Dune bashing Oman desert

Oman: Day 4 – Jebel al Akhdar; dune bashing & overnight camp in Wahiba Sands

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.

Jebel Shams hills drive Oman
We checked out of Jebel Shams Resort after a quick breakfast
Jebel Shams highway Oman
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)
Dry river Oman mountains
Dried up river?
Security check Jabal al Akhdar Oman
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
Uphill road Jebel al Akhdar Oman
Because it was one heck of an uphill climb!
Downhill highway Jebal al Akhdar Oman
And then downhill… and up again
Jebel al Akdhar panorama Oman
This is the view of Jebel al Akdhar we came for

Jebel al Akhdar villages Oman
There were villages way over there
Village Jebel al Akhdar Oman
But we weren’t going there
Jabal al Akhdar mountains Oman
The other side of the mountain range
Mountain road viewpoint parking Oman
We stopped at another viewing point on the way down
Jebel panorama Oman
A panorama
Prados highway oman
It was a long ride from here to Wahiba Sands, now known as Sharqiya Sands
Roadside cafeteria restaurants Oman
We didn’t have time for a fancy lunch. Plus options were limited out here.
Burger fries packed Oman
This was my lunch: burger and fries
Public toilet Oman
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.

Entering desert Oman
We were going to enter the Sharqiya Sands now
Goats herd desert Oman
We stopped near this herder’s spot
Camels Oman desert
Goats and camels. And us. (Shot on my phone)
Oman desert sand
And massive sand dunes.
Tree Oman desert
And a lone surviving tree
Sand whirlpool Oman desert
And some mini sandstorms
Inside SUV dune bashing Oman
Okay enough of that. Time to have some fun! This is what it looks like from the inside when you go dune bashing!
Desert safari Oman
From the outside, it looks like this. You climb up at high speed…
Dune bashing Oman desert
…and then ‘surf’ the sand. It’s really fun! And quite the roller coaster ride.
Jeep stuck in sand Oman desert
Of course, you can get a little excited and then get stuck! πŸ˜›
Oman desert footsteps SUVs
But eventually we got ourselves out
Camel Oman desert
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):

Arabian Oryx Camp Oman
Eventually this was the place we were staying at — Arabian Oryx Camp
Bedouin tents Arabian Oryx camp Oman
It’s a camp/hotel/resort in between two big dunes with bedouin-styled tents
Standard canvas twin room Oryx camp Oman
Our rooms had all the modern conveniences. The essential air conditioner and an attached toilet.
Manama Arab Oryx Camp Oman
It was quite nice, Arabian Oryx Camp has a sit out area, a restaurant…
Majlis Arabian Oryx bedouin camp Oman
…and a large majlis where at night they have some Omani playing local music
SUVs parked Oman desert
Soon after we all re-grouped and were driven to the top of a dune
Arab Oryx Camp sunset SUV ride
We were up here to watch the sun set
Desert sand sunset watching Oman
Most people up here were guests staying at the two desert camps here
Sharqiya desert sands resorts Oman
That in the distance is the other desert camp here
Tourist desert nights camp Oman
It’s called Desert Nights Camp
Sharqiya desert sand Oman
Amazing isn’t it?
Oman desert dunes
Couldn’t help but be in awe of these dunes
Jeeps racing desert Oman
Looks like more guests were on their way

Tourists camel Oman desert

Sunset oman desert
The sun was on its way down
Tree bark Oman desert
So I made the most of the available light to shoot some more
Desert sand winds Oman
I tried to capture the dust grains blowing off the surface
Desert sand specks Oman
I tried
Sun setting Oman desert
Watching the sun set is one of the major activities when staying at one of these desert camps
Camel ride Oman desert
The other activities are camel rides, desert safaris and dune bashing
Sharqiya sands moon Oman desert
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.

Arabian Oryx camp room at night
After a nice bath, we had some time to kill before meeting up for dinner
Oryx desert camp tents at night Oman
Assem and Manjulika were chatting next door
Crescent moon Oman night sky
I set up my tripod and tried to capture the crescent moon
Oryx camp hall desert night light
It was chilly, so you may want to carry some warm clothing for the nights
Al Gafah restaurant Arabian Oryx camp
We re-grouped for dinner
Buffet Arabian Oryx restaurant
Which was a buffet
Arabian food Oman
Stayed away from rice and had mostly breads and meat
Omani band music bedouin camp
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 β€” 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

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