteors hard to spot but hopefully we will be lucky and see some.

Temperature Comparison

There are quite a few sites out there listing “average” temperatures, and I have used data from weatherspark.com for this comparison

  • Average Daytime temperatures in August
    • Dubai 41C * Muscat 41C * Jebel Akhdar 30C
  • Average Night-time temperatures in August
    • Dubai 31C * Muscat 32C Jebel Akhdar 20C
  • Average humidity in August
    • Dubai 70% * Muscat 80% * Jebel Akhdar Low 

 Itinerary

Thursday 10th August 2017

  • Travel to Jebel Akhdar
  • The meeting point will be the Al Maha Petrol Station in Jebel Akhdar City.  The mountain road is 3-lane, an easy drive, fully streetlit and with crash barriers on the bends!
  • 1900hrs onwards: campfire and supper (camel stew or pasta with tomato & vegetable sauce, bread, arabic sweets)

Friday 11th August 2017

  • 0700hrs: Light breakfast (tea/coffee/fruit juice/yoghurt/snack bars/fruit)
  • 0800hrs: walk around Saiq 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) served our majlis tent
  • 1500hrs: choice of 3 activities
    • onroad drive exploring local villages with plenty of stops for photos and optional coffee at 4* Alila Hotel (coffee not included in tour price)
    • onroad and track drive with mountainous (no crash barriers) sections, exploring Sawjah – 4×4 with 4LOW gear essential
      • rock-crawling session.  As above, full 4×4 essential, as are suitable tyres (all terrain tyres with strong sidewalls a must!).  Please take work gloves with you as quite possibly you will have to get out of your car and move rocks!
  • 1815hrs: meet at sunset spot, watch the sun sink behind the mountains at 1844hrs, then return to camp
  • 1900hrs: snack on return to camp (fruit, nuts, chips, tea/coffee)
  • 1930hrs: campfire
  • 2000hrs: BBQ (lamb, chicken, burgers, vegetables, halloumi with breads and salad; halwa for desert)

 

Saturday 12th August 2017

  • 0800hrs: Breakfast (as for Friday but with the addition of French toast/pancakes/hard boiled eggs)
  • 0900hrs: Leave camp to explore Wadi Bani Habib
    • See old abandoned village, falaj system, farms
    • Walk to the old village (300+ steps and rough ground in wadi)
  • 1100hrs: Depart Jebel Akhdar

*Read the trip report from our last Jebel Akhdar trip here

Our Camp

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

  • Majlis area with seating
  • Nightly campfire
  • Camping loo
  • Hand washing station
  • Shower

Don’t have your own camping gear?  You can hire from us!

  • 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

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.

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 hire 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 and easy driving 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 (we also recommend that your car has All Terrain Tyres for this drive only).  Similarly, if you wish to join the rock crawling session a full 4×4 is essential, as are AWD tyres with strong sidewalls.

Please fill up your petrol tank at/near 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, however from time to time it has been known to run out of petrol!

Children

The trip and activities are suitable for school-aged children, minimum 5 years old.  We find that most children will eat from our main menu however if your child has special dietary needs you might like to take some extra food along with you.

The camp area is ideal for some “free range adventures” but we ask that parents supervise their children.  You may wish to take their cycles but we ask that they do not ride them through the camp area.

Size of Trip

We have a limit of 30 paying guests for each trip.  The trip is subject to a minimum 12 paying adults signing up.

Cost

Prices are per person

Trip includes

Food (1 x breakfast, 1 x cooked breakfast, 1 x supper, 1 x bbq, 1 x lunch, tea/coffee/snacks, bottled water on trips).  Campfire. Stargazing. Services of Omani Guide

  • Adult/child aged 13 or over – Standard price 670 AED – early bird price 570 AED
  • Children aged 5-12 – Standard price 425 AED – early bird price 360 AED

Camping Equipment Hire

Tent, mattress, chairs/seating, torch

  • Adult/child aged 13 or over – 75AED
  • Child aged 5-12 – 50AED

Bedding – freshly laundered pillow, sleeping bag, blanket

  • 50AED per person

Transport from Birkat Al Mouz for 2WD owners

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 – 850 AED for up to three people.

Booking and Payment

Early bird prices apply to bookings made up to 14 days before the first day of the trip which in this case is 23.59 hrs on 27th July.  A deposit of 50% should be paid at the time of booking to secure your place and this special price.

Final payment for the trip should be made on or before 2nd August.

Travel Insurance

You may consider purchasing travel insurance to cover you in the eventuality of cancellation due to circumstances beyond your control.  Not all insurers cover this type of trip so please check the small print carefully to ensure you have the cover you expect.

Cancellation

We hope you do not have to cancel but if you do please notify us by whatsapp (+971 509 478563) or by email (marina@desertdivaevents.com)

14 days or more before the trip (before 23.59 on Thur 27th July) – refund of 90% of monies paid or credit of 95% of monies paid against a future trip

7-13 days before the trip (before 23.59hrs on Thur 3rd August) – refund of 50% of trip price OR  credit of 75% against a future trip (valid for 6 months)

From 6 days to 72 hours before trip commencement (00.00 hrs on Fri 4th August – 1800hrs on Monday 7th August)– refund of 25% of trip price OR credit of 65% against a future trip (valid for 6 months)

Less than 72 hours before trip commencement (after 1800hrs on Monday 7th August) – no refund but credit of 50% against a future trip (valid for 6 months)

NOTE – you can elect someone to take your place if you need to cancel.

To book, please complete the booking form below. (This is a new system so if you do not hear back with us in a couple of hours, can you please email us to check we have your registration?  marina@desertdivaevents.com.  Thank you)

NB - check trip description to ensure your car's suitability
If paying by bank transfer we will send you an invoice with details of our bank account. If paying by Mastercard or Visa we will send you an electronic invoice which will allow you to pay using your card.
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