Wahiba SandsAbout four hours drive from Muscat, the WahibaSands are the most accessible of the desert areasof Oman. The sands are home to numerousspecies of plants and animals and are therefore asite of scientific interest, as well as being a populardestination for visitors. In places, the dunes reach150 metres in height, offering great opportunitiesfor exhilarating 4x4 drives and fabulous views ofdesert sunsets. The area is sparsely populated butthere are some Bedouin tribes which are lessnomadic than in the past and have settled in theWahiba Sands. They welcome visitors to theirhomes, displaying the typical hospitality associatedwith this region.There is a range of accommodation available in the Wahiba Sands, from the more basicBedouin tents and wooden barasti-style huts toair-conditioned, en suite rooms or private campsset up just for you. We recommend spendingtwo nights in the desert so that you have time toexplore the dunes or organise other activities likecamel rides or quad-biking, but one night willallow you to experience the landscape and thewonderful peace and solitude of this area.DESERTNIGHTSCAMP, WAHIBASANDSSet between two 30 metre dunes, yet only 11 kilometres from the main road, the DesertNights Camp has a real feeling of peace andrelaxation. Each air-conditioned 'tent' comprises alounge, bedroom and bathroom and is equippedwith all the facilities of a luxury hotel. There is arange of activities from quad-biking and camelriding to 4x4 dune bashing. In the evening, dinneris provided in the main restaurant with a chanceto relax afterwards under the stars and listen tolocal musicians.www.audleytravel.com/oman ?01993 838 430 ?Oman95Ras Al JinzOn the coast south of Muscat is the small cove of Ras Al Jinz. It is here that Omani effortsto preserve the marine life of the area areconcentrated, at the Ras Al Jinz Nature Reserve.The beach is a prime spot for turtles to comeashore to lay their eggs all year round, althoughthe principal season for nesting is between Julyand September. There is a good visitor centrenext to the beach along with accommodation atCarapace Lodge, perfect for late evening andearly morning visits to view the turtles.Turtle at Ras Al Jinz Desert Nights Camp, Wahiba SandsBoy at the market, NizwaCamels in the Wahiba SandsNizwa Mosque and the Jebel AkhdarBeehive tombs of Al Ayn, Jebel AkhdarFisherman, Ras Al Jinz
SalalahSalalah is the main town of the Dhofar region,located in the far southwest of Oman and nearthe border with Yemen. One of Oman's mostancient settlements, Salalah has a very differentclimate to the rest of the country, and in thesummer months the city experiences the khareefseason, influenced by the monsoon winds andrain from the Indian Ocean. During this period,the countryside turns green and lush and visitorsfrom elsewhere in the Arabian peninsula flockhere to experience the refreshing rainfall. Atother times Salalah is a rather sleepy butattractive place to spend a few days, where youcan enjoy the tropical atmosphere amongst thebanana groves and palm trees. To the east andwest of the town are some places of interest,including the tomb of the Prophet Job, hills filledwith frankincense-bearing trees and the ancientport of Samhuram, at one time associated withthe Queen of Sheba.96Coastline near SalalahSalalah Marriott Beach ResortLagoon near SalalahPlaying football on the beach, SalalahSALALAHMARRIOTTBEACHRESORTThe Salalah Marriott is actually locatedapproximately one hour's drive from the city,near to a small town called Mirbat. It is a peaceful,relaxing retreat and an excellent choice for endingyour trip around Oman. Most of the rooms lookover the pool (the largest in Oman) and beach,with views of the Indian Ocean. There are anumber of restaurants serving a range of cuisines,including a seafood restaurant which makes themost of the daily catch. Although a little isolated,the Marriott offers comfortable accommodationand is within easy reach of Salalah and thesurrounding points of interest. The coastline tothe east of the hotel is very remote withfascinating geology, flora and fauna, making it well worth exploring.