They say: “When in Rome, do what the Romans do…” Since we are living in a gulf country with magnificent sand dunes and our backyard is the beautiful Wahiba Sands, why not spend a day and night like Bedouin people on J’s natal day plus the winter cool weather in January is perfect for the experience. 2 years ago, we celebrated his birthday in Korea with snow and now, we celebrated with golden sands.
Bedouins are an ethnic group of nomadic Arabs who has historically inhabited the deserts. They are also called “desert dwellers”. They often lived in tents and uses camel as their means of transportation in the desert. How interesting it is to experience the Bedouin life even for a night… To fully experience the Bedouin lifestyle, I decided to book a night of stay at Wahiba Bedouin Rustic Camp that promises just that. Once I booked the stay, I got an email from the owner, Mr. Obaid with instructions how to get to the camp and things that we can do during our stay.
Getting to the Camp
We informed Mr Obaid, the owner that we would need a transportation service since a 4WD is needed to drive to the camp. It would cost us 15 OMR for the transportation service to and from the camp.
On the day of J’s birthday after lunch, we drove our SUV to Shell Petrol Station Bidiyah to meet up with Mr. Obaid who brought his 4WD vehicle. He was there a few minutes before us and greeted us when we arrived. He speaks very good English so communicating was very easy. He instructed us that we will follow his vehicle to his other accommodation house, Bidiyah Oasis, where we will park our SUV because it will be difficult to drive it on the desert.
We got a quick tour of the relaxing Bidiyah Oasis, where people can rent for parties and accommodation. Then we transferred all our stuff to Mr. Obaid’s vehicle and headed to the camp. It took around 15 minutes or less and we were already at Wahiba Bedouin Rustic Camp.
We were welcomed into the dining area of the camp with delicious dates, Omani black coffee and tea. There were juices for the kids too. We were greeted with smiles by the staff. Mr. Obaid joined us for some dates and tea. He told us that because of Covid, we are currently the only guests for the night and we have the whole camp for ourselves. He told us before there would be so many guests and tourists staying in camp especially during peak seasons. I could confirm his story because I have a colleague who stayed in Wahiba Bedouin Rustic Camp two years ago during New Year’s Eve. He said the camp was full and his family were the only ones who are staying in Oman, the rest of the guests were tourists mostly from Europe.
Mr. Obaid shared stories of the Bedouin life especially during the old days and it was quite interesting. Once we got our fill of the yummy Omani refreshments, Mr. Obaid instructed his staff to take us to our tent. He told us that they will bring us sleds later for us to use to slide down the sand dunes. He said the dates, coffee and tea are free and available 24/ 7 so we can get anytime. He advised us to explore the sand dunes a little after 4:30 PM or 5:00 PM when the sun is less harsh. His staff carried our stuff to the tent they have prepared for us.
Mr. Obaid gave us one of the best tents in the camp. (Hint: it is Tent 2). It has one King size bed and 4 single beds. It has a nice little sitting area outside for us to hang out. There is one stand fan inside the tent and a little electricity box powered by their generator where the electrical stuff are plugged in & a cable pod to plug in to charge your phone. You can also go to the dining area if you want to have your phones or any electrical devices charged. Bad news, though, there was no phone signal in the area so we couldn’t message our family & friends from the tent, check out social media accounts or play our online games. J wasn’t unable to answer his birthday greeting that day. Oppsie!
We hanged out at sitting area for awhile, waiting for 5:00 PM. The kids were entertained and preoccupied playing with the sand in front of the tent.
Each tent has its own bathroom. It has a good working toilet and shower with sink and proper plumbing. It was surprising clean with toiletries for us. They even provided us towels upon request.
It was time to explore the golden sand dunes. It was just a short walk from the back of the camp. The staff gave us the two sleds but boy, it was heavy. J struggled carrying the two sleds up to the sand dunes.
The sand dunes was breathtaking to behold. They were like caramel soft cones that looks serene and mysterious at the same time.
You need stamina to climb up the top of the sand dunes. We were literally breathless and tachycardic from walking uphill. We have to midway and just enjoy the view from where were are and running our hands through the fine golden grains of sands. The sand felt cool to touch. We even lie down, relaxing in the cool soft texture of the sands. Kids had such a blast running around, exploring, playing with the sand and sliding the slopes.
Naj persisted to reach the top of the sand dunes and was the first one to reach it. We all eventually followed him. It was even more prettier and the breeze was very cool and lovely. We took more photos and J took video which you can check in my Igtv.
The sun was slowing setting and we headed back to the camp. We were informed that dinner will be at 7:30 PM. We stayed for awhile in the tent, dusting off the sands from our body. It was literally everywhere from our scalps to the insides of our pockets. The night wind was getting colder and we have to use our jackets. The tent was surprisingly comfortable warm like there is a nice heater to protect us from the cold night wind.
