I take this week’s travel theme HOT of Ailsa of where’s my backpack as a wonderful chance to show off Oman’s interesting and barren desert – The Wahiba Sands located in Sharqiyah Region. The place can have blazing HOT temperatures that normally reach from 45-50 degree Celsius in summer months. But other than that, it has become a famous destination for locals and tourists coming from the world around.
We went to Wahiba desert when one of my students invited us for a sand bashing experience late last year. He brought his Lexus 4WD car and gave us a free and pretty challenging ride through the sand dunes. We stopped at the highest peak of the sand hills about 200 meters high and took some pictures. It was pretty HOT at noontime but we all enjoy the scenic view. I am also mesmerized with the powder-like golden brown sands that I scope a few into an empty glass bottle and display it in our living room.
The golden sand of Wahiba desert is fantastic. The vastness of this desert is also a home to the Beduoins, the natives of the region. The word “Bedouin” translates loosely as “those who live in bādiyah” or “those who live in the desert.” The Bedu specialize in raising camels for racing which normally takes place throughout the region from mid-October to mid-April. They are also skillful and are good at handicrafts. The women wear distinctive and colorful dresses with peaked masks and an abeyya (black outer clothing). We just drive past one of the houses of a Bedu family located in interior of the dunes as we head off to one of the famous desert camp called Al Raha Tourism Camp.
While getting to the camp, I figured out that it’s practically dangerous to cross the desert without a guide or being accompanied with someone who knew the route. Moreover, there were no provisions or water and even petrol stations beyond the northern periphery. So it was advisable not to venture through the sands alone. However, the Bedu have been also known to rescue tourists trapped or stucked in the sand.
After the camp visit, we tried an exhilarating ride when as we get down through a very steep and perfectly 45 degrees slope of sand dunes. I can’t stop myself but to shriek out loud while my heart beating out of my chest. I thought it was very scary thing to do, but our driver was really good and we were so impressed! Upon reaching the base we were all laughing and relieved. For me, it is one-of-a-kind adventure I will never forget.