January 22nd 2012: Hatta, UAE – Sohar, Oman

Driven distance on January 22nd 2012: 150km (90 miles)

Driven distance total: 31’750km (19’730 miles)

On todays schedule was once again a border crossing. At the border check point of the Emirates we had to explain to the customs person what he had to do with the Carnet from the car. Sign here and you have to keep the little paper here :-). Then to the first check point at the Oman side. First they asked about insurance paper, which we of course didn’t have. Fortunately there were several insurance offices, where we were able to get an insurance for 3 month for 40$. Then back again to the Checkpoint and to the immigration. Also here in Oman we received easily a 1 month visa directly at the border (50$). This was one of the easiest border crossings we encountered on this trip. Even for our bellies was taken care of. Directly in the immigrations building was a Pizza Hut :-). Relaxed we continued the journey towards the Oman coast into the village of Sohar.


January 23rd 2012: Sohar – Wadi west of Sohar, Oman 

Driven distance on January 23rd 2012: 130km (80 miles)

Driven distance total: 31’880km (19’810 miles)

After lunch we wanted to go directly towards the mountains, but the Indian owner of the Restaurant started to talk to us right after lunch. And once again we “could” answer once more the standard questions from where, how long, where next etc.. etc..J. Shortly after an Omani stopped as well in front of the restaurant. The little Indian waiter tried to explain us, that 5 minutes away from where we were there is a „0-gravity“ road, where the car is supposed to drive by itself (no joke)J. The Omani just grabbed the little Indian guy to show us where this road was. We arrived there and have just seen a relatively flat road, where the Landrover slowly crawled along in neutral gear. Supposedly it should work in both direction, but we realized it too late and continued driving. But there really are brochures for tourists where those „0-gravity“ roads are mentionedJ.

About one hour later we installed our “camp” in one of the many wadis. A wadi is a riverbed, which is here in Oman, depending on the time of the year, dry and has palm trees along the bed.    

January 24th 2012: Wadi west of Sohar – Wadi Ghul, Oman

Driven distance on January 24th 2012: 270km (170 miles)

Driven distance total: 32’150km (19’980 miles)

We continued into the mountains. In Jabrin we made a short stop to visit the castle there. Afterwards we drove to the al hoota cave, in which we actually didn’t go inside, since it didn’t seem to be that great and also the entry fee held us off to enter. Then we drove towards our next destination, the highest mountain in Oman, the Jebel Shams (3075m / 10’090 feet). The mountain is not really famous for it’s peak, but rather for the views into the the wadi Ghul canyon. We crawled up the very steep road mostly in first gear. Since we always like to sit a bit on the sun, we stopped to drive half way up and prepared everything to stay overnight.


January 25th 2012: Wadi Ghul – Al Hoota cave, Oman

Driven distance on January 25th 2012: 90km (60 miles)

Driven distance total: 32’240km (20’030 miles)

Today we had a real nature sightseeing day. After a short drive we could finally see the wadi ghul canyon from the top. The canyon, which is around here also called the Grand Canyon from Arabia, has vertical cliffs with a height of up to 1000m (3280 feet)!

From above, the canyon was nice but not really breathtaking. We were surprised that even upthere in “no mans land” it had some people living there. In the afternoon we drove the 7km (4 miles) long crappy path at the base into the canyon. We really enjoyed the extreme cliffs and walls of the canyon from the bottom. The canyon was really fantastic and spectacular, much better from the bottom then from the top.  


January 26th 2012: Al Hoota cave – Barka, Oman

Driven distance on January 26th 2012: 200km (120 miles)

Driven distance total: 32’440km (20’160 miles)

Today we drove on a road, which is in fact difficult to manage without 4WD. The trip led us across the western Hajar mountains. Up to the highest point of the road it was still paved, but on the other side the crappy dirt tracks went vertically downJ. But it was well worth it. We had great views over the fantastic mountain scenery and deserted villages. Those villages almost looked like oasis in the cliffs, with palm trees and green stepped fields. The track led us as well to the Wadi Bani Awf riverbed, where the little canyon „Snake Gorge“ is. Of course we entered the tiny canyon on foot and there was this Omani group who immediately invited us for picnicking. There was plenty of meat, bread, fruits, cake, coffee etc... and we had a really good, funny time.


