Explore Oman's Empty QuarterRub' al Khali, Oman
Today we’re off to the desert! We leave Muscat in comfortable 4WD's, and head for Nizwa, the old capital of the Sultanate and soon leave the tarmac road to cross Umm As Sameem (“ Mother of Poison”), Oman’s largest salt flat. According to Bedouin legends whole caravans have disappeared in the quick sands of this barren land, where we get an impression of the vastness of the desert. We see mirages before reaching the first giant red dunes of Rub al-Khali (Empty Quarter), entering the world’s largest sand desert. With a camp fire crackling, we spend the night under the stars or in a tent, the choice is yours.
“Ramla” is the Arabic word for sand and this is what we will see and experience in all shapes and colors for a week. After a hearty breakfast, we cross the dunes of Ramlat Abu at Tabul on desert tracks and go further down South. We experience ever changing colors of the sand and find a sinkhole filled with water.
Heavily loaded with water, fuel and food we then cross the Southern part of the Rub al Khali for the next 3 nights / 4 days. Dunes here are even bigger and many times we need to cross these massive sand mountains, it is not always easy to find a good passage and we might have to get off the vehicles occasionally if we are stuck – this is part of the adventure! Via GPS we head for Uruq ibn Humudah in the border area of Oman / Saudi Arabia / Yemen before turning East to Ramlat Al Hashman, where we might be lucky to find some geodes. On our way we pass the artesian wells of Shigag and Burkhana and will surely see camels somewhere. Whoever feels like it, can do some desert walking in the morning while our crew breaks camp and packs the 4×4’s for the day before catching up with the group. We do not have a fixed itinerary and hence have plenty of time to experience and savor the desert, we chose our camp locations at the most beautiful spots, usually higher up in the dunes for a great panoramic view. Our expedition ends right on the white beaches of Salalah.
The best season to travel is November to March.
All camping equipment except sleeping bags is provided. The tour includes full board and free flowing mineral water.
It can get hot… of course, but seriously, harden up! This is the Empty Quarter!