The Wahiba Sands happily adheres to romantic imaginings of Arabia: seas of golden sand and date palm oases; Bedouin camps hidden amidst sweeping desert dunes; nights spent under inky velvet skies enjoying the hospitality of those used to living in such hostile environments. Wahiba, for all its vast grandeur, is but a taste of the Arabian Peninsula’s ‘empty quarter’ a Texas-sized body of sand that has long captivated travellers. A 4WD trip into the sands gets you up close and personal with the mind-blowing landscape and helps give a deeper appreciation of the enormity of your surroundings. Yet no matter what the activity or how far one travels here, the land remains all but untouched – sublime, vast and powerful, possessing an elemental allure that neither time nor man can diminish.
The lowering sun bathes the great sea of sand in a warming gold, the shadows of the ghaf trees and folds of countless dunes begin to lengthen. At your Bedouin camp food is prepared, coffee and dates shared. After dinner, some music is played, stories swapped, more coffee inevitably poured. Being part of the Bedouin lifestyle feels an almost binary experience. Here, among a harsh landscape that humbles with its immensity and intense silence, you’re among some of the most gregarious and hospitable people you’ll ever meet. The generosity of the Bedouin people is legendary and provides a welcome counterpoint to the indifference of the desert. Sitting among them, sharing their lifestyle between the countless stars and the towering dunes, forges a memory that time will not fade.