Oman may now be on most people's travel radar, but many visitors restrict themselves to the coastline around Muscat in the north. Now, however, the lush city of Salalah - the southern capital - and the 'sand sea' of the Empty Quarter are opening up for exploration. For those looking for something a little different, Original Travel has helped to develop a luxury 4x4 safari with overnight stays at private camps that are set up in advance each night. The safaris start with arrival into Salalah via Muscat (or the UAE). After a lunch of fresh seafood, there's the chance to snorkel over vibrant corals, go boogie-boarding or join a fishing party.
The evening is spent around a campfire on the beach before supper under the stars and overnight in a comfortable tent. The next day can either be spent relaxing at the beach camp, or visiting several sites of historical interest around Salalah. Sounds fun, right? If you'd prefer your Salalah holidays to contain few more creature comforts, the coastline near Salalah is now home to some extremely comfortable five star resorts and some lovely eco-lodges from which to explore. There is also a new eco-lodge deep in the dunes of the Empty Quarter, and we can also arrange glamping in the region made famous by Thesiger's book Arabian Sands, about his travels with the Bedouin inhabitants of the region.
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What are the best ways to discover Salalah and the Empty Quarter?
The first stop is Mirbat Beach, which is found in a deserted cove just along the coast from Salalah. After a lunch of fresh seafood, there's the chance to snorkel over vibrant corals, go boogie-boarding or join a fishing party.
The evening is spent around a campfire on the beach before supper under the stars and overnight in a comfortable tent.
The next day can either be spent relaxing at the beach camp, or visiting several sites of historical interest around Salalah, including Job's tomb, the Mughsayl blow holes, Al Balid (the ruined city once visited by Marco Polo during his travels), Khor Rawri (thought to have been the Queen of Sheba's palace), Mirbat with its traditional merchant houses famed for their intricately carved doors and windows, the fort and mosque at Taqah, and the ruins of the fabled Lost City of Ubar.
Day three takes you into the 'sand sea' of the Empty Quarter where a mobile camp awaits. Spend the late afternoon walking in the dunes, enjoying evening drinks and watching the spectacular sunset. After a delicious three course supper, sleep under canvas surrounded by the silence of the desert.
The next day, explore the unique and exceptionally photogenic desert environment. Ride camels, sandboard down the steep-sided dunes, or just relax and admire the scenery of a place few travellers have ever been.
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