January 27th 2012: Barka – Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on January 27th 2012: 80km (50 miles)

Driven distance total: 32’520km (20’210 miles)

Arriving in the Capital Muscat, we looked for a hotel, and once again was the main reason the showerJ. Other then this, we just checked out the small harbor there and visited the Internet.


January 28th 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on January 28th 2012: 80km (50 miles)

Driven distance total: 32’600km (20’260 miles)

Once again we started a try to get our India visa, and this time with success. Strangely they issue here in Muscat (compared to Dubai) 6 months visas without any problems, so we could give them our applications and have to wait now a few days for the visa. In the afternoon we checked out the situation at the kite beach and booked some lessons for the next day! Somewhat outside of the center, we found a good place to camp near the beach.


January 29th 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on January 29th 2012: 50km (30 miles)

Driven distance total: 32’650km (20’290 miles)

In the morning we paid another visit to the shopping mall to get Internet access. In the early afternoon we started our kite surfing project. Maryse doesn’t really need many lessons, since she has some experience from earlier courses. Myself on the other hand, am a real beginner in this sport, so I got my first two lessons. So far for me everything went quite well for the first day, no broken bones and I didn’t drownJ. Unfortunately Maryse couldn’t kite on that day, since first there was no instructor available and afterwards the wind was too weak.

Since our beer reserve is almost at the end, we started the project “buying beer” with the help of a German expat. In Oman it is similar like in the emirates, you can’t just buy beer, so we used the offer from the German guy and visited with him the “aviation club” where he was a member. For dinner we then ordered 10 cans of beer, with the intention of putting 8 of them into the fridge. The waiter brought without any comment 10 beers. When we intended to leave the restaurants with the beers, we realized that all the cans were already slightly opened, great!! Obviously they have to open the cans there, but at least the stupid waiter could have told us. At the beach where we slept, we then enjoyed some of those beersJ.


January 30th 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on January 30th 2012: 130km (80 miles)

Driven distance total: 32’780km (20’370 miles)

One of our bigger problems is the laundry ;-). Since we have less and less clothes and the number of flies around us is growing J, we looked into this matter... After we checked out some laundries we chose the cheapest offer and we let it wash for a whopping 28$... Unfortunately there are no public laundries where we could wash our clothes ourselves…

In a boating shop we finally found a new water pump. Of course the connections weren’t right but we will figure it out somehow:-). Afterwards we drove towards the village of Bandar Jissah, south of Muscat, where there is supposed to be a nice beach. Along the route a journalist from the “Muscat Daily“ stopped us because he wanted to write about our travel:-). Of course we agreed and they took numerous photos and we felt like stars ;-). The report is supposed to appear in the next days :-). At the same time there were two English guys that have seen us a few days ago in the wadi ghul. Since we were quite busy with the “Muscat Daily“ guys, the English guy just passed us a business card and asked to write us... Also he was some kind of reporter / photographer. Somewhat confused from that much attention, we continued the trip:-). Unfortunately we didn’t find the beach and landed further south in a huge resort and kept on going south until the village Yitti, where we spent the afternoon at a artificial place at the sea;-).


January 31st 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on January 31st 2012: 60km (40 miles)

Driven distance total: 32’840km (20’410 miles)

In the afternoon the fun continued with kite surfing. Maryse was finally able to take her refreshing lesson, and I had another 2 beginner lessons. Maryse got it again relatively quickly and also I managed it to ride on the board (uncontrolled J) out in the open sea. 


February 1st 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on February 1st 2012: 50km (30 miles)

Driven distance total: 32’890km (20’440 miles)

Also today we went kiting. Stefan had again some lessons while I spent 3 hours on the water with rental equipment.


