In the Ramlat al Wahiba in eastern Oman, 150m high dunes and comfortable Bedouin camps await desert adventurers. The bravest can cross the desert on camelback.
The breathtaking Ramlat al Wahiba desert, also known as the Wahiba Sands, is located in eastern Oman and covers an area of 100 by 250 kilometres. Besides the Rub al-Khali, which lies further south, it is the second fantastic sand desert in Oman and is one of the highlights of an Oman trip.
The dunes run parallel to each other in a north-south direction. In the north of the Wahiba Sands there are several tourist camps about 20km deep. They range from simple camps run by Bedouin families to luxury camps with swimming pools and wifi connection.
In the east, the sand dunes of the Wahiba Sands reach the coast of the Indian Ocean at the village of Al-Ruways. Here you have a magnificent view of the ocean. This is also the best place to see the so-called aeolianites - fossilised sand dunes several metres thick - at the break-off edges on the coast.
Al Mintarib Oasis and Fortress (Al Mintrib)
In the oasis of Al Mintarib, or Mintrib, on the edge of the spectacular sandy sea of the Wahiba Sands, about 2km south of National Road No. 23 leading from Ibra to Sur, you will also find one of Oman's oldest forts: the fortress of Mintarib, one of our 10 most beautiful forts in Oman. Believed to have been built in the 13th century, it was fully restored in 1991 and has been open to visitors ever since.
The most famous entry points to the Ramlat al Wahiba desert or "Wahiba Sands" are:
The village of Al Wasil, approx. 30 km south of Ibra on highway 23. Here you can also fill up your supplies and get enough drinking water. Be sure to fill up the vehicle with petrol.
The Al Mintarib Oasis (with the fortress of the same name, which is well worth seeing) can be reached via a 3 km long asphalt road (approx. 20 km south of Al Qabil) from the main road 23. The supply possibilities here are not as good as in Al Wasil.
Tip: If you plan to cross the desert on your own, you should definitely bring all the necessary requirements (at least 2 fully fuelled off-road vehicles, desert experience, complete desert equipment, sufficient drinking water and food, careful planning, a guide who knows the area, .....). An alternative is a guided tour with off-road vehicles organised by local providers.
On the Road in the Ramlat al Wahiba
Even after the first few kilometres after leaving civilisation, you feel as if you are travelling on a different planet. Sand dunes stretch as far as the eye can see, not a soul is to be seen and the silence of the desert is palpable. But there is also a hint of hostility in the air. No water, no vegetation, no shade, only sun, sand and an unbearable heat.
Tip: A crossing of the Ramlat al Wahiba by camel is also offered. The starting point for this is the Al Mudayrib oasis 20km before Mintarib. The tours last from several days to a week and are undoubtedly among the experiences in life that you will never forget.
Those who are not adventurous enough or do not have enough time for a desert crossing can also opt for the slimmed-down version. A day trip into the desert including an overnight stay in one of the desert camps run by Bedouins also offers the opportunity for a camel ride and marvelling at a spectacular starry sky. Even this short trip into the desert is guaranteed to provide moments that will be remembered for a lifetime.