Oman – desert camp

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Oman desert
Oman desert Camel caravan fun

Oman desert camp

Al Areesh Desert camp is as difficult to find as you might expect something in the middle of the desert to be. As you drive, there are either no signs at all or the ones that were there are severely rusted and slightly bent. They look like they may have recently had a collision with a camel and/or a 4×4.  

The camp is among the Wahibah Sands, one of the oldest deserts in the world. It has rolling dunes reaching up to 100 metres and golden shifting sands. This is the traditional home of the Bedouin, hardy, spirited people who know how to survive in these harsh desert conditions.

We came across our first Bedouin, Abdullah having a sleep in the camp and we surprised him, as we’d arrived early. ‘Al Areesh’ means Palm Huts in Arabic. Indeed that is where we slept. In little palm huts in the desert, with electric lights and an adjacent modest bathroom. 

Oman desert
Desert digs

Desert in Oman

This was not as luxurious as some of the Desert Night tented camps we had seen advertised but it seemed more authentic and was indeed, half the price. There was also a large communal area with Arabic cushions and rugs for lounging on while eating and socialising.

We met our other camp mates who consisted of three Norwegian guys who could only say ‘OK’ in English (similar to my Norwegian repertoire) and a charming English family of three generations. The grandfather was a professor of English at Oman University and he and his wife spent six months in Oman and then six months at their house in Chester in the UK. Not a bad lifestyle at all.

There was also the option for sand boarding down the dunes which is a bit like sledging in snow. The Bedouin children like to slide down the huge dunes onany bits of shiny plastic they can. This is great amusement for them, as they have no access to Play stations, X boxes, cable TV or the Internet. Poor things.

Oman desert
Dune bashing

Desert camp dunes

The dunes of the Wahibah desert are impressive indeed. We enjoyed the thrill of a mad hour ‘dune bashing’ in a large range rover driven expertly by Abdullah our cool bedouin guide. This involved gearing up the steep dunes and then pausing at the top of a vertical one, ‘bashing’ down the other side of it. It was exhilarating to swoop down through the steep waves of sand.

Oman desert

 Abdullah was in full control of his 4×4 and had obviously done this many times. I, however had not.  Facing the precipice of a vertical dune and going over the top, battle of the Somme style was quite daunting. I did a bit of excited squealing which I realise is extremely uncool.

Oman desert
Abdullah – cool Bedouin

Oman – desert sunset

At the end of the drive, we all got out. We sat on the glorious orange sand to watch the stunning sunset. Back at camp we noticed an interesting sort of sprung bed affair outside our hut.  It is for lying on to do your night time star gazing. Nowhere do stars look bigger or more beautiful than in the desert.
The evening meal was simple but tasty. Our English companions produced some gin and tonic as if by magic and asked if we would like some. We greatly enjoyed the duty free gin with our camp companions. It rounded off a very special desert day for us in a very good way.
Check out more about Oman here Oman Days and Arabian Nights

Oman goodbye




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