Tuesday, March 21, 2023 | Sha'ban 28, 1444 H
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Re-discovering the dunes of Barka


When one hears of Barka, it is easy to associate it with farms and industrial areas but it hides much more beautiful secrets just waiting to be discovered. On weekends, especially before Covid19, these farms particularly those equipped with pools and children’s playground areas are the getaway of families.

It still comes as a surprise to many but Barka also has its own dunes. On some weekends, especially before Covid19, since the area is closest to Muscat, it is a weekend getaway for dune bashers.

With a steep desert wall as tall as a 15-floor building, it provides the kind of adventure bashers are looking for without driving far.

It’s different desert peaks also served as great camping grounds especially during the winter months.

A recent visit to these dunes in Barka resulted in the discovery of Dunes by Al Nahda — a hotel perched on one of the desert peaks with a stunning view of the surrounding Barka area.

The hotel itself is an amazing anomaly in what would have been a monotonous landscape of brown and grey. What is most interesting about the location is that the luxury tents are popping out from the sand — a real 1001 Arabian nights experience.

Dunes used to be filled with many adventures — from camel rides to ATV rides, from customized dinners under the stars to picnics on top of the dunes but because of restrictions, those were temporarily put on hold.

It however makes up for it with a nice setting, one that allows people looking for proper relaxation listening to the breeze and the gentle murmur of the moving sand.

Dunes also has one of the best infinity pools in the desert overlooking some of the best views Barka has to offer. In the evening, the nearby expressway is a stunning view of dancing lights as the roads are filled with cars rushing to go towards Suhar or Buraimi.

While dunes bashing is temporarily not allowed in the Barka desert, its re-opening is one of the most anticipated by people not only from Muscat but the nearby areas. The thrill of going up and down the desert sand is an experience one must try when visiting Oman.

If you have extra money to spare, experiencing luxury tents is definitely a must-try too — an experience that makes Oman’s desert truly unique.

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