We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Desert Camp before night before long haul flight!???

Bromley Kent
Level Contributor
838 posts
5 reviews
Save Topic
Desert Camp before night before long haul flight!???

Hi

We have 4 nights in Muscat in April (arriving from BKK after midnight on night 1 and departing to LHR lunchtime after night 4 - so we have 3 full days in Muscat.

We would like to do a night in a desert camp. 1st not an option due to late arrival so is it best to break our stay in the city (in one place) going to desert for night and then back to city - or to complete stay in city hotel - and go to desert camp.

The second option would seem to make sense but this then means we depart from desert camp straight back to Muscat for 1340 flight to LHR!!

Just wondering if anyone with experience of these trips could advise as to how sensible it is to dash off from camp in morning back to airport. Advertised transfer from camp to Seeb is 2.hours.

Many thanks

Muscat Governorate...
Destination Expert
for Muscat, Oman
Level Contributor
1,064 posts
107 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Desert Camp before night before long haul flight!???

Well, if you are gojng to Bidiya than this is 4-5hours driving from Muscat. Not sure if you wanna do this. I would suggest you to hire a car (if u can drive and have a license), go around the capital in ur first day.

Leave Muscat the 2nd day to Tiwi (1-1.5h). On the way to Tiwi, visit Bammah Sink Hole, visit Fins beach, and spend 3-4 hours in the wonderful Wadi Shab just before Tiwi. If u still have time drive to Tiwi and go inside the wadi side its beautiful place.

Still 1 more night?! U can drive to Nizwa (1.5-2hours).

Bromley Kent
Level Contributor
838 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Desert Camp before night before long haul flight!???

Hi

Many thanks for you reply.

The camp we were considering is in Al Wasel . Booking.com says that it is 2 hours from Seeb - does this sound correct??!!

Much as we would love to stay in the desert I am not sure that 8- 10 hours driving is worth this - when we are only in Oman for a long weekend!!

Our first day will be a Friday - will much be open in the city ?

Thanks for your other suggestions - I will check these out!

Cheers

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
1,882 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Desert Camp before night before long haul flight!???

Al Wasil is definitely closer to 2 hours from Muscat. The only way it would take longer would be if you went south to Sur before looping up toward Bidiyah. With regard to going straight to the airport from the desert, it depends on both you and the camp. The camps obviously have shower facilities, but it won't be the same as taking a nice long shower in a hotel room. And, when you are in the desert, sand gets EVERYWHERE. You will probably feel a little dirty, but that's the desert experience. I would suggest bringing a bag with simple things like baby wipes, granola bars, extra water, and anything else that will leave you feeling clean, hydrated, and ready for the flight.

Most of the desert experience is in the evening/at night (little bit of dune bashing around sunset, barbecue, camp fire, shisha if you want, sitting under the stars), and then waking up for sunrise if you so choose. As such, I don't think you would really miss anything by leaving the camp at 8am or so.

Muscat, Oman
2 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Desert Camp before night before long haul flight!???

Wahiba Sands described as a perfect specimen of a sand sea is a 10,000 Sq.km. desert comprising a great variety of dune formations representing stages of its evolution over millions of years. The home of the flery Bedouins, the Wahiba truly impresses the first time visitors with its shifting sand dunes and changing colours.

Germany
Level Contributor
259 posts
156 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Desert Camp before night before long haul flight!???

It depends on how laid-back you are. If your flight leaves at 1340 hrs, this would mean that you should be at the Airport at around 1140 hrs. Driving time from Al Wasil to Seeb is 2h15m according to Google maps. Add 30 minutes for the drive through the desert, this makes 2h45m, i.e. about 3 hours. Thus you would have to leave the camp shortly after 08.00 a.m, I personally always add an extra hour for unexpected delays, thus I would leave around 07.00. That should be ample time to catch your flight. If you happen to arrive in Muscat much earlier you could easily spend an hour at the Amouage factory store and buy some last minutes gifts. It is almost on the way to the airport.

The camps have showers, therefore, yes I think it is douable.

Stores in the city center and museums are closed on Fridays, but I believe that the souq opens again late afternoon. The souq is an absolute must-do while in Muscat, it is one of the nicest places I have ever been to - and I have travelled quite a bit. Supermarkets such as Lulu's are also open on Friday, however I don't know whether all day long or only in the evening.

We also only had a Friday and Saturday in Muscat, so what we did is spending Friday morning at Al Bandar Rowa Marina and booked a dolphin and snorkeling tour which was just amazing, especially snorkeling was great (better than what we had seen in Thailand in spring). On Saturday morning between 8 and 11 hrs. will be your only opportunity to visit the Grand Mosque (unless you are Muslim), which is aboslutely worth a visit. It is a beautiful building and the guide (I am not even sure he was an official guide, but an old man stood in one corner and gave detailed explanations to visitors) there was very knowledgeable and friendly. If you have time, drive down the coast towards Sur and stop at Wadi Shab and take a walk there. It is beautiful and you can swim in the pools. Nizwa would also be worth a stop, the old fort is really interesting and gives you a good view of the surrounding area.

Bromley Kent
Level Contributor
838 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Desert Camp before night before long haul flight!???

Hello

This is really helpful. - Thank you

Fraugast - your read my mind - I have just emailed EuroDivers and was checking TA to see if there are any direct contact nos! How long is the dolphin/ snorkelling trip? -If this is just a morning then we can possibly catch the city sights in the afternoon.

Looking at the "to do" list I have 5 main items

- city sights - Mosque , Souk , Corniche, Opera House

- Desert Camp / Wahiba Sands

- Wadi Shab or poss Wadi nr Al Wasil

- Snorkeling/ Dolphin Trip

- Nizwa.

