Date: 28th October, 2014
Yesterday was a very eventful day. It began at the
Grand Mosque of Muscat, then to Nizwa, before ending our evening at Jebel Shams. After a good night’s sleep, I awoke to a chilly morning.
We checked out of after a quick breakfast Jebel Shams Resort
We were back on the highway, and it gave me an opportunity to take in the sights I missed on the way up (because I was asleep on the ride up yesterday)
Dried up river?
We reached a security crossing en route to Jebel Al Akhdar. The check was mostly to see if our vehicles were fit enough for the next uphill ride
Because it was one heck of an uphill climb!
And then downhill… and up again
This is the view of Jebel al Akdhar we came for
There were villages way over there
But we weren’t going there
The other side of the mountain range
We stopped at another viewing point on the way down
It was a long ride from here to Wahiba Sands, now known as Sharqiya Sands
We didn’t have time for a fancy lunch. Plus options were limited out here.
This was my lunch: burger and fries
We would only stop along the way for toilet breaks
Just before entering the desert, we stopped at a garage in Bidiya town. Our SUV needed to loose some air in its tires as that makes it optimal for driving in the desert sands.
We were going to enter the Sharqiya Sands now
We stopped near this herder’s spot
Goats and camels. And us. (Shot on my phone)
And massive sand dunes.
And a lone surviving tree
And some mini sandstorms
Okay enough of that. Time to have some fun! This is what it looks like from the inside when you go dune bashing!
From the outside, it looks like this. You climb up at high speed…
…and then ‘surf’ the sand. It’s really fun! And quite the roller coaster ride.
Of course, you can get a little excited and then get stuck! 😛
But eventually we got ourselves out
Bye bye camel
I would have liked more dune bashing but we had to get our camp before sunset. And our driver had some confusion over which camp we were supposed to be staying at. So we left this desert, got back on the highway to get to another part of the desert. I used this opportunity to finally mount my GoPro on the SUV. I was scared to mount it on the SUV while going dune bashing fearing the camera would fall off the hood.
Here’s a video I put together of the drive (I sped up most of the scenes):
Eventually this was the place we were staying at — Arabian Oryx Camp
It’s a camp/hotel/resort in between two big dunes with bedouin-styled tents
Our rooms had all the modern conveniences. The essential air conditioner and an attached toilet.
It was quite nice, has a sit out area, a restaurant… Arabian Oryx Camp
…and a large majlis where at night they have some Omani playing local music
Soon after we all re-grouped and were driven to the top of a dune
We were up here to watch the sun set
Most people up here were guests staying at the two desert camps here
That in the distance is the other desert camp here
It’s called Desert Nights Camp
Amazing isn’t it?
Couldn’t help but be in awe of these dunes
Looks like more guests were on their way
The sun was on its way down
So I made the most of the available light to shoot some more
I tried to capture the dust grains blowing off the surface
Watching the sun set is one of the major activities when staying at one of these desert camps
The other activities are camel rides, desert safaris and dune bashing
After the sun set and was out of our view, we all got ready to go back down. (The moon’s shift had begun)
Here’s a video I pieced together showing the uphill and downhill ride of the sand dune.
After a nice bath, we had some time to kill before meeting up for dinner
Assem and Manjulika were chatting next door
I set up my tripod and tried to capture the crescent moon
It was chilly, so you may want to carry some warm clothing for the nights
We re-grouped for dinner
Which was a buffet
Stayed away from rice and had mostly breads and meat
Post dinner we listened to the Omani band play some traditional music
And that was our day.Wi-fi and mobile connectivity is very weak out here so I couldn’t really go online much.
It was now sinking in just how amazing Oman’s geography is. Yesterday and today’s sightseeing gave me a real insight into the beauty of Oman. Once you get out of Muscat, you see why Oman is a popular tourism draw in the Middle East. I was kinda sad knowing tomorrow was the last day I would get to explore Oman’s natural wonders.
Next post(s) in this series:
Oman 2014: Day 5 (Part 1) – Wadi bin Khalid; Dhow factory in Sur
Oman 2014: Day 5 (Part 2) – Fins beach, Sinkhole Park — and saying goodbye
Previous post(s) in this series:
Oman 2014: Day 3 (Part 3) – Misfah and Jebel Shams
Oman 2014: Day 3 (Part 2) – Nizwa Fort and Jabreen Castle
Oman 2014: Day 3 (Part 1) – Sultan Qaboos mosque (Muscat’s Grand Mosque)
Oman 2014: Day 2 (Part 2) – Muscat bay viewpoints, Qurum beach, The Cave restaurant
Oman 2014: Day 2 (Part 1) – Dolphin watching tour in Muscat
Oman 2014: Day 1 – Landing in Muscat; Al Alam Palace, Mutrah souq and more