What did I know about Oman? Nothing. Had I been to the Middle East before? Never. Was it safe for a Westerner? Absolutely.
Once I discovered that driving a 4×4 vehicle off-road was not only considered okay in Oman, but often necessary and also regarded as the best way in which to experience a country said to be the jewel of Arabia – I was already on my way.
An exotic land of desert, mountains, canyons, wadis, coast, forts, souks, and mosques – Oman was a place where the adult-traveler-in-search-of-rewarding-cultural-exchange in me experienced the Middle East for the first time while my inner sixteen-year-old-boy-doing-donuts-in-dad’s-car-in-the-snowy-high-school-parking-lot got to go off-roading for two weeks in a Jeep in the Arabian desert and drive as fast as possible through the sand.
Turn off the main road, find the dirt track of your choice and follow it off into the wilds outside Salalah towards an empty beach by the Yemen border. Drive twenty five miles over the colorful dunes of the Sharqiya Sands to spend the night contemplating the stars and sleep in a tent at a desert camp in the land of nomads. Traverse mountain tracks in search of forts, tombs, and ancient village ruins that date back to biblical times. Descend steep winding roads through the canyons to get to one of Oman’s many riverbed wadis to spend the day swimming and hiking in a lush oasis. Get your 4×4 stuck in the sand dune and flag down two friendly local Omanis to help dig you out so you can keep on going.
Exploring Oman by four wheeler was just simply a great adventure.
Next stop: Jordan and Petra