Visit the capital city of Southern Oman’s Dhofar province, Salalah- a tropical coastal town laced with palm trees and banana plantations. This relatively unexplored region boasts a contrasting hot desert climate and an annual ‘Khareef’ monsoon, which sees the landscape transformed into a green oasis between the months of July-September. Located between the Arabian sea and the Dhofar Mountains, this is Oman’s second-largest city. After exploring Salalah’s atmospheric old town we’ll head over to The Empty Quarter – a spellbinding, expansive desert (and home to the world’s largest sand dunes), to experience the breathtaking silence that inhabits this landscape, visiting UNESCO world heritage sights along the way.

 

Sophy Roberts travelled with Hud Hud in this area and wrote about it for the Financial Times, How to Spend It magazine:

 

“I have never been able to find the author again, as if he or she were some figment of my imagination, but I still remember the passage clearly: the writer described, without punctuation, a single moment when everything in the city fell silent, a splinter of a millisecond when the traffic lights paused on red at the exact same moment as every human in the vast metropolis stopped talking, when every television was turned off, when there were no planes in the sky, no clapping in the theatre, no brawling, barking, nothing. The sound of silence, the absence of everything in a brilliantly construed fiction, is something I have listened for often. It was only recently that I encountered it, on a trip to a little-visited desert in Oman.

In a curl of 500 ft-high dunes, their spines filed sharp by the wind, we struck camp. I slept, or tried to sleep. Perhaps it was the high heat from the day before, or the slight fear that comes from feeling so far away from everything one’s familiar with, but when I stepped out of the black, camel-hair tent, the kind used by the Bedouin, I didn’t expect to experience the intensity of feeling that can come from nothing. “Life in western countries is clearly very hectic”, my Bedouin guide, Musallim told me earlier in the evening. “Here your people seem to like the peace and silence of a place where there’s no such thing as a rush.”

 

He had a point. The crackle of the campfire had died; the staff slept elsewhere, behind the wall of sculpted sand. The sky was black and clear, with shooting stars making their journeys through the night, the tiny pin-pricks of light casting a luminescence that felt alien to someone used to a diet of street lamps. I could hear no animals, insects or birds. There was no wind, no candle light, just my seven-year-old’s slow and regular breath as he slept in our bed nearby. In that moment the silence filled me with a visceral sense of freedom and of acute vulnerability.

 

Such is the power of the desert. The desolation puts one on edge, or at least shifts the senses into a state of almost hyper-alertness, with ‘ghost water’, as the bedouin call mirages, one of the better-known examples of this response. Even without the sensorial trickery, the landscapes themselves can be breathtaking.”

After a short flight from Muscat to the historic southern town of Salalah, you will be met by one of our experienced Hud Hud team. We take the road up and through the Qara Mountains, making stops on the way to absorb the beautiful views of the mountains and wadis on our way through the rocky desert.

 

We stop at Wadi Dawkah, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Land of Frankincense”. Wadi Dawkah is a major place where the frankincense tree (boswellia sacra) can be found in large numbers and frankincense is harvested to this day. The incense comes from its gum, and it has been harvested and traded by Omanis for millennia.

 

After a delicious picnic lunch we pass Thumrayt, and make a stop at another site of the Land of Frankincense UNESCO site, the caravan oasis of Shisr, where we visit the remains of what is believed to be the lost city of Ubar.

 

We then turn into an extremely remote and isolated area, where traffic is almost nonexistent. We leave the main track and weave our way through the grandeur of the russet red sand dunes of the Rub al Khali, the Empty Quarter.

Our camp is set deep in the dunes and we arrive in time for you to explore your surroundings and take in the exquisite sunset.

 

Following dinner take a walk among the dunes to marvel at the night sky or relax by the campfire.

 

Take a look at our example itinerary in full:

 

 

Whilst we are happy to organise two-night trips from Salalah to the Empty Quarter, we would suggest to combine this with a couple of nights in a private beach camp on Mirbat Beach or a few nights at the stunning Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, if time permits. Here are a few sample itineraries.

