Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Oman - Desert

On to the next part of our adventures in Oman (we've been in Muscat and the mountains so far), we head into the desert/sand dunes. As we were driving out of Nizwa and the Hajar Mountains, it was quite odd. It seemed one minute the landscape was mountainous and then suddenly we were in the middle of sand dunes.

We were staying at a desert camp and we had no idea what to expect. I think I was picturing safari-like tents and Richard was hoping there was decent air conditioning. The camp had hard structures with rooms, private bathroom and, of course, air conditioning.

Mid-afternoon, Richard and I wandered outside the camp to check out the landscape and nearby camels.

Richard being schooled on how to drink water.

Hope I don't step on this barefoot!

After exploring in the heat, a nap was necessary to was hot! Later in the afternoon some fruit, coffee, and dates were served in a main tent. A light afternoon snack before heading out for some dune bashing.

As the sun began to go down in the sky, we began to see why the Wahiba Sands are renowned for its gold hued sand dunes.

After driving around and bashing some dunes (gunning it going up and sliding down a SUV!!). Nasser (our driver/guide) took us to the top of a ridge to watch the sun go down....which in the meantime the light really emphasized the ripples in the sand caused by the movement of sand from the wind.

So beautiful! Of course we took some family photos.

Clarissa and Nasser raced up and down the dunes.

Easier going down than up the

Of course we were not alone at our lookout point...lots of Landcruisers....

Nasser took a great video of Clarissa throwing up sand. It's quite neat as the sand was so fine and lightweight it would just float in the air as the wind blew it.

Richard was happy to see the sun

All the other Landcruisers left....

 In relation to us, the dunes were so huge and went on for kilometers (or miles)...definitely felt small!

Clarissa took a photo of Richard, myself, Mason and Nasser from the bottom of a dune.

It was a beautiful sunset.

That night we tried our hand at star photography again. While you can't make out the milky way in the photo, it's a vast improvement of our attempts in Fiji!

The next morning as we headed out of the desert we interrupted some camels eating breakfast....

Lol...I could not pick a favorite photo....the baby is so cute but the adults with leaves chewing was funny too. A little further down the 'sand road', we happened upon a family with a momma and baby camel in a pen. Nasser asked a boy with the family if we could go in the pen and see them up close.

Do you know what a camel sounds like? We do!

We also stopped at local nomadic Omani tent, they had some woven items for sale

and quite possibly the coolest thing we saw....a real scorpion (and a small snake in a different bottle). It's not the best picture, but you can see the dark pincers to the right at the top of the sand.

It was here we got our last glances of the golden/almost rose gold colored dunes! The sand dunes were Richard's favorite part of the trip.

After departing the Wahiba Sands, we headed to one of the biggest and most beautiful wadis in Oman - Wadi Bani Khalid. What is a wadi? A wadi is an Arabic term referring to a valley or canyon. In a lot of countries with wadis, they are dry unless it is a rainy season. In Oman, these canyons tend to be spring fed and hold water year round in pools surrounded by tall canyon walls. We would describe a wadi as breathtaking oasis in the middle of the desert.

The kids may have gotten annoyed with me stopping to take photos....but it was so different than what we had been seeing.


There are some villages around the wadis and they let their goats roam around freely.

At the main pool in the wadi, there were tons of families having picnics and swimming.

There was a bridge crossing over the wadi (we may have watched some kids jumping off the bridge as well).

Behind the wadi is Muqal cave. The sign said it was another 10 minute or so walk. We didn't go as someone wanted to go swimming.

Getting used to the cool water. Clarissa said there were some of the toe nibbling fish in the water here a well.

 Pictures don't do the wadi justice.....needless to say I tried to capture its beauty.

Good words to live by!

You can see the green of the wadi with the barren mountain in the distance.

After visiting the Wadi Bani Khalid we stopped for some lunch at a little cafe in the town closest to the wadi. Then we headed for the beach! The beach will wrap up our adventures in stayed tuned!

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