Hud Hud: Muscat to Wahiba Sands
Leaving Muscat after breakfast you are met and driven through Wadi Mayh before joining the coastal road that runs between Muscat and Sur. Before long we turn away from the sea and head up the northern face of the eastern Hajar Mountains. Following a steep gravel track that, in a short time, takes us to the peak of the impressive Selmah Plateau over 2,000m above sea level. Views to the north are of the Arabian Sea and, to the south in the hazy distance, the Wahiba Desert. This track passes ancient villages that were, until a couple of years ago, only accessible on foot or by donkey. This long, west facing ridge is spectacularly lined with numerous beehive tombs built by the Umm Naa people in around 2500BC.
Here we will stop for a delicious and freshly prepared picnic lunch. By mid afternoon we leave the mountains behind us and head through Wadi Tayeen. Passing the 18th Century fort at Mudayrib and with the sun beginning to drop, we enter the desert and drive the final stretch on sandy tracks before reaching our camp, set-up within the russet red dunes.
Wahiba Sands are home to the most incredible sand dunes, some reaching a colossal 100 metres high and separated by enormous depressions. These beautiful dunes stretch as far as the eye can see and it is a spectacular sight especially in the evening and the morning, when the warm colours of the desert become much richer and the long shadows accentuate the splendour of these giant forms. The sands are made of grains of rock, blown in from nearby eroded rocks and marine sediments and they are moving inland at a pace of about 10 metres a year.
You will be staying at Hud Hud Wahiba, Full board