Put your adventurer’s hat on and join us on our 2-day self-drive expedition to the Umm As Sameem and Empty Quarter in Oman!
“The history of the Umm As Sameem is not written in books; rather the stories have been recounted down the generations whilst sitting at a Bedouin campfire. It is hard sometimes to tell if the tales are the product of a vivid imagination, have subtly changed through misunderstanding over the years like “Chinese Whispers” or indeed are based on true events. One thing is sure – the sabkhah and sands definitely sink over time and during our tour you will see evidence of this – some road signs on poles are getting closer to the ground with every year that passes.”
- Thursday night B&B in the Ibri Oasis Hotel
- Friday morning guided crossing of the Umm As Sameem
- Friday afternoon 3 hour (approx.) offroad drive in the majestic dunes of the Rub Al Khali
- Friday evening BBQ and campfire
- Saturday morning – Further short drive in the Rub Al Khali
- Return to road near Al Ghaba at approx. 1400hrs.
Join us with confidence – your trip leaders are experienced navigators and offroad drivers as well as being outdoor enthusiasts.
Note – we limit our drive to either 8 guest cars if we run one convoy, or 16 guest cars if we run two convoys. If needed we will teach you some tips and tricks on sand dune driving including recovery techniques. Maximum persons 30 if one convoy (most likely) or 45 if two convoys – any more and the “Empty Quarter” will be anything but empty!
Cost of Trip
These vary from trip to trip, depending on itinerary/catering arrangements – see separate trip listings (links above)
Car + Driver – from 168 OMR to 180 OMR/ from 1600 AED to 1717 AED
Car + Driver + 1 Passenger – from 220 OMR to 240 OMR / from 2100 AED to 2290 AED(based on sharing room at Ibri Oasis Hotel on Thursday night)
Extra Passengers – from 68 OMR to 80 OMR/ from 650 AED to 763 AED each (based on sharing room at Ibri Oasis)
The trip starts at Ibri, Oman and concludes at Al Ghaba, Oman
How to Sign Up
Please download and complete the registration form below or here, then scan and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org registration form
Advance payment by either bank transfer, visa or mastercard is required. 50% deposit to secure your booking. The balance should be paid 14 days or more before the commencement of the trip.
Please indicate which method of payment you prefer on the form. We will email our bank details to those who wish to pay by transfer and will raise an electronic invoice via Telr, our merchant service providers for those who have opted to pay by credit card.
Places are limited, so please book early to secure your space in the convoy!
- Read our cancellation policy here
This trip is open to anyone in the GCC with an appropriate driving licence and vehicle, or to overseas guests with a suitable hire car and an International Driving Licence.
UAE/Qatar/KSA Guests: Border Crossing
UAE residents must cross the UAE/Oman border and we recommend the Mezyad/Hafeet post. We suggest allowing at least one hour for border formalities.
Most UAE residents can obtain a visa on arrival at the Omani border but it is the responsibility of each person to ensure that this is the case. If in doubt, please contact the Oman embassy at least one week in advance. See here, here and here for more information.
Note: the cost of the Omani visa is not included in the package price.
Please note – apart from initial set off time, times are approximate
Time: Arrive at the Ibri Oasis Hotel at your leisure – if you are travelling from the UAE it will take you around 75-90 minutes to drive here from the Al Ain crossings. To those who arrive by mid-evening we extend an invitation to our meet and greet session around 2100hrs.
If you can, please fuel up, including your extra cans, before arrival – there is an Omanoil Gas Station next door to the hotel. (Alternatively, you may wish to rise extra early on Friday to fuel up before breakfast)
The Ibri Hotel has a nice restaurant serving Indian/Oriental food but please note dinner is not included in your package.
- 0615 hrs: breakfast at hotel (included in package)
- 0715 hrs: Leave Ibri prompt, head towards the Empty Quarter.
- 0930 hrs: drive over the Umm As Sameem, making stops for photos
- 1215 hrs: arrival at our base for the weekend – a temporary camp prepared by Ibex Adventures
- 1300 hrs: light lunch, rest under our shade
- 1400 hrs: Offroad drive 3-4 hours approx
- 1735 hrs: sunset and end of offroad drive
- 1930 hrs: BBQ dinner and campfire.
- 0612 hrs : Sunrise
- 0700 hrs: breakfast
- 0830 hrs: a further offroad drive
- 1100 hrs: Depart from Campsite
- 1430 hrs: Arrive At Ghaba Services
- Distance to Oman/UAE Border in Al Ain (393kms via Road 29)
- Got extra days off? Why not head to
- Nizwa 180kms, Masairah Island Ferry 240kms, Salalah 695kms
Note – due to the remote location the offroad drive will be easy as we wish to minimise any risk of vehicle overheating/damage. The style of drive will be “expedition” – you can read more about it in this blog – Expedition driving. Adrenaline junkies may not like this trip!
On our offroad drives if we have over 8 guest cars we will split into two convoys and these will have a maximum of 10 cars per convoy.
