It maybe a clichéd and often repeated shot but there is just something special about an image of a pristine sand dune, rising steeply into the sky and rippled by wind action. These are the sand mountains of Wahiba Sands in Oman.
Making the effort to get up early to witness sunrise was made worthwhile by views similar to this in every direction. The sunrise turned out to be slightly disappointing, it was far from being the most spectacular I have seen.
Seeing sand dunes however was, despite several visits to deserts my first glimpse of these true moutains of sand. These surround the campsite on both sides, rising from the plain to form small hills with isolated tussocks of rough grass. They are ‘designed’ by the wind forming a hard crusty surface on the windward side, often rippled along its length. They have risen to form a sharp ridge line or ‘desert cornice’ before fulling away sharply on the leeward side where the sand is usually soft and difficult to walk through.
The dunes of the Wahiba Sands are surely as beautiful as any, despite the prescence of the nearby camp, they still seem to provide a feeling of isolation. They are minature mountains of windswept sand forming their own ‘ranges’ stretching away into the horizon. Standing at the top of these sand peaks with only the footsteps that were made to get there visible, allows the adventurer to feel they are the first to explore a pristine environment.
Sleeping in the tent of a nomadic people in an iolated spot desert even if it is a permanent one, is one of those ‘romantic’ experiences all travellers seek. The perception of isolation and wilderness combine to fire the imagination and provide a true sense of adventure.
I was accompanied on this epic mini-adventure with several companions and after taking plenty of images we gave sandboarding and tobogganing a try before returning to camp for a well earned breakfast.
More from Oman – Muscat, Oman – Festival of Faces