One of the things I was most excited about on our trip to Oman was spending a night in the desert, an activity that has long been on my bucket list. I did lots of research on which camp would be best for us because there are a lot of desert camps in the Wahibah Sands (also known as Sharqiya Sands), a sea of sand that stretches across 12,500 square kilometers.
We found some quite luxurious camps with air conditioning, bars, and one even had a pool…but the reviews of these places had a common theme: “It was so nice after they turned off the generators!” That’s right, it’s the desert so any power has to be supplied by generators and they are noisy…not exactly the peaceful desert night we had envisioned. In the end, what we were dreaming of was an intimate, authentic desert camping experience and we found just that at the Nomadic Desert Camp.
This turned out to be the perfect choice and was exactly what we were looking for. The camp is owned and run by a Bedouin family that has lived in the Wahiba Sands for generations. We met in the afternoon at the meet up point in Al Wasil where we had to have air let out of our tires in preparation for desert driving. Lukasz was very excited about this part of the adventure! You must have an SUV to drive in the desert, but if you don’t the camp can provide transport at an additional cost.
After an exciting drive, we were shown to our thatched hut, a little room woven from date palm leaves, with four single beds, a dresser, and mosquito netting. The camp had no electricity but did have running water with shared toilets (the hole in the ground kind), sinks, and showers. It was perfect for one night, but some of the families there had made the camp their base for the week which might have slightly worn off the charm for us… but seemed to be just fine for them!
The camp was lovely and peaceful and the kids couldn’t get over how fun this giant sandbox was! After getting settled, it was time to go for a drive to meet some of the family’s camels and to watch the desert sunset.
Driving through the dunes for a camel meet and greet.
I had no idea how sweet camels could be! This girl was three years old and she absolutely loved to be cuddled. Whenever we would stop petting her and start to walk away she would follow us and nudge us asking us to pet her some more. So cute!
Before we left we got to try camel milk, which tasted mostly like cow’s milk just warm and a little sweeter. I was surprised that our adventurous six-year-old didn’t want to try it, but absolutely shocked when our picky three-year-old walked right up to try it…and liked it!
After lots of camel snuggling, the sun was starting to set so we drove to the base of a big dune where we climbed up and watched the beautiful show.
A dune upon a dune for the best view!
The way the sand changed colors with the setting sun was so beautiful.
After the sun set, we made our way down the dune and our guides were waiting with a small fire where they had made coffee to serve with dates. There was a very peaceful, relaxed vibe in our small group and fortunately for us there was another family with two young girls so the kids quickly made friends. They were so excited to see a lizard scamper across our circle and were on the lookout for more wildlife, but apart from camels that’s all they saw. The drive back to camp was interesting in the dark, but luckily it was short!
Back at the camp we had time to get cleaned up a bit and then dinner was served buffet style under a tent. The food was plentiful and delicious, actually probably the best meal we had in Oman. After dinner, our guides had prepared a fire with cushions all around to lay back and get a glimpse of one of the clearest skies I’ve ever seen. We were served hot tea and it was really one of the most magical nights…until the boys got a bit too giddy and then it was time for us to retire to our hut!
The next morning we awoke bright and early to a delicious breakfast, including freshly baked Arabic bread.
Baking the bread for breakfast.
After breakfast it was time for the camel ride, and the boys could hardly wait. I was personally a bit nervous for the camel ride, but after seeing how gentle they were the day before I was convinced to give it a go! The guides led us on about a 15 minute loop through the desert, which was just perfect for the kids and they absolutely loved it.
This kid talked non-stop, he was so excited! And weeks later is still talking about camels.
After the ride it was time for us to pack up and say goodbye to the desert and our friendly hosts, but it was certainly a unique and wonderful stay! It was exactly what we had envisioned for a desert
camping glamping experience and we would highly recommend it. This camp was one of the cheaper ones I came across, probably since they don’t have to pay for the generator or the swimming pool ;), which was even more of a bonus. The meals and camel ride were also included in the price of the stay.
Definitely a highlight of our Oman adventure!
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