 

For more information, inquiries or to discuss itineraries in further detail please click here to contact us.
OVERVIEW
Visit the capital city of Southern Oman’s Dhofar province, Salalah- a tropical coastal town laced with palm trees and banana plantations. This relatively unexplored region boasts a contrasting hot desert climate and an annual ‘Khareef’ monsoon, which sees the landscape transformed into a green oasis between the months of July-September. Located between the Arabian sea and the Dhofar Mountains, this is Oman’s second-largest city. After exploring Salalah’s atmospheric old town we’ll head over to The Empty Quarter – a spellbinding, expansive desert (and home to the world’s largest sand dunes), to experience the breathtaking silence that inhabits this landscape, visiting UNESCO world heritage sights along the way.

 

Sophy Roberts travelled with Hud Hud in this area and wrote about it for the Financial Times, How to Spend It magazine:

 

“I have never been able to find the author again, as if he or she were some figment of my imagination, but I still remember the passage clearly: the writer described, without punctuation, a single moment when everything in the city fell silent, a splinter of a millisecond when the traffic lights paused on red at the exact same moment as every human in the vast metropolis stopped talking, when every television was turned off, when there were no planes in the sky, no clapping in the theatre, no brawling, barking, nothing. The sound of silence, the absence of everything in a brilliantly construed fiction, is something I have listened for often. It was only recently that I encountered it, on a trip to a little-visited desert in Oman.

In a curl of 500 ft-high dunes, their spines filed sharp by the wind, we struck camp. I slept, or tried to sleep. Perhaps it was the high heat from the day before, or the slight fear that comes from feeling so far away from everything one’s familiar with, but when I stepped out of the black, camel-hair tent, the kind used by the Bedouin, I didn’t expect to experience the intensity of feeling that can come from nothing. “Life in western countries is clearly very hectic”, my Bedouin guide, Musallim told me earlier in the evening. “Here your people seem to like the peace and silence of a place where there’s no such thing as a rush.”

 

He had a point. The crackle of the campfire had died; the staff slept elsewhere, behind the wall of sculpted sand. The sky was black and clear, with shooting stars making their journeys through the night, the tiny pin-pricks of light casting a luminescence that felt alien to someone used to a diet of street lamps. I could hear no animals, insects or birds. There was no wind, no candle light, just my seven-year-old’s slow and regular breath as he slept in our bed nearby. In that moment the silence filled me with a visceral sense of freedom and of acute vulnerability.

 

Such is the power of the desert. The desolation puts one on edge, or at least shifts the senses into a state of almost hyper-alertness, with ‘ghost water’, as the bedouin call mirages, one of the better-known examples of this response. Even without the sensorial trickery, the landscapes themselves can be breathtaking.”

ITINERARY
After a short flight from Muscat to the historic southern town of Salalah, you will be met by one of our experienced Hud Hud team. We take the road up and through the Qara Mountains, making stops on the way to absorb the beautiful views of the mountains and wadis on our way through the rocky desert.

 

We stop at Wadi Dawkah, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Land of Frankincense”. Wadi Dawkah is a major place where the frankincense tree (boswellia sacra) can be found in large numbers and frankincense is harvested to this day. The incense comes from its gum, and it has been harvested and traded by Omanis for millennia.

 

After a delicious picnic lunch we pass Thumrayt, and make a stop at another site of the Land of Frankincense UNESCO site, the caravan oasis of Shisr, where we visit the remains of what is believed to be the lost city of Ubar.

 

We then turn into an extremely remote and isolated area, where traffic is almost nonexistent. We leave the main track and weave our way through the grandeur of the russet red sand dunes of the Rub al Khali, the Empty Quarter.

Our camp is set deep in the dunes and we arrive in time for you to explore your surroundings and take in the exquisite sunset.

 

Following dinner take a walk among the dunes to marvel at the night sky or relax by the campfire.

 

Take a look at our example itinerary in full:

 

 

Whilst we are happy to organise two-night trips from Salalah to the Empty Quarter, we would suggest to combine this with a couple of nights in a private beach camp on Mirbat Beach or a few nights at the stunning Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, if time permits. Here are a few sample itineraries.

 

For more information, inquiries or to discuss itineraries in further detail please click here to contact us.
GALLERY

Hud Hud Travels presents: The Empty Quarter

In a seasonal first, Hud Hud Travels are excited to be offering a 30% reduction on all Empty Quarter bookings during October 2019, with the hope to encourage more visitors and adventure-seekers into Oman’s lesser travelled regions and raise awareness of this large, sandy mecca.

 

Contact us for more information, availability and prices at sales@hudhudtravels.com.