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Oman’s Coolest Desert Getaway: The Sugar Dunes Of Al Khaluf

About 450 kilometres south of Muscat, there’s a picturesque place where the desert meets the sea.

by SALIM AL AFIFI

The mystical land of Al Khaluf has always been one of the most picturesque wonders of Oman, and an absolute favourite of mine when seeking a secluded moment. It offers a tranquil atmosphere encapsulated in a place where the desert meets the sea, literally.

Photography by Geri B. Sonny

Oman has long joined the countries with the most exotic landscapes, that comprise beautiful mountain peaks, expansive deserts, and coastlines, with superb ocean views, but there’s something particularly absorbing about this spot that puts it atop the list. Its unmatched geographical qualities combine two of the most enjoyable activities out there: beaching and desert-camping.

Located in Al Wusta region, about 450 kilometers south of the capital, the Khaluf area is blessed with 50 kilometers of pristine, powder-white beach that overlooks a bed of endless sugar dunes. With an off-road starting point at Al Khaluf fishing village, nestled on the northern end of the beach, visitors can kick start their desert escapade and ride their 4×4 vehicles into the desert.

What makes this place special you ask? It’s an undiscovered gem reserved for the adventurers who enjoy a calm sense of solitude and love to dive into parts unknown and to explore new spots for camping. Given its far-flung location, it’s less frequented by both locals and tourists, making it the perfect getaway.

During my last visit to the place, my friends and I unanimously agreed to camp by the beach; waking up to the crashing sound of the ocean is quite de-stressing. For the three days we stayed here, we religiously barbecued our favourite meats while soaking in the sun, and then we dipped into the azure waters of Al Khaluf beach to splash a good time before hopping into the 4×4 for an adrenaline-pumping session of dune bashing.

Travelling to Al Khaluf village is relatively reachable with smaller all-wheel cars (although many prefer to park their cars at nearby Mahout), but if floating atop the desert sands is the experience you’re going for, then a group of two to three 4WD vehicles is recommended. It’s all fun and games until you get stranded in the desert, alone.

Though camping on a secluded beach and desert may sound somewhat daunting, it is the pinnacle of camping in Oman. As long as caution is taken, the place will take you on an unforgettable ride that will remind you of how beautiful Oman truly is.

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