Our booking comes with dinner and breakfast. Initially, I contacted the owner to exclude the meal package because I was worried that we might not like the food and I was thinking of cutting cost as well. But my colleague who has been to Wahiba Bedouin Rustic Camp, told me that he & his family really enjoyed the food offered in the camp so I decided to inform the owner that we will keep the meal package for our stay. And I am so glad, I did.
Dinner was a feast! It was a lot for a group of five and considering the three are youngsters. There was big cauldron of grilled meat of chicken and mutton. There was big plate of salad, lots of fruits (the kids were nonstop eating the banana), a big plate of fries, a bag of flat bread, five bowl of yellow soup that Naj super love (he even talked the staff for preparing such a delicious meal) and a sauce bowl of hummus.
There were soft drinks for us and juices for the kids. We were so full from our dinner. After thanking the staff for our meal and charging our phones in the dining area, we headed back to our camp. We were informed that they will set up the campfire in front of our tent by 8:30 PM.
By 8:30 PM, a staff came with wood and set up the campfire. The kids and I enjoyed it a lot. We like the warmth of the campfire and we sat there in the steps of the sitting area, staring at the fire. We felt sad that the fire started to diminished and we were hoping to ask for more wood so there will be more fire.
We prepared for sleep and changed to our night clothes. There wasn’t much to do because there will be no electricity by 10:00 PM. By 9:30 PM, we were on our beds to get a shut eye. There were solar panels light the camp after 10:00 PM. It was really cold outside the tent but the tent was surprisingly warm and comfortable.
The Morning After
I woke up at 6:30 AM to watch the sunrise. It was serene sight to witnessed. The kids woke up and we explored the camp before breakfast. There is a public hall where I heard the big group of guests are gathered (pre-covid) and Mr. Obaid would tell the guests of stories of Bedouin life. There would also Omani dancing as well. The guests would join in. Too bad, we weren’t able to experience it.
Breakfast time, we had loads of helping of carbo loads foods which Zeke especially enjoyed. There were biscuits, breads, muffins with date syrup, honey, cheese, butter, boiled eggs and a bowl of beans.
After breakfast, we showered and the water was warm enough for bathing, thanks to the sun. We changed to get ready to a morning of feeding goats & camels and milking goats. The kids were so excited.
We headed at the back of the camp where the goats and camel were kept. Naj was particularly happy to try the morning activity. We got to see baby goats that were 2 weeks old. Naj and J tried their hand at milking goats. I am so proud of our eldest for being adventurous and trying new activities.
The milk that Naj, J and the staff got from mama goat was mixed with a bit of powder milk and placed in a milk bottle. Naj and Fynn fed the baby goats. They loved it so much.
We, then, went to the camel where we fed them too. Their mouth feels so soft and funny brushing into the palm of our hands. I was a bit scared that they would bit us since I do see patients in our hospital being bitten by camels.
When we were done, we fixed our bags and told Mr. Obaid that we wanted to experience came riding. He told us that he doesn’t have any riding camels at day on the camp so he will bring us to a place where we can ride on camels that in near the town.
We placed all our stuff in Mr. Obaid’s vehicle and headed to town. We stopped at a place with few racing camels. He talked to the one in-charge and he was able to allow the one in-charge to give us a ride for 5 rials each. Naj will ride with J while Fynn went with me. The guy have to make the camel sit and we have to climb up, hold the rein really hard and lean back because the came will hurl us forward as it tries to stand up. Then once the came will up, they carried each kid to sit in front of us. Zeke was crying because he wanted to ride too. Mr. Obaid carried him while we were doing our came ride. Zeke just stopped crying.
It was a very short came ride but it was enough experience. We liked it. They took the kids down and we again have to hang on to the reins very tightly as the camels go down.
That was it for our Bedouin experience. We headed to Bidiyah Oasis and got our vehicle. We thanked Mr. Obaid for his wonderful hospitality. One of the best asset of Wahiba Bedouin Rustic Camp is Mr. Obaid himself. He is a very gracious and wonderful host. You can really see that he is passionate to create a great experience for his guests. If you want to experience a little bit of the Bedouin life, book a stay at Wahiba Bedouin Rustic Camp instead of some fancy desert resort. Stay in a tent rather than a room. Enjoy the beauty of the desert but keep yourself hydrated because it will be quite an exercise. Take lots of pictures. Expect that you will be off the grid when you stay there, though. No wifi is available during your stay however, it is worth the experience. When in Oman, go to the desert and try out the Bedouin life even for one night….