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Below a starter list for everyone who wants to explore the joy of camping: * A tent: when buying one, always buy one size bigger as what you need, as a tent that is labeled as 3 person tent will be very very tight and cramped for three adults. Look for a tent with adequate ventilation that can be kept open with a mosquito net during the warmer periods, and closed off during the cold nights. If you only plan to stay one night, then the Decathlon (Quechua) and Coleman Pop-up tents are great. Quick to set up, not too expensive, and will last forever. The Coleman Instant tents with the outer poles (see pic) are very popular and have really good ventilation. https://thedesertdiva.com/2016/01/24/review-coleman-instant-tents/ The poles are telescopic and have a bit of a tendency to get stuck once sand gets into them. Just a thing to look after. You will need to pay specific attention to the tent spikes. Most tents just give you those 8inch tiny metal spikes that only work in soil, not in sand or rocks. It took me some trial and error to found out that i needed: These ones for 80% of the locations i went. They can be hammered in hard sandy areas and work also in some medium softer areas. These ones for very soft areas: They are called beach umbrella anchors, meant to fix your umbrella in the sand. They make very good tent stakes if you want to camp in the dunes. If you want to travel light with a family, you could also get 2 small pop-up tents instead of choosing 1 big family tent. * BBQ: Not an essential item, but makes the camping more fun of course. A small table-top BBQ will do. * Electronics: Headlights, torches, powerbanks, two way radios, table lights, etc... etc... etc... Most people have enough laying around the house. * Gas Stove: One of my favorite things to have handy: A small gas stove where you can boil an egg on, or make yourself a coffee in the early hours. Most work on the small gas cartridge cylinders that you can order via Amazon. (Decathlon did not have them last time, as they need a license to sell gas). * Sleeping bags: The desert can get very very cold in the winters, so some sleeping bags will be needed during those periods. * Air mattress: Many types are available, from the classic air mattresses that require a foot pump or air bed compressor, to the very thin sleeping pads which hardly require any inflation. Depends on your own comfort and experience. I like the classic air beds but I'm a bit fed up with the small punctures and leaks that appears out of nowhere. The sleeping pads look like a better option, but they cost a bit more. You could also buy a bit of HVAC insulation foam, fold it double, and voila, you have a foam mat that you can sleep on ! Utensils: I am not fond of the disposable plates and cups, so we have plastic ones that we can wash and re-use. Folding Chairs and Tables: My first pair of gas-station chairs did not last very long, and later I got better ones at the Park and Shop DIP for 100AED (Director Studio Chair model) You can go all the way to the OZTRAIL 350AED models if your butt requires royal softness. @Rahimdad his reclining chair is probably the pinnacle of camping chairs Recovery gear: As with every person that ventures off-road, you should have a compressor, pressure gauge, deflator, and recovery rope with soft shackles with you, and also a wooden board, floor jack or bottle jack in case you need to replace a tyre. Don’t forget that a recovery rope is NOT a gas station tow rope. Medical Kit: Truly essential, as a small or big accident is never far away. Water: Absolutely ESSENTIAL. Always carry water with you, camping and offroading drains your energy and you will need to top-up your internal fluids regularly. Cooler: You have the 12V powered coolers, but i am not impressed with them. Just go for a slightly bigger one, and pass by the petrol station to chuck it full of ice. Cheap and works great. Clothing: Venturing offroad is fun wearing shorts and slippers, but better go for light breathing hiking pants, and closed shoes, for your own safety. Wear a cap and protect yourself from the harsh elements. Trash bags: make sense.. Duffle bags: Not essential, but i bought a few and i highly recommend them to put your stuff in. They are strong yet light. Compass and Maps: Most people now go for a Smartphone with an Offroad GPS maps. Mobile coverage is weak in some areas so it makes sense to download the area where you camp on your phone. GaiaGPS, MotionX, Google Maps, and many others will work great. Toilet paper / Wet wipes: Extremely useful. No further details to add.... Firewood: Available from petrol stations. Axe: Always handy to cut your firewood if you are not in a protected area. Your