Sadly I think that Nizwa will have to wait till next time!

I have got "rooms" held for a night at a desert camp for both Fri and Sun!!

Looking at the map - is it possible to take in the Wadi on way to or from Desert Camp

Possible itinerary........

Fri - Drive to Desert Camp (via Wadi Bani Khalid) for 3pm .

Sat - Depart Camp - return to Muscat - via coast road? Eve in city/ souk

Sun - Mosque - followed by Dolphin trip in pm

Mon - Depart for 2pm (updated!) flight - leave city 11am?

Does this sound sensible ?

At least this option places us in the city for easy departure to MIA.

Thanks again for your input!

Cheers

Germany
Level Contributor
259 posts
156 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Desert Camp before night before long haul flight!???

Fri - Drive to Desert Camp (via Wadi Bani Khalid) for 3pm .

Sat - Depart Camp - return to Muscat - via coast road? Eve in city/ souk

Sun - Mosque - followed by Dolphin trip in pm

Mon - Depart for 2pm (updated!) flight - leave city 11am?

Is Friday early morning the day you arrive? Are you planning to drive down from Muscat right after your arrival without going to a hotel first? Sounds pretty stressful to me.

Anyway, no need to arrive early at the Desert Camp. It will be too hot to do anything but staying in the shade. Thus you will have plenty of time to do a Wadi, either Wadi Shab or Wadi Khalid. If you went down the coastal Highway you could drive up via Nizwa on your way back and take a short look at the town. There is a giant parking lot right in the city center and the walk to the old fort will take only 5 to 10 minutes from there.

I would suggest that you do the dolphin trip on Monday morning, visit the souq on Monday evening and do the mosque on Tuesday morning before or on your way to the airport. The visit does not take very long, an hour is more than enough and since the mosque is open from 8 to 11 that will fit with your departure time. The mosque is not far from the airport.

Bromley Kent
Level Contributor
838 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Desert Camp before night before long haul flight!???

Hello

We arrive at MIA at 0010 on Friday Morning after flight from BKK . Hopefully we will get some rest on the flight.

We will need to check into a hotel for the rest of Friday night - it does seem a shame to spend 150 GBP on 2 rooms (for 5) for only 6 or 7 hours in the room - although not sure that we have any alternative!

Did you mean Sunday morning for the Dolphin trip? and Mosque Monday - I hope so as we go on Monday!!

I am a little worried as there is a lot of rushing around - I do wonder whether I am trying to do too much and whether it wouldn't be better to have more time to enjoy hotel / pool - visit beach - check out port - rather than trying to structure every last minute!

I know that alot depends on personal pref - but if we were to think about dropping a day - would you skip the night in the desert camp or dolphin trip. We could then perhaps do Wadi in a day trip??...... but then again this may be the only time we get to Oman- we can relax and chill at home - no pool but hey!!

Germany
Level Contributor
259 posts
156 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Desert Camp before night before long haul flight!???

Sorry, I mixed up the days. Yes it is Sunday for the dolphin tour and Monday the mosque. Actually, if you think it will be your only time ever in Oman I would squeeze in as much as possible. The beach in Oman is not that particularly nice, I am sure you will have other opportunities to enjoy a nice beach.

If I were you, I would take a cheap (if there is anything like that in Oman) hotel near the airport (have you checked Eastin Residences in Seeb, they have two bedroom suites at reasonable rates?) and rest a few hours, then get on the road around 9.00 (Friday). Drive down the coastal road and make a stop at Wadi Shab. I would think you will spend around 3 hours there, if you are fit enough to do the walk into the Wadi. Then go from there on to Sur and turn west to Al Kamil and Al Wasil, arrive at camp during late afternoon. The next morning (Saturday) it will be a short drive to Nizwa, make a stop, and from there on to Muscat. Arrive Muscat some time in the afternoon, check into hotel and relax. On Sunday take the dolphin/snorkeling tour in the morning, have lunch at the marina, go back to hotel, relax, spent late afternoon in souq (2 hours) and look for a nice restaurant for dinner, perhaps near opera house. Monday morning check out of hotel, go to Grand Mosque and then on to airport, fly home.

It might be a bit stressful, but I assume that you had a relaxing vacation in Thailand and you are well-rested.

If you want to give something a pass, I would rather drop the Wadi. It is not that spectacular. Then you could drive straight down to the camp and just relax in the camp. Or spend more time in Nizwa on your way down to the camp and drive back on the coastal highway, which would make sense if you stay at a hotel near the marina.

Edited: 4:50 pm, February 26, 2014
Bromley Kent
Level Contributor
838 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Desert Camp before night before long haul flight!???

Hi Fraugast

This is great and really gives us something to use as a sensible working itinerary for our trip.

The big advantage of this is that we are back in Muscat for Departure on Monday. I am not so worried about the comfort factor - more the unknown elements of making a long (ish) trip in an unknown area to be back for a fixed deadline!

I have seen that you used Euro Divers - I think that it was your post that got me onto them - so I guess that you would recommend this trip?

Looking at a Map (from Oman Tourist board in UK) - is Nizwa on way back from camp to Muscat?

Also per map - the most direct road to camp appears to be "23" via Ibra - and past Wadi Bani Khalid. Looking at some reviews it does seem that Wadi Bani Khalid is more accessible and so may be "quicker"??

Looking back at your posts, I see that you were in Khao Lak - we will be arriving in Oman directly from Khao Lak!! - Where did you stay? - and yes - as you say after a (hopefully) relaxing 5 days on the beach. Did you snorkel in KL ?

Thanks again for all the suggestions that yo have made - it really makes a difference and is helpful in planning a "big" trip!