OMAN: INTO ARABIA'S EMPTY QUARTER

This expedition takes us off roading through the wild side of Oman— trekking deep into the Empty Quarter on the Saudi border and to the lush Dhofar in the southwest. There, we hike, camp, and off-road across this unique ecological corner of Arabia. This expedition dives deep into one of the most remote, sparsely populated places in the world-- the silence and vast emptiness of endless desert.

Dates: Nov 25 - Dec 6, 2019
Maximum Group Size: 10 participants
Ruggedness: Moderate
Meeting Point: Muscat, Oman
Fee: $3190

 
 
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TEAM

 

 
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Nicole Smoot
USA

Nicole comes from Alaska and is a hard core, no bullshit adventure traveller. She ventures to some of the most inaccessible corners of the planet, from Antarctica to Moldova, Pakistan to Oman— including the scouting for this trip. She's a writer and is easily one of the funniest people you'll ever meet. She also hates being anywhere near a selfie-stick. When not travelling, Nicole is based in Anchorage.
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Matt Reichel
Canada

Matt is a co-founder of Inertia Network and experienced expedition leader and documentarian. He's previously lead some of our wildest programs in Socotra, Sumatra, Pakistan, Siberia, Greenland, the Congo and beyond. He's an avid photographer, off-roader, and geopolitics nerd. Matt speaks English, Mandarin Chinese, French and Spanish. He's based in Vancouver, BC.
 
 
 

EXPEDITION

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Get off-road and camp deep in the Empty Quarter for a three-day off-roading trek where few humans have gone before.
  • Explore the green mountains of the Dhofar on the lookout for rare wildlife.
  • Experience the vast silence and emptiness of Arabia's more remote locations with an incredible group of people.
  • Wander the vast beaches and untamed coastline of central Oman.
  • Meet local Bedouins and learn about the people of Oman by staying with them.

 
 
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EXPLORE

 

 

ITINERARY

Day 1. Monday, November 25, 2019. Arrive in Muscat

The group will meet in Muscat, Oman’s capital city, for dinner and orientation at Basim’s house.

Overnight: Hotel.

Day 2. Tuesday, November 26, 2019. Muscat / Fins Beach

We begin our off-roading adventure today, piling into our 4wd SUVs for a drive down the Omani coast to Fins Beach. First, we go for a hike and swim around Wadi Al-Arbiyeen, a blue water pool and waterfall in the mountains. Then we check out the turquoise blue Bimmah Sink Hole before going for a hike and swim at Wadi Shab, where the blue waters of the pools contrast strongly against the rocky canyon. In the late afternoon we reach Fins Beach. There we set up our camp on the white sand beach and have a day of adventure, bonding and swimming in the Arabian Sea.

Overnight: Camping at Fins Beach.

Day 3. Wednesday, November 27, 2019. Fins Beach / Wahiba Sand Dunes

We continue the adventure south, stopping at the costal fishing village of Sur to walk around and meet locals before visiting Bedouin families in the desert around Wahiba. From there, we drive deep into the dunes to find a camping spot, where we’ll set up our camp for the night and enjoy the sunset all together from on top of a dune.

Overnight: Camping at Wahiba Sand Dunes.

Day 4. Thursday, November 28, 2019. Wahiba Sand Dunes / Sugar Dunes

We begin the day by crossing over the Wahiba Sand Dunes in our 4wd vehicles, towards the remote costal fishing village of Al Khaluf. There, we find the Sugar Dunes, a collection of endless bright white sand dunes that meet the sea. We set up our camp on the beach to swim and explore this miraculous place.

Overnight: Camping at Sugar Dunes.

Day 5. Friday, November 29, 2019. Sugar Dunes / Al-Shuwaymiyah Canyon

We continue the drive south, getting closer and closer to the Dhofar. Today, we visit Al-Jazer, a bizarre area with bright pink lakes, and Shalim, where the flat, rocky desert starts to rise into the green mountains of the Dhofar. We’ll reach Al-Shuwaymiyah Canyon in the afternoon, where we can see frankincense trees and lots of camels. We set up our camp for the night in Al-Shuwaymiyah.

Overnight: Camping at Al-Shuwaymiyah Canyon.

Days 6-7. Saturday-Sunday, Nov 30- Dec 1, 2019. Al-Shuwaymiyah / Salalah / Dhofar

Over the next two days, we’ll explore Oman’s Dhofar region. We visit ancient mud castles in Sadah, Mirbat and Taqah, incredible white sand beaches with bright turquoise waters at Al Mughsail and Al Fazayah, as well as explore Sha’t Village in the Khareef— Oman’s lush, almost tropical, green mountains.

Overnight: Hotel in Salalah.

Days 8-11. Monday-Thursday, December 2-5, 2019. The Empty Quarter

The real expedition begins now; you’ve been trained for this moment. From the lush Dhofar, we travel north, off-road, into the deep desert known as Rub' al Khali or the “Empty Quarter”. This remote region is uninhabitable. It exists in the expansive borderlands between Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen and the UAE, and the only visitors are the occasional camel caravans passing through between settlements. We live out in this land of vast emptiness, rolling sands, and silence. On the last night, we’ll return to the coast to spend a night camping on the beach.

Overnight: Camping

Days 12. Friday, December 6, 2019. Depart from Salalah

Departures from Salalah Airport; no scheduled activities.


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EXPECTATIONS

Accommodation

Most nights are spent camping on beaches and in the desert. While in Muscat and Salalah, we stay at local hotels, sharing two people to a room. Home-cooked breakfasts and dinners are prepared by our local team, and we eat at local restaurants when in towns.

People

Basim and our drivers accompany us throughout the trip. Everyone must carry their own daypacks; we have vehicle support for luggage. This is a cultural and topographical expedition-- opportunities for meaningful connection with others are plentiful.

Activities

Prepare for wild camping, swimming, light hiking, beach stays, wandering wadis, ancient towns, and meeting locals. Expect bonding and vulnerability sessions within the group. This program focuses a lot on self-growth through exploration.

 
 
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COST

$3190

 

INCLUDED

  • All camping and hotels (shared).

  • 3 meals per day (exc arrival and departure days).

  • Private and secure transportation during the trip.

  • 4wd SUVs and drivers.

  • Professional expedition leader and guiding team.

  • All entrance fees.

EXCLUDED

  • Round trip international airfare to Muscat and from Salalah.

  • Omani e-visa fee.

  • Travel and medical insurance.

  • Any activities not mentioned in the itinerary.

  • Personal spending.

  • Tips for local guides.