Positive Attitude: Most important of all. Camping for multiple days is exhausting, and you will definitely need to recover after your trip. But i love it and it gets us closer to nature. The times that we have shared stories at the bonfire and watched the sky full of stars makes everything allright. WHERE TO BUY ALL THIS STUFF ????? This is like most hobbies something that eats a bit of your budget, so i would recommend buying the essentials and having a look a Dubizzle as there are many expats leaving and selling camping gear for bottom prices. Every now and then you can add something to your collection. Carrefour and Lulu have good basic stuff to start off with, they also sell Coleman which is a well known bang for the buck brand. Decathlon is a shop that specializes in Outdoor activities, so you will feel like being in Wonderland with all the stuff you will find there. Prices are a bit higher than Carrefour, but the quality is better. When you happen to travel to Europe, go to a Decathlon over there as i've seen much lower prices in EU compared with UAE. They have really good tents, clothing, and accessories, and if you take care of them they will last forever. The more high end shops like AdventureHQ and others have fantastic gear. The more frequent you camp, the more you will start to see differences in gear and equipment. Then it's up to you how far your budgets stretches and where your priorities are. One of my friends used a 50dhs tent that worked fine initially, but lacked any ventilation, and the assembly sticks broke after only one camping trip. It went to the garbage that same day.
As i have now visited Oman for the second year in a row, i wanted to start this topic with describing the wadis and places i visited, and my experiences. There are lots of other wadis and things to see and do, but i will just mention the ones i visited and give a brief explanation on what they are about. Once you google the specific areas you will find hundreds of photos and more information. https://www.omantripper.com/ Above mentioned site has really nice information on the topic. The best season to visit Oman is between Mid-October to March as the temperatures become enjoyable. Visting the Musandam protectorate is also nice and I will post a topic on this one later. Trip to Oman preparation * Arrange your visas online in advance. https://evisa.rop.gov.om/. Visa on arrival is not allowed anymore from what i've heard. * Make sure your car insurance has Oman coverage. If not ,you will need to purchase one at the border itself (bit of a hassle). * Do not carry alcohol or other items which you would not be able to travel into UAE/Oman. Drones are not allowed. * Make sure the car is registered under your name and that the driver is part of the travel group. * If driving in convoy, a two way radio is very handy to stay in touch and announce the coffee breaks. * Make sure your car is in proper technical condition. Pass by your mechanic to have all fluids checked before leaving. Check your tyre pressure, and verify if the spare wheel is OK. * Top up the fuel regularly to avoid running empty. There are nowadays more and more petrol stations, but some remote areas will require a long drive to find one. Wadi preparation Visiting a wadi is a fantastic thing to do with family and friends, but you have to come prepared if you want to experience it fully. You will need the following: Cap or hat to protect you from the sun as well as sunscreen Food, snacks and plenty of drinking water. Swimming clothes and towel.. Sturdy footwear with good grips: something that can get wet and you may need to swim with (old sneakers or water shoes from Decathlon will do). Life jackets for the children. Camera and water proof bag: In many places you will need to swim in the pools to go from one place to another. We used the Decathlon waterproof special zip lock bag that you can put around your neck, that holds your phone and car keys. Other items that can get wet can be put in a rucksack. It is recommended to arrive in the early morning (7-8am). The more touristical wadis can get very busy after 10am. Dress respectfully: bikinis and cleavage are not really well accepted. When you enter a wadi and see the first water pool, do not think that this is the end of your destination. A wadi is a stream that can sometimes be kilometres long and involve hiking or driving till the end. Ask around and the locals will gladly show you the sweet spots. Camping preparation If you're planning on camping, be aware of the following: * You can freely camp on the beaches, but many of them have pebbles, so take an air mattress. * Be careful when roaming around the bushes at night. There are snakes and scorpions around. Long pants and closed