- Dodge Ram (lifted),
- Ford F150 (lifted), Raptor, Ranger 3.2TD
- GMC Silverado (Lifted),
- Jeep Wrangler,
- Landrover Defender, Discovery, LR3 or LR4,
- Mitsubishi Pajero,
- Nissan Patrol Safari, New Patrol (models with “City” bumpers not recommended), Pathfinder pre-2005, Xterra,
- Toyota FJ Cruiser, LandCruiser, Landcruiser Prado, Tundra (lifted)
- If your car is not on this list please enquire.
Note: No previous offroad driving experience is required – we will give instruction on basic offroading, should you need it and further coaching on specific obstacles as and when we encounter them.
- Must have recovery points front and rear
- Must be in tip-top condition (this includes the spare tyre too)
- Those with locking wheel nuts should carry a key to release them
- 2 x shackles which fit in the recovery points of your car, unless you have recovery hooks instead of loops
- Tyre Pressure gauge
Highly Recommended Equipment
- Tyre deflator
- 1 snatch strap (no need if car fitted with winch)
- Offroad flag and pole (a fishing rod and a teatowel will suffice!)
- Walkie Talkie if you have one
We will drive up to 580kms between petrol stations; mostly track but approximately 50kms dune bashing and 100kms over soft white sabkah. We recommend you carry at least 40 litres of extra petrol; if you need more petrol than you can carry please let us know and we can arrange extra for you at a small extra charge.
We recommend you pack the following
- Sand pegs – the ones that come with the tent may not hold it securely in sand.
- Camping chairs
- Mattress – air or foam – to sleep on
- Sheet, pillow, blanket or sleeping bag. It may be too warm to sleep with a sleeping bag in the evening yet really cold in the morning and we find a couple of blankets give most flexibility.
Tent/Camping Equipment Rental
Ibex Adventures can lend you a quality tent and camping equipment – Colemans Instant tent, mattresses, camping chairs and a torch – for only 150aed for a couple. Please contact us if you would like to come on the trip but do not have your own camping gear.
Travel Essentials to Pack
- Coolbox with soft drinks
- Food – something easy for lunch, and breakfast as well as snacks for during the day.
- Baby wipes and hand sanitizer
- Pharmacy supplies – paracetamol/aspirin or similar mild painkiller. Cream for mosquito bites, insect repellent, sunscreen if you need it.
- Please note that the nearest pharmacy is in Ibri, so carry any prescription meds you need too.
Sand Cycling and Hiking
We offer hiking and cycling activities from November thru to March, however in our experience, during October the weather is just too hot to be outside the car for too long. When the sun is low in the sky many of our guests hike up the nearest dunes to snap an amazing sunrise or sunset, but once the sun is high in the sky it beats down relentlessly – there are no trees or buildings in the area, hence no shade!
- We are creating a temporary camp for you, some 300kms from the nearest town so there are no fixed facilities.
- We will have a majlis tent for shelter if it is cold in the evenings
- A large shade if it is warm in the mornings
- Campfire and BBQ area
- Portable camping loo
- We have a battery shower you may borrow if required
- There is no 3G signal here so this weekend is a great opportunity to disconnect from the internet and the modern world!
In the cooler months our Saturday morning breakfast is cooked and we also have a larger lunch for Friday. Our typical menu for October/March/April is given below
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Light lunch
- BBQ dinner
- at least 3 types of grilled meat
- 3 types of grilled vegetables
- salads, bread and accompaniments
- halwa and fruit for desert
- Light breakfast of tea/coffee/biscuits/breakfast bars & dates
Water and snacks during the trip
What to wear
We are heading deep into the desert so wear comfortable clothes. We suggest lightweight knee length shorts or trousers and loose fitting t-shirts or a shirt. A wide brimmed hat can be useful when outdoors.
Please wear trainers or boots in the dark and around the campfire – it may be the “empty” quarter but there are some creatures there which will bite or sting you if you stand on them by accident! If anyone should be unlucky enough to be stung by a scorpion, then we will drive them out to the nearest hospital – it will take around 4 hours to reach there.
- This trip is suitable for families, couples and individuals.
- Children above 8 years old are welcome but there is a lot of driving so we suggest you take suitable activities to alleviate boredom in the car
- For comfort and ground clearance, we recommend a maximum of 4 persons per vehicle.
- All persons should wear seatbelts whenever the car is moving.
- For those of those with Omani Liquor licences, alcohol can be consumed when we have stopped for the night – ie none before or during driving.
- In case of emergency
- Our guides will be carrying a satphone as there is no GSM signal, neither Omantel nor Etisalat roaming over most of this area.
- We will be leaving a trip plan with colleagues.
- We retain the right to cancel the trip if we have insufficient numbers (normally we will know at least 10 days before, after the early bird special expires) – we need a minimum of 6 adult guests.
Arabian Sands by Wilfred Thesiger
Footsteps of Thesiger by Adrian Hayes