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New Year’s Eve In Muscat

New Year's Eve, Muscat, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

New Year’s Eve, Muscat, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

No shoes! Arriving in Muscat, Heidi stared down at her sneakers and realized they were still soaking wet from walking through the pools at Wadi Shab… But those were all she had. It was New Year’s Eve and we could not see ourselves in another cheap Indian restaurant where leaving a trail of muddy water behind might not have been noticed. Searching for presentable shoes we learned Omani hypermarkets have everything you can possibly think of, including sandals. Continue Reading →

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Wadi Shab

Wadi As Shab, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Wadi As Shab, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Very long stilts – like the legs of giant spiders – support the six-lane highway spanning the mouth of Wadi Shab, right where it empties into the ocean. A surrealistic view! Deep down in the valley, shaded by the wide concrete band of the highway starts Wadi Shab, a canyon guiding a small river lined with the palm trees. After exiting the highway, a small road winds its ways down to the valley floor. To start the hike into the 14 kilometer long Wadi, we had to take a small boat across. Immediately we noticed the damaged palm trees caused by a hurricane back in 2007. The path is easy in the beginning, but gets more and more difficult and is obviously neglected. Probably another result of the storm… Eventually the walk turned into a climb, since the valley is filled with huge rocks that seem to have been thrown around by a giant’s hand. Continue Reading →

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Made By Pakistani

In Khasab, Musandam, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

In Khasab, Musandam, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Driving along excellent roads and looking at all the buildings that have gone up in the last forty years, you wonder how Pakistan has been able to supply all this manpower needed to support the incredible development of Oman. And Oman is not even “using” that many: only 25% of its population are expatriates. This is nothing compared to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, where their numbers climb as high as 90%. There is clear order. Bangladeshi work the fields, Indians run shops and restaurants. Young women from South East Asia seem in high demand as waitresses, hotel staff and flight attendants. Continue Reading →

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Dhows Made In Sur

Dhow Traditionnal Building, Sur, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Dhow Traditionnal Building, Sur, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Dhows have been plying the oceans for thousands of years, taking Arab traders to India and as far as China. The city of Sur has a long tradition of building these wooden vessels, especially the very big ones, called Ghanjah. Of course, nowadays modern container ships do the job, but dhows have not disappeared and the dhow shipyard in Sur is the largest of all the Arabian countries. Continue Reading →

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Ras Al Jinz – Nightly Tour Of Turtle Beach

Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia Mydas), Ras Al Jinz, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula - This picture was actually taken in Cap Skirring, Casamance, Senegal

Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia Mydas), Ras Al Jinz, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula – This picture was actually taken in Cap Skirring, Casamance, Senegal, April 2002

Thousands of Green Turtles arrive at the beaches of Ras Al Hadd and Ras Al Jinz every year to lay their eggs in the sand. To do so they dig a deep hole with their powerful flippers. A truly moving experience! Continue Reading →

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Al Kamil – Khalfan’s Very Own Museum

Al Khamil, Khalfan Alhashmi's great Museum, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Al Khamil, Khalfan Alhashmi’s great Museum, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

A bit overdosed by fortresses, we reluctantly turned off the road when our guidebook announced another one. What also made the decision easier: the name of this small town had a nice ring to it – Al Kamil. Strangely, we could see the fort right in front of us, but we could not find the right alley to get there… We were about to give up when suddenly a smiling face appeared from behind a beautifully carved wooden door. The enthusiastic young man was Khalfan bin Khamis bin Halais al Hashmi, the grandson of the sheik who had given the castle to the government. For the next 1½ hours, we had the most unusual, unforgettable tour of this museum. Continue Reading →

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Wadi Bani Khalid – Paradise Lost

Wadi Bani Khalid, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Wadi Bani Khalid, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

If there ever was a Garden of Eden, it must have looked like Wadi Bani Khaled – much more than the usual picturesque oasis! Here emerald colored pools lined with palm trees and reed welcome the visitors. An easy trek leads into a narrow canyon with more pools surrounded by large boulders. Continue Reading →

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Luncheon In The Dunes

Wahiba Sands, or Ramlat al-Wahiba (also called Sharqiya Sands), Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Wahiba Sands, or Ramlat al-Wahiba (also called Sharqiya Sands), Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Up at the crack of dawn… How does the desert look like early in the morning? Nothing special actually, with the sun still hiding. Slowly the camp came to life and the Bedouins got the camels ready. We spent a long time studying every move of these animals close up. Even got to feel their very moves during an hour-long ride through the desert – a heavenly experience. Back in camp, we realized that most visitors just stay for one night. Continue Reading →

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Ramlat Wahiba – Not Just For Us!

Sand Dunes, Wahiba Sands, or Ramlat al-Wahiba (also called Sharqiya Sands), Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Sand Dunes, Wahiba Sands, or Ramlat al-Wahiba (also called Sharqiya Sands), Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Wahiba Desert, 10.000 km2 of reddish dunes rolling all the way to the Indian Ocean! The simple beauty of this and the feeling of vastness leave nobody untouched. The more entrepreneurial Bedouins have turned the fascination with this endless desert into a successful business idea. Within a 20 to 30 kilometer range of the oasis of Al Wasil, various families have set up camps in the desert. Continue Reading →

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Al Mudayrib – A Myth

Al Mudayrib Oasis, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Al Mudayrib Oasis, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Without blinking we took a long detour, when our guidebook described Al Mudayrib as the most stunning oases in the region. Well, there was absolutely nothing worth coming such a long way… So we decided to admire what we had, a gigantic bulk of cars / trucks parked in front of a mosque. People had come from all around, even smaller villages, for Friday prayers. Via speakers the praying and singing was clearly audible outside. Continue Reading →

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