shoes are recommended. I had a very very close encounter with a viper recently. * Do not camp in the wadis. There is risk of flooding and you will never make it out in time once a storm hits you. * Do not camp near river beds or stagnant water: mosquitos will be having the time of their lives devouring you or attacking you. These are the places we visited on our 2018 and 2019 trip: Wadi Shab Wadi Shab parking area: 22.839733, 59.247116 You can easily park underneath the bridge, and a small boat will carry you across the river where the adventure starts. You can choose between following the walking path, or using the wadi pools to swim from one side to the other. The reward is at the very end where you can swim in a cave. This is a perfect wadi to start with. Its family friendly, not too crazy adventurous, and you can decide for yourself how far you want to go. You do not need a 4x4. Wadi Tiwi and Mibam Village My personal favorite wadi that makes you truly feel you are in another world. You will need a 4x4 to navigate through the very steep and narrow village road. You will be greeted by the local youth that will offer to give you a hand carrying your bags, assist your children, and show you the most beautiful places. We had 3 local boys that really helped us out and were the perfect guides. Once you reach the village, you have to descend along the terraces where you will see banana trees, mango trees, and many others. The biggest reward is at the bottom where you can swim in a huge caved area with lush greeneries and waterfalls. Reaching the bottom is not possible with children. Its a tricky descend and climb where the locals will give you a hand, but in theory this is the kind of thing where you would need some climbing gear and safety ropes. Picture below shows idiot me doing without climbing gear but with help from a guide. Starting point: 22.822144, 59.258530 Bimma Sinkhole 23.036267, 59.071988 This is a sinkhole near the coast, and nearby Wadi Tiwi and Wadi Shab. It's a small circular lake with turquoise waters, approx. 20m deep. If you stick your feet in the water, the little fishies will give you a free foot scrub There is a play park next to it, so the kids can enjoy while you have some snacks. Wadi Al Arbeieen Starting Point: 23.078278, 59.045630 This wadi involves a very nice winding road, where you will need a 4x4 to venture through the water passings and river beds. They are not very deep so a regular SUV or 4x4 will manage. It's about a 20mins drive to the actual parking. The wadi is consisting out of nice water pools where you can take a dip, or you can go for a walk around the area. Wadi Bani Khalid This wadi is very popular among the tourists, so it is recommended to arrive early. It has many beautiful water pools, and the more adventurous people can go a bit further into a bat cave (Muqil Cave). Other things to see and do in Oman: Muscat: Capital of Oman. Visit the souqs or some of the historical buildings or just stay overnight to catch up on some sleep. The beach is also nice. Nizwa: was originally part of the trip, but we left it out because of lack of time. Apparently it is an old historical town, nice to to for a stroll or eat at the local restaurants. Sur: As we visited the Ras Al Jinz Turtle reserve, we stayed into a nearby hotel in Sur. The Sur Plaza Hotel was a welcoming place and the comfort of a real bed and shower is a bliss after the camping activities. Sur is a calm town with some nice forts and watch towers. Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve: Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve محمية راس الجنز Ras al Jinz، Sur, Oman +968 9655 0606 https://goo.gl/maps/asetNTxmVGeDE9FH8 Definitely worth a visit to see the turtles hatching in the sand and going back into the ocean. Beautiful building with hotel and facilities. Nice restaurant with buffet. We went for the evening visit that started at 8:30pm. The most beautiful thing I saw that night was the night sky. The moon was not out and it was pitch black in that area. Reply with your feedback, questions, or information! Let’s share the best spots for this winter season !
Hi Guys, I am planning to to go Hatta Lake for Kayaking Friday 09.03.18 morning. The venue opens at 8am and its 60Dhs per head for unlimited time. I am attaching the route going to the lake. However i plan to take the Route B which crosses a wadi and just drive through it. I have taken the route before through that wadi but half way only. This time i am planning to cross it and connect on the main road going to Hatta lake. If any one is interested can join. Meeting point is the only ENOC station on the E611 at 6am. https://goo.gl/maps/LNCq796fte92 Those interested please sign up on the below callendar link.