Wahiba Sands

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Wahiba Sands

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The Wahiba Sands of Oman are also known as the Ramlat-al-Wahiba and the Sharqiya Sands. The Wahiba Sands is a large expanse which runs around 180 km from North to South and 80 km from East to West.The area is a desert which has been of interest to the Royal Geographical Society. Though primarily a desert, the regions has over 150 varities of flora and over two hundred species of wildlife.

The desert was formed by the South West Winds and the Shamal trade Winds during the Quaternary period. The dunes can be very high even greater than a hundred meters in height. The region, on the basis of its dunes, is divided into the upper, middle and lower Wahiba region. Because of the contour of the sands, the desert is best travelled from North to South. The desert is bordered by the town of the Al Mintirib towards the North and An Nuqduh towards the south.

Over three thousand Bedu from different tribes such as the Mawalik, Hikman and Janabah are inhabitants of this desert. One can view the traditional life of the nomads, which is a far cry from the amenity based life we live today. The Bedu raise camels and hold camel races which are entertaining to see. Bedouin handicrafts like woolen key rings and camel bags may even be bought from these nomads.

Wahiba Sands

The only way to drive through the sands is on a four wheel drive vehicle. One can camp under the shade of a Ghaf tree or a sand dune. Travelers have to beware that there are no services available in this region, not even petrol. It is advisable to travel with a guide as even landmarks are scarce. The summers are torturous and it is not advisable to go off route for exploration between April and October.

If the visitor does not want to bother getting stuck in the sand, there are a number of tours available. The Wahiba sands are next to the Muscat Sur Highway, and easiest access to the sands can be gained at the city of Al Mintirib. Of the camps available the 1000 night camp is preferred by visiting tourists. The Wahiba sands promise an expedition of adventure. So pack your suitcases, collect your water bottles and hit the dunes.

Wahiba Sands

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