Wahiba Sands: A Special Overnight Stay in the Desert of Oman

When you think of Oman, you think of the desert. From endless sand plains where hardly anything grows to enormous sand dunes that form an infinite sea of sand. A staggering 70% of Oman consists of desert. Therefore, a trip through Oman always includes an overnight stay in the desert. We share our tips for Wahiba Sands, the most beautiful part of Oman’s desert. Enjoy the clear starry sky, take a camel ride, watch the sunset, or rip over the dunes in a 4×4!

Dune bashing through the desert

In the desert, you can choose to take a camel ride or go dune bashing. The latter is something you certainly should not miss in our opinion, as it’s thrilling to rip over the gigantic sand dunes in a 4×4. It’s not wise to do this with your own rental car as it’s not insured for such activities, and you likely have little experience with it. That’s why you arrange for an experienced driver to pick you up from your camp at the end of the afternoon. These guys love to show off their skills, literally surfing the orange waves of sand in their rugged 4x4s. It’s more thrilling than a roller coaster, and all the while, you get to enjoy the most stunning views. Just before sunset, you stop atop a high sand dune to watch the sun go down. What an adventure! For about an hour and a half of dune bashing, you pay approximately $68 (€58) per car (up to four people).

How do you get to your camp in Wahiba Sands?

Almost all the camps are located about 9 to 19 miles deeper into the desert from the paved road in the village of Al Wasil. There are makeshift roads leading to the camps that have formed due to frequent vehicle traffic. These roads are simply flat tracks of loose sand between the sand dunes, so you need a 4×4 to reach your camp independently. There are about five different tracks like this, all leading straight into the desert from the paved road. Once you follow the signs to your camp and are on the right track, you can’t get lost in the desert. If you don’t have a 4×4, you need to arrange a pickup in advance through your camp. Because the camps are quite far into the desert, this can sometimes be quite expensive. In our case, it would cost $71 (€60) including drop-off the next morning. In the end, we decided to rent a 4×4 in Oman and drove ourselves to our camp, which was a fantastic experience. With some great music on, we cruised over the sandy road which felt like driving on smooth ice, and along the way, we encountered many camels.

Choosing between the different camps in the desert

In the Wahiba Sands desert, you’ll find more than 15 different camps to choose from. They range from small and simple camps to incredibly luxurious ones. You’ll typically pay around 154 dollars (€130) or more per night for a stay in the desert. We stayed at Sama al Wasil camp, which was a great middle-ground between basic and luxurious, and we didn’t lack anything! It’s located near a huge sand dune that you can climb, and a wonderful dinner and breakfast buffet is included in the price. It’s very easy to find due to the many signs, and upon arrival, you can immediately arrange for dune bashing that afternoon. We’ve also heard great stories from other travelers about the luxurious Desert Nights Camp and the small-scale Desert Retreat Camp, but both were fully booked months in advance.