Conquering the highest sand dune

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Ramlat Jadilah is not only the tallest sand dune in Oman, it was discovered by Saudi anthropological researcher Dr Eid Al Yahya as the highest in the world standing at 455 metres beating the previous record set by Namibia’s sand dune. 

MAI AL ABRIA –

Conquering one of the highest sand dune peaks in the country is not an easy task. But despite battling the elements especially the unforgiving heat and the soft, shifting sands, young Omani adventurer Budoor Al Salhia can definitely raise her head high for doing what many considered as a near to impossible task.
But Ramlat Jadilah is not only the tallest sand dune in Oman, it was discovered by Saudi anthropological researcher Dr Eid Al Yahya as the highest in the world standing at 455 metres beating the previous record set by Namibia’s sand dune which only stands at 418 metres above sea level.
“When people say you can’t do it — that it’s impossible — never lose hope. Just because they couldn’t doesn’t mean you can’t,” Budoor said.
This young Omani has been hiking and climbing mountains even at a young age and she has not only climbed mountains in the Sultanate, she has also ventured to mountains in other countries.
Although the Jadilah peak stands at 455 metres above sea level, Budoor shared that their adventure in Maitin in Dhofar didn’t take more than 32 minutes.
“We crossed about 600 meters in only 32 minutes,” she shared.
Budoor said that when she first heard of the place, she attempted to gather more information on the geographical location, the time needed and distance but she couldn’t get any information and decided to explore it herself.
“I contacted the Emirati adventurer Said Al Maamari, who is extremely knowledgeable at climbing mountains and other peaks to join me in this adventure. Said’s passion for mountain climbing has pushed him to scale the heights of seven mountains making him the first Emirati to hold this record,” she narrated.
She added that aside from her desire of exploring all the places she visited, she also have this mission of promoting the touristic sites of the Sultanate.
“Every time I climb a new mountain I tend to promote the place. I also point out the essential things needed to be successful in exploring that destination. By making the information available, the site in return will attract more visitors”.
While she has deep focused for her day job, she doesn’t neglect setting goals for her personal adventures.
She shared that having already climbed many mountains in Oman, she hopes to continue exploring and climbing mountains even those found abroad.
“I have always loved travelling and exploring different countries. I have, in the last two years, been more interested in the many adventure opportunities and activities around neighboring countries,” she said.
“Climbing mountains is different from climbing sand dunes because of the soft sands that makes it difficult to climb. Such adventure also requires a bit of knowledge and planning to not only safely climb but become successful in conquering its peak. It also needs extra effort and one has to be really fit,” she said.
“I consider my sand dune climb as an achievement because it was my first time to climb a sand dune and it was an additional experience for me as a climber,” she shared.
Although personal initiatives like the one Budoor embark on always faces financial problems and support from concerned agencies, Budoor shared, “In this journey, the National Committee for Youth offered the logistic support.”
She also hoped that hiking or mountain climbing will become an activity that will gain the support of the Ministry of Sport since when she reached out to them, they were not able to extend help as hiking is not yet a part of their supported activities.