Camping in Oman

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Camping in Oman

Muscat Ras Al Jinz Jebel Shams Wadi Nakhr Beehive Tombs
           
September 2007 Dubai to Muscat

 

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A camping trip in Oman. Something we had hoped to do for many years. Trying to do this while we were in Jeddah involved a very long drive and at least two weeks. 

From Dubai, we were able to drive to Muscat in half a day in company with friends Fran and Richard Maunder. We stayed in Muscat overnight and visited our all time favourite Indian restaurant, Passages to India.

The following day, Fran and Richard headed home to Dubai while we headed east along the coast to Sur and Ras Al Jinz, (Turtle Beach) on the extreme NE point of the Omani coastline..

Both the old coast road and the new road under construction had suffered serious damage from Cyclone Gonu which struck the Omani coast in  June 2007.

   

Ras Al Jinz - Turtle Beach

   
 

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In the season, (June and July), as many as 600 Green Turtles will come in and lay eggs in one night at this beach. In September, the number was down to 30-40 per night. Still an amazing sight.

Wardens led us to the beach at 9pm in the dark with flashlights. The beach was just full of enormous holes where turtles had been. The wet sand on the beach was covered in tracks resembling bulldozer tyre tacks. We had to be careful not to disturb turtles coming from the sea in case they changed their mind. Once dug into their hole and laying, nothing can disturb them, though flash photography is not allowed.

We also found small turtles hatching and emerging from the sand.

We returned at dawn, without the wardens to see the last of the turtles leaving the beach.

Mountains and Wadis

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After visiting Sur, we headed back into Muscat, retracing our route along the coast but diverting up a few spectacular wadis on the way. One of these claims a recently discovered cave large enough to hangar three Boeing 747 aircraft, though this is not open to the public yet.

From Muscat we headed into the mountains and spent 5 days camping in dramatic scenery and changes of temperature.

Many of the wadis have fresh water, either from rainfall or springs. For the hot, dusty camper, these are a welcome relief.

Most of the time was spent in low ratio 4 wheel drive navigating extremely steep, winding, rocky roads.

In most of the wadis with fresh water, a falaj has been built taking water down the wadi in a channel to irrigate crops in settlements further down the wadi.

Jebel Shams is 3,010 metres, the highest point in Oman. The road/track winds for hours upwards towards the distant peak of Jebel Shams.

This is the location of the grandest wadi of them all, Wadi Nakhr, known as the Grand Canyon. At the end fo which we found a village of carpet weavers, who insisted on laying out all their carpets for our viewing.

We camped on the slopes of Jebel Shams and the next day followed one of the hiking trails to the rim of the Grand Canyon.

 

      Beehive Tombs        

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Not far from Buraimi we sidetracked to the village of Al Ayn where prehistoric tombs line the top of a small hill in the shadow of Jebel Misht.

These tombs are reputed to be 3,000 BC and are called 'beehive tombs' after their shape.

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