Walking barefoot on a dune while the sun is setting down, have an exciting dune bashing session through the highest dunes, or simply sit down on the warm sand and listen to the silence. This is his majesty the Desert, one of the greatest landscapes you can see, breath, admire in different parts of the world. In this article, we will give you ideas and tips about three main “desert discovering” destinations in the Middle East: Jordan, Emirates and Oman.
Wadi Rum – Jordan
Jordan is absolutely one of our favourite destinations in the world. We will take the opportunity in other articles to describe the beauty of this country, but in this one the focus is on the magical Wadi Rum. The Wadi Rum desert is located in the south of Jordan, 60 km east from Aqaba. The main difference between this Wadi and the other two locations described below is that here you can’t have a proper dune bashing but you can find incredible mountains (Rum Mountain) and creeks. The color of the sand explodes in contrast with the blue sky, especially when you reach the Paradise Dune. After driving all around this woinderful desert, stop into a bedouin tent for a hot tea (yessss HOT tea in the middle of the desert, you’ll be surprised about how refreshing it is). Tip: visiting the Wadi Rum is possible on a day trip from Petra, don’t miss it.
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve – United Arab Emirates
While in the glittering Dubai take the chance for a sunset desert safari. Personally I had a great time with Arabian Adventures, a local tour operator that offers whatever you need in the Emirates. You leave the city at late afternoon on these luxury 4 wheel drive Land Cruisers, toward the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. You’ll have few stops before the real dune bashing starts. One of these occasionally happens: you’ll meet a man with a horse, and trust us, if you like horses or riding, do it. The feeling of riding on the sand with nothing else around is incredible. After that, hold on, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy dune bashing!!! One of the greatest experience to do in the desert, much better than a rollercoaster (and we love rollercoasters!). It’s incredible what those drivers can do on the sand. Jumping, backward descending, drifting… Amusement at highest level. After that you reach a bedouin-style camp where you can enjoy dinner. Tip: try to sit in the front seat… Much better!
Wahiba Sands – Sultanate of Oman
During our Honeymoon in Oman we decided to spend two nights in the Wahiba Sands Desert, and guys, that was simply perfect. We stayed at the Desert Nights Camp, a luxury desert camp right in the middle of the dunes, with nothing else around. Sleeping in the desert is not only about silence and wildness… Look at the sky in the middle of the night… Breathtaking, truly breathtaking. From the camp we had our greatest dune bashing experience. The hotel was offering a sunset trip which was really quick, so that our guide/driver decided to agree with another driver to go through the desert by ourselves. So that we jumped into the cars, one with a dutch couple and the other one with us and we left the camp toward the dunes. Suddently the driver started climbing the dunes; only at that moment we discovered that he was an amazing driver!!! What the hell our friends!!! It was unbelievable what he did with that SUV on the sand. An incredible ride. After that, few minutes before the sunset, we stopped on a dune, jump off the cars, took out shoes and flip flops, and sat on the warm and red sand, in complete silence, admiring a spectacular sunset. We still clearly remember the thinness and the red color of the sand in the Omani Desert, an experience we will bring with ourselves forever.
The day after we decided to become drivers, well not exactly SUV Dune Bashing experts, but we rent 2 quads! We are really competitive so that, following a guide, we started riding very fast on the dunes. What a fan! At the end nobody won, but was really a great feeling driving yourself through the dunes. Tip: if you are planning a trip to Oman, do not miss the Wahiba Sands and take the opprtunity to sleep in a camp. There are only 4 camps, so that we suggest to book in advance.