Saturday, June 03, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 13, 1444 H
clear sky
33°C / 33°C

‘Oman Desert Queen’ to be missed



She helped travellers achieve dreams of Arabia through unique travel packages for Oman. As a travel addict, she was equally proud of her Omani name ‘Ruqayah.’

That’s Rebecca Mayston who is leaving Oman after 12 years having transformed her hobby in the local tourism scene who became a sensation and a brand name.

In 2009 when tourism was emerging and ‘Guide Oman’ was a hobby, she was responsible for starting desert tourism and able to rebrand and transform it into a renowned adventure tourism business. And thus this Kiwi lady from Auckland popularly got the title ‘Desert Queen.’

She at first came to Oman as a tourist on a worldwide adventure and never expected to stay so long but instantly fell in love with the country and her people.

Says Mayston: “It was something I had only witnessed in fairytales and now was able to experience in real life. The fascination for Oman was strong, but also to the pull of the world wide adventures. I returned to Oman after a year of travel with a determination to find work and spend more time exploring and discovering this amazing country has to offer. I thought I would stay for a year, but 12 years has disappeared, with each year bursting full of incredible adventures,” she explains.

She was responsible for beginning the movement of women’s only trips, with Ladies Desert Safaris. Last winter their 10th ladies trip welcomed 83 women from 16 different nationalities. Over the years she was able to encourage and get more women into the driver’s seats which witnessed dramatic change in Oman outdoor events. She is proud that her efforts were responsible for women to explore the desert land. She was crowned ‘Oman Desert Queen’ due to her years of dedicated work within the desert, running Desert Safari’s and teaching people how to drive in the dunes.

These trips impacted so many, encouraging them to step outside of their comfort zones and try something new, many of them now firm Jeep and Desert enthusiasts.

For some people this becomes a once in a time trip on their international adventure, for others it is a regular winter family adventure and they even had international guests who revisit them over a decade later to refresh their desert experience.

“To inspire, encourage and support, not only women, but Omani’s and expatriates to get outdoors and experience, discover and explore Oman has been my greatest reward. Oman has a thousand opportunities and we must all embrace the adventure,” she mentions.

Over the years, Mayston became addicted to exploring and discovering culture, landscapes, cuisines, culture, religion and language. “Travel changes you,” she says and informs that it teaches about the world and pushes you to discover your innermost self. Travel is by far one of the healthiest addictions to have, where every day you are learning something new.”

Explaining Guide Oman Desert Crossings, the iconic founding product, Mayston says it was an opportunity for participants to learn the skill of desert driving.

“Weekends in Sharqiyah and Rub al Khali are fully catered and supported, making it a stress free weekend. In recent years, Mayston says the support crew have been formalised into an official rescue team. These are named as ‘Team 3R,’ as they rescue customers, remedy challenging situations and offer a great deal of relief in often stressful situations.

After 12 years away she is now eager to rediscover and explore New Zealand, her homeland, and get reacquainted with the Kiwi adventures and summer holiday activities with family and friends.

arrow up
home icon