The Empty Quarter Desert of Oman was one of the last wild frontiers of exploration.
Being so remote and desolate almost no-one except for the bedouin traders who travelled the area were there until the first foreign explorers started venturing there in the late 1940’s onwards. The most famous of these was Wilfred Thesiger, an ex British special forces soldier who spent 5 years living and travelling with the bedouin there.
Wilfred Thesiger might be rolling around in his grave now as these days what used to take forever travelling on a camel can now be done fast in a 4wd. If you have the fantasy image of bedouin riding around on camels those days are long gone. Now they all use 4wd cars to get around, although they still have many camels which they use for milk, meat, and racing.
The Empty Quarter is now accessible to anyone.
The best way to see the region is with an experienced desert guide who will know where to go and will be an expert at desert driving. You can do it by yourself for much cheaper in a rental 4wd but you will have to be very experienced to get the best out of the area.
Entering the desert you will come across bedouin settlements and camel farms. There you can meet and chat with them over a cup of tea or a fresh bowl of camel milk.
Continuing further you enter the desert proper and come across huge sand-dunes which you can drive up. It’s a lot of fun! Getting half-way up by car you can then climb to the top for epic views.
A short video of driving up a sand-dune. Not for those without experience…
You can find perfect peace and solitude in these dunes.
Patterns in the sand. It can be hypnotising as the desert wind blows the sand from the top of the dunes.
At sunset the desert changes colour with the setting sun. This is the best time to be there for photography and to get that feeling of being one with where you are.
Entering this desert wonderland is not only a great escape from the modern world, but will give you a glimpse into the bedouin life and some serious fun riding the sand-dunes.
Most people visiting Oman go to the Wahiba Sands Desert in the north of the country. Having been to both the Empty Quarter and Wahiba I can easily say that the Empty Quarter is more impressive and if you have the time and make the effort to get to the south of Oman where it’s located in the region of Dhofar, you will not be disappointed.
Have an epic desert adventure.