Adventure Time

My first experience desert driving


To round off our visit from Colin’s mother and Son we decided to go on a mini adventure. Well in reality Colin decided that he was taking us on an adventure and we didn’t really have a say in it. If you have met Colin you soon figure out that he is an impulsive kind of guy.

He told us that his plan was to take us out of the city and to find some “proper sand” for nice photos, it soon became clear that his main intention was to try out his new off road car on the sand for the first time. 

Incase you haven’t been to Muscat before, there aren’t any proper sand dunes near the city it is very much all mountains and rocks for miles and miles. The beaches all have nice sand but it isn’t a desert city.

The four of us jumped in Colin’s new Nissan Xterra and drove just over two hours south past Ibra. I’m sure the view along the way was lovely but in my typical style I was grumpy and tired after my exersize class that morning and not really keen for a trip into the desert but Colin assured me that it would be great and he knew where he was going as he had stayed there a few weeks previously.

We arrived at Al Areesh camp in Sharqiya Sands. There are several barasti huts on the side of a sand dune, they are made of palm fronds and are supposed to protect from the intense sun but also provide air and ventilation. Being a germaphobe and kill joy it didn’t look that appealing to me, just a bit still a bit too remote and basic for my liking…

This is Colin’s new Nissan Xterra for off road driving, he has a driving competition coming up soon called something like Wahiba Sands challenge so he needed a more suitable car.

Colin disappears off in search of a guy called Abdullah who is known to be the best driver in the area so he can be our driving guide. It is essential to have an experienced guide with you out in the desert, he told us that he knows every single inch of the area for miles around and I really don’t doubt him.

Whilst Colin is away arranging everything we mess about in the sand and have some fun chasing each other up and down the dunes. 

Nathan even brought his bucket and spade, bless him!

This was my desert attire for the day.. Probably the closest thing I will ever wear to practical clothing.

We met our guide, Abdullah, and hop into the car. We began following him over the sand and towards the first big dune. Karen hopped in with the instructor leaving Colin in his own car and me and Nathan in the back. I sat with Nathan to protect him as I didn’t think he should be alone incase he was scared. We sped up the the top of the dune and the descent back down was pretty extreme – I screamed all the way to the bottom!
Nathan was laughing his head off in both excitement and hilarity at seeing me crying. Maybe I was the one that needed protecting, not him!

I tried to concentrate on taking pictures instead of what was actually happening  The funny thing is that I’ve never been scared of heights or danger sports before but I suddenly developed a hatred for them and screamed for the next 20 minutes solid, much to Colin & Nathan’s delight.

After 20 minutes Nathan decided he was brave enough to jump in with the Abdullah in his car. Now this man knows how to throw a car about in the sand so I am amazed that Nathan wasn’t scared, he was the happiest little boy in the world at that point.

Nathan & his new friend, Abdullah.

Watching Nathan whizz off into the distance onto huge dunes and flying off the other side was scary enough in itself but then I knew we were about to do that too. I was actually terrified!!

Real fear on my face! Karen in the back is loving the adventure!

The view was pretty amazing, when we were stopped… And it was nice to get out the city and see some proper sand dunes. It brought back to reality where we actually are.

We stopped at the top for a family photo…

Karen tells me that my skin had a green tinge to it and I fought with myself to try not to get travel sick and thankfully I managed. The queasiness was not a plus point unfortunately.

Oh and no, I didn’t get a shot to drive…  

I’m pleased to say that the rest of the Duncan’s enjoyed their trip to the desert. Maybe next time I will be a little less scared, I will give it another try just for Colin’s sake. And so he won’t leave me behind every weekend when he goes sand driving!


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  • Reply Marvis Carswell 05/01/2013 at 1:01 AM

    This gives me an idea about having driving lessons for a specific terrain. It’s good that most learn the skills by the greatest teacher – experience. But would it be bad to come to ‘class’ ready? :] Anyway, I think the most practical tip when driving on the desert is to drive slowly. Quicksand might be a small patch on the sand, but it can disturb the car’s stability a great deal.

  • Reply Daisy Isabella 18/03/2013 at 10:15 AM

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