There are a variety of things to do in Oman. You can go to a beach, or hike a mountain. But the biggest appeal, and the one that most people think about is visiting the desert. You can make a day trip out of it, or if you are really adventurous, you can pitch your own tent and spend a night under the stars. There is a middle ground available as there are many glamping sights all over the desert, and one of the premiere ones would have to be The Thousand Nights Camp just outside of the town of Bidiyah.
It is a little bit of a hike out of town, and you do need a four wheel drive vehicle to make it out there. It is also suggested that you deflate your tires to give you a little more traction over the loose sand that will blow on to the dirt path that will take you out there. Beware that the town of Bidiyah is full of people waiting to take advantage of this. They will bug you about giving you help to get out there, and if you are a little worried, you might want to book somebody ahead of time. If you are a skilled driver and you have a powerful four wheel drive, you should be able to make it out there without a problem.
Once there, you will be given your own tent that is bigger than most hotel rooms, designed like one a bedouin would stay in, has its own private shower, and electricity. It even has a bed, and air conditioning, though I stayed out here in December and could just open the windows to get the tent to the right temperature. You are still roughing it though because there is no refrigerator in the tent unless you pay for an upgrade. If you do that, then you get your own patio, and private pool, and the best views of the dunes.
There is also plenty to do while out there. They have a small pool that is great for cooling off in. A couple of camels are available if you would like to try your hand at riding one of them. You can borrow an ATV to explore the sand dunes, or hire a local guide to drive you to the more remote places. They also have a recreation center which is great for kids, a nightly traditional Arabian fire, and an oryx farm that you can check out.
Or you could do the simplest thing of all, and put on your hiking shoes, and climb those sand dunes yourself. The first one is a bit of a trial to get up, but once you are on top of the dunes, it is a lot of fun walking along them. Within a half an hour of leaving camp, I was able to get far enough away from the camp to feel like I was the only one hiking around the desert. I was also able to find the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
And it is a great place to watch the sunset, especially in December. It was the perfect temperature out there, and the wind only came up as soon as the sun dipped below the horizon. There was even enough light afterwards to have enough time to safely back to the camp and the wonderful meal that they served for dinner that night. There are many of these camps in the desert, and they all have similar things that they offer, but the Thousand Nights Camp was far enough away to make it feel like I had really gotten off the beaten path. If you come out here, this is one of the stops that you have to put on your itinerary. You won’t regret it.
Thanks again, until next time.