The Sultanate of Oman is the only country in the whole of Arabia to have varied terrains, right from flowing wadis, verdant green oases, high jebel ranges, beaches as well as deserts. The Rimal al Sharqiya or popularly known as Sharqiya Sands Desert or Wahiba Sands covers about 12,500 sq. km. Jebel Shams, the highest peak in the whole of Arabia, with it’s just over 10,000 ft above MSL, too is in Oman.
This provides immense opportunities for Off-Road Driving in Oman. The Royal Geographic Society conducted an expedition in 1986 to document the diversity of the terrain, flora and fauna. This desert was noted to be home to about 16,000 invertebrates as well as 200 species of other wildlife including birds. 150 species of native fauna were recorded. Hence once the temperature starts dipping, off-road enthusiasts start visiting the desert for crossings, camping and experiencing the nature and discovering themselves once again.
A day spent in the desert is enough to recharge you and forget the hard work put in during the week. The terrain experienced in the Upper Wahiba and Lower Wahiba is drastically different due to the south-west blowing monsoon and the northern shamal trade winds coming in from the east. To experience the beauty of the deserts, enthusiasts enter the desert from various locations to get a different experience each time. The desert crossing from Jalan to Kuwaiymah on the coast gives a totally different experience from a North-South Crossing entering from Mintrib in the North and exiting at Ras Ruwais on the coast at the southern end. The desert though appears hostile, is home to the Bedouin Tribes of Al Wahiba, Al Amr, Al Bu Isa, Al Hikman and Janaba.
A stay in the desert if one cannot do a full crossing is a must-do item during your visit to Oman. Travel in the Omani desert and visiting a Bedouin settlement and experiencing their hospitality is a memory that you will cherish for your lifetime. While the majority go to the various desert camps to experience the desert, the Off-Roading tribe go on desert crossings experiencing the challenges of nature and terrain vs man & machine. These set of photos is a small display of some of the desert-scapes encountered during my crossings with Adventure Oman Off-Roaders, an active group of Off-Roading enthusiasts.