I never need much encouragement to go and explore out-of-the-way places in Oman – it’s a big country and there are lots of opportunities to get off the beaten track – so it was no chore to load up the car last week and head southwards into the Wahiba Sands, Barr Al Hickman Peninsula and our ultimate destination, the Sugar Dunes.
Desert: Wahiba Sands
Being accustomed to the “naked’ dunes of the Rub Al Khali in Oman, and the huge expanse of almost plant-less desert in the Liwa area, the Wahiba Sands comes as a bit of a shock! It is covered in grasses and small shrubs and there are easy tracks between the dune massifs which are orientated in a north-south direction. That being said, the plants mean the desert can support camels and goats and myriad farms are dotted all over it, mainly around the edges. We visited our friend Amr’s farm where he breeds camels for racing and spent an interesting few hours learning about the traditional way of life in this area. Please click on the individual photos to read the captions.
Sabkah: Barr Al Hickman
The area south of Muhoot comprises a massive sabkah or salt-flat, with fishermen’s huts round the edges where the sabkah gives way to white sandy beaches at the edge of the Indian Ocean; at over 100 square kilometres of nothingness it is a bit like a seaside Umm As Sameem, except there instead of fishing huts you have oil installations. Large, featureless and treacherous in places, a number of tracks criss-cross it and this is where we met some fishermen with their day’s catch in a pick-up truck. A surprisingly quick transaction followed and a huge fish was put into a box and stored in the back of our guide’s landcruiser – apparently the fish cost 5 OMR which is about 11 GBP!
Sea (and more Dunes): The Sugar Dunes
Our final destination on this scouting trip was an area known as the sugar dunes; they are almost pure white in colour, very soft and right next to the sea. In fact you can drive along the beach to reach them which was one of my favourite experiences of the trip. We found some excellent camping spots, both near the windswept beach and slightly inland where small rocky hills would offer some shelter.
Ibex Adventures Oman plan to run 3 day trips here starting October 2017 and our guests will have the choice of self-driving their own (or a rental) car or joining our trip as passenger with our guide. If you would like to find out more about this itinerary, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. We hope you will join us there after the summer!