Khor al Adaid (Inland Sea), Qatar

Qatar Inland Sea (Khawr al Udayd)

A few weeks ago I went on my first ever Qatar Desert Safari. Travis’ sister Nicole was in town visiting us so a trip to the inland sea was a must do. I had for a while wanted to do the trip to the very southern part of Qatar, but we never got around to it (although Travis had been with his work team). A primary school friend of mine who happens to also be living and working in Qatar also joined us.

Travis had found Qatar Inbound Tours online and the driver picked us up from our desired location (our apartment complex) in a four wheel drive. The trip down south to the ‘starting point’ at Sealine Resort took about an hour. We stopped for a five minute break at the start of the dunes to allow the driver to release the pressure from the tires and gather the company’s convoy of 4WDs. Having been on a similar safari in Dubai, I knew what to expect from the dune bashing and I was a little nervous, as generally, I detest rollercoaster rides and the like.

The next two hours as we headed towards the inland sea across the dunes was filled with various levels of excitement (depending on the size and gradient of the dune) and horror – as at one point we saw a badly damaged and burnt 4WD sitting between some dunes where an adventure trip had obviously gone horribly wrong. We stopped at a few scenic places along the way and enjoyed the view and the soft breeze.

Eventually we reached the beautiful inland sea and caught our first glimpses of Saudi Arabia from afar. We stopped to take photos from the peak of a sand dune and later shared dates and Arabic tea with our drivers.

Unexpectedly, we took a relatively flat road parallel to the dunes on our way back (stopping to enjoy the sunset) which took about an hour to Sealine. It was an enjoyable day.

Burnt Land Cruiser found along the waySmall Inland LakeBrett, Nicole, Sonya and Travis
Land Cruiser descending a duneTwo of the four Land Cruiser convoyLand Cruiser convoy ascending a dune
Beach heading towards Inland SeaFrom white to blueThe Land Cruiser convoy
Travis and SonyaFour-wheel-drive tracks in the sandThe Inland Sea
Sand dunesSand dunes with many tyre tracksSand dune
Patterns in the sand caused by the windView from a sand duneView from a sand dune
Sonya on the peak of a sand duneNicole and Brett on the peak of a sand duneView from a sand dune
View from a sand duneThe convoy of Land Cruisers with the drivers have a breakA sand dune
Travis behind a sand duneA sand duneSunset in the Qatar desert

Wahiba Sands – a sandy desert in Oman

From Sur we headed east along the Ash Sharqiyah coast through Ras Al Hadd, and then followed part of the Arabian Sea before heading inland.

Our accommodation for that night was the 1000 Nights Camp, located forty kilometres into the Wahiba Sands desert. After a lot of backtracking north-west into Oman, we reached the location marker, a Shell petrol station. From there we drove north passing Al Mintrib Fort, one of the last markers, we reached the last of the paved road, passing many tourist warning signs along the way. I deflated the tires to the recommended 18 psi, this was going to be interesting, I thought.

The driving to the camp was easy, even though located deep within Wahiba Sands desert, the road was frequently travelled, with many signs and other cars to follow, we were glad to not have paid the 20 OMR for the escort service. The camp was located at the floor of a valley, though it was it the middle of nowhere, it was a surprise to see it offered, electricity (though temperamental), a swimming pool, luxurious glass windowed accommodation with balcony, mobile phone signal, and even wireless (though we couldn’t get it to work). Our accommodation for the night was a cosy Arabic Tent, which even had a single electric light.

Prior to dinner, Sonya and I decided to do a bit of ‘dune bashing’, having never driven in the sand before, I was surprised how easy the four-wheel-drive made it, though I and especially Sonya  were always uneasy with what I and the car would be capable of, and as we were by ourselves, I didn’t want to take too many risks.

Back at the camp we had a buffet dinner of various Omani dishes, with the highlight being the traditional Omani Shuwa (Showa), spiced lamb wrapped in banana leaves and then cooked in an earth oven for the whole day. After dinner we were treated to a performance of traditional Omani songs and dancing, which even got the camp guests participating.

In the morning we spent a little more time enjoying the desert dunes before heading north towards our next destination, Nizwa.

Sonya and the four wheel drive at Wahiba SandsSonya on one of the many sand dunesPatterns in the sand caused by wind erosion
Looking over Wahiba SandsThe four wheel driveLooking over Wahiba Sands
The four wheel drive1000 Nights CampSonya on the tip of a sand dune
Sonya on the tip of a sand duneSonya and Travis on the tip of a sand duneSonya on the tip of a sand dune

  1. 1000 Nights Camp