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Hi everyone, I'm looking for a second hand car but I'm kinda lost when it comes to which one to go for. I've been considering Wrangler, Land Cruiser, FJ Cruiser, Montero Sport... Definitely a 4x4 or SUV as I camp a lot, sleeping in the car (for now I use my friend's Montero Sport). The dilemma is that I have been reading a lot about the best car or 2nd or 3rd best for off-roads, but I'd also need it to go to work (I live in Dubai but work in Ajman...). So... here goes my requirements: - A 7 seater preferably. Or at least a big car that I can manage to put the back seats down and use it to sleep, as I don't always feel safe while camping on my own. - I would need it for off-road driving. I always end up driving in wadis, over big rocks, mountains, gravel, in the desert, etc. I'm also planning a road trip driving around Africa this summer... - As I mentioned above, I'd need to use it to go to work. I can't afford having 2 cars... - Budget is around 40K. Can push it to 50K for the right car. - GCC specs, not too many km... Please, I can change tyres and have basic knowledge of mechanics, and I'm also willing to take more advanced mechanic courses or whatever if needed. So no 'this is not an option for a woman' BS. Thank you in advance Jamy
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 !
I never mentioned sedans- I said "rent a suitable vehicle", which is invariably a diesel truck. Sure, you can do a road trip in Africa with an SUV- provided you don't venture too far (50 -100 km) from major centres. The roads around most major cities are generally in reasonable condition, but anything beyond about 100 km or so from a major city (and considerably less in some cases) becomes an overland expedition to the next major city. If you don't want to do cities, any distance between two points in Africa is an overland expedition, and especially so in central Africa, where nobody has been able to build permanent roads- or railways for that matter. However, large sections of the Trans-African Highway system (the parts of it that run around the edges of the continent, at least) have been paved and/or upgraded during the past ten years or so, but there are no guarantees that any part of the Trans-African Highway system will remain paved from one year to the next. If you ever end up in washed out section of the road system in the dry season, when big trucks have reduced it to series of deep trenches that can be deeper than a meter, and run for tens of kilometers, you will find that the limited suspension articulation of an SUV- any SUV- will leave you crested on these trench tops every few meters. Then again,if you ever end up in a washed out section of the road system in the wet season, you need to be in a group of at least four trucks to get through meter-deep mud traps that can run for tens of kilometers. If you can get past the dozens of big trucks that have been bogged down for months in a track that is barely wide enough to allow two ox-carts to pass each other, that is. In fact, a few years ago I had to abandon one of my expedition grade vehicles in such a mud trap because there was no way to get it out of the mud from behind an 18- wheeler that had sunk into the mud up to the top of it's wheels, and from in front of another 18-wheeler that had followed me into the mud trap before the other vehicles in my expedition could follow me in. For all I know, both trucks and my vehicle are still stuck there. So, no, SUV's without proper 4-wheel drive, low range, winches, lockable diffs, rated recovery points, and at least 28 inches of suspension articulation in Africa are not good idea if you venture away from the big centers.