‘Desert Guide’ caravan ends

MUSCAT, Dec 26 – “With the richness of Oman’s nature it is our duty to preserve it and keep the land clean,” says Ahmed bin Harib Al Mahrouqi, veteran desert traveler who was part of the camel trek named Hidda al Sahra. A closing ceremony for the second edition of the event was held at the Ministry of Tourism yesterday under the patronage of Maitha Saif Majid Al Mahrouqi, Undersecretary of Ministry of Tourism (MOT). The trek, which took place from December 15 to 18, involved crossing the Wilayat of Bidiya in Rimal Al Sharqiya. The final destination at the Ministry of Tourism headquarters in Muscat.
The second edition of the trek was conducted as a part of the winter tourism season in Oman, which sees an increasing number of camping, trekking, desert-crossing, and hiking activities. The trek, which has gained popularity among visitors and tourists, since it was first initiated, has seen a growing interest, with many joining the team to experience the trek with nature for company. The route of the 2nd edition covered 50 kilometres, starting from Arish camp; it passed through Sama Al Wasil Camp and concluding at the Desert Nights Camp.

On Monday by 11 am, some of the team members had already arrived to camp at the land right across the MoT setting up the tent and the camp fire that even saw the traditional way of preparing the food to the delight of the visitors.
On Tuesday morning, a welcome reception was given to the Omani travelers along with an honouring ceremony for the participants and sponsors.
An exhibition of photographs from the journey was also inaugurated on the occasion.
This edition of the trek saw the participation of four of the Sultanate’s most famous Omani travelers — Ahmed bin Harib Al Mahrouqi, Amer Al Wahibi, Hamoud Al Nahdi and Mohammed Al Zadjali, along with 12 other team members.
The trek was organised by the Ministry of Tourism, Alam Al Hejn, and Sultan Qaboos University; it was sponsored by Al Ghalbi International for Engineering and Contracting, Be’ah, Oman LNG, Al Duqm Travels and Tourism, Al Roya newspaper, Wijihat, Desert Nights Camp, Sama-Wasil Camp, and Desert Explorer Company.

Ahmed Harib Al Mahrouqi said, “The final phase of the trek kicked off from Al Khoud on Monday, December 25, and reached the ministries-district in Al Khuwair, the next day, in coordination with the ROP.” The riders arrived at their destination with their camels.”
Hamoud Al Nahdi is the senior most traveler amongst the team and this time around two of his young sons joined the journey. Al Nahdi is also popular for his journey with his camels up to Al Jabal Al Akhdar.
The camp site across the MoT was open for visitors to get acquaintance on life of nomads in the desert, take pictures, have coffee, and chat with the camel trek team, as well as receive free brochures and booklets on the subject. An important message Ahmed wanted to convey was keeping Oman’s outdoors plastic free. “We saw plastic bags and left over trash from picnics whether we were in the desert or crossing wadis. We must be determined to keep Oman tidy,” Ahmed pointed out.

Lakshmi Kothaneth