February 2nd 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on February 2nd 2012: 90km (60 miles)

Driven distance total: 32’980km (20’490 miles)

And again we tried to kite, but the wind was again too low. Since we intend to kite surf a bit more seriously, we decided after talking back and forth that we buy some equipment. Fortunately we have a huge car where we don’t realize if there is additionally a kite and a board inside ;-). In the evening we chose to take a hotel because of shower reasons J.


February 3rd 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on February 3rd 2012: 70km (40 miles)

Driven distance total: 33’050km (20’540 miles)

Unfortunately we couldn’t kite, since the wind wasn’t strong enough for our kite (9,5m^2). We stayed at the beach anyways to watch the other kite surfer. Also in Muscat there are quite some expats, among them also some that are kiting. We met then Rosella und Simon and got invited for barbeque in the evening. Of course we grabbed the chance of getting beer :-), since the two owned a liquor license. We had a nice and funny evening and got to know some more people who live in Muscat.


February 4th 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on February 4th 2012: 80km (50 miles)

Driven distance total: 33’130km (20’590 miles)

Another day where we went after the obligated shopping mall visit to the beach. For the first time we could check out the kite, but unfortunately only at the beach:-/. But at least we could practice a bit and we were able to check if the material is OK. Again the wind wasn’t strong enough to ride over the sea. In the afternoon we chatted again a bit with all the people there, and Oliver, a Belgium guy just invited us to his house to stay overnight. We could then settle down in a tiny house which is normally for the maidJ! So Oliver and Kathleen, if you read this, thanks again a lot for everything, was really niceJ.


February 5th 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on February 5th 2012: 50km (30 miles)

Driven distance total: 33’180km (20’620 miles)

Actually the forecast for today was a windless day. Around lunch we went anyways to the beach and there, there was a strong wind coming from the sea. Immediately we pumped up our kite and Stefan first dared to get into the wild sea. He didn’t do too bad and was riding a bit forth and back :-). Since it is for us beginner not too easy to put on the board in the first place with this wind, it can happen that the kite smashes down on the beach. When Stefan came out of the water, we’ve seen that the kite was ripped! This is nothing unusual according to the people from the kite school, and they gave us an address from a upholstery with experience in fixing kites. And once again we drove for half an hour across the city and another half hour to find the shop.


February 6th 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on February 6th 2012: 160km (100 miles)

Driven distance total: 33’340km (20’720 miles)

First we went to the airport to extend our visa. 4 weeks Oman could be a bit short, since we are by now an incredible 10 days in MuscatJ. In a good mood we went just afterwards to the kite sewing Indian guy and picket up the repaired kite with the hope of going kite surfing in the afternoon. Well well, then later on when we checked the kite, we figured out that the kite was sewed twice beforeL. Quite Disappointed we were, because we asked multiple times the guys from the kite school if the kite was really in good shape, then always heard a „yes, in absolutely very good condition“. Additionally we realized that there was another small rip in the kite, so we could just run back to the “kite doctor” at the other end of the city. In the evening we went to the Muscat-festival, where we could see traditional life from Oman.


February 7th 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on February 7th 2012: 30km (20 miles)

Driven distance total: 33’370km (20’740 miles)

The next morning we could pick up the kite like agreed. We really hope now, that this was the last repair on our kite - inshallah :-). Since the car had a small crack in the windshield, we had to go to the „Doctor Glass“ (This is the real name of the shop :-)). The owner of the shop was Iraqi guy who knew what he was doing. One hour later the crack was gone and we went back to our sleeping place at Cathleen und Oliver. Normally we wanted to continue the journey towards south, but since Stefan has some trouble with his stomach we stay another day in Muscat.


February 8th 2012: Muscat – Al Seyfah, Oman

Driven distance on February 8th 2012: 70km (40 miles)

Driven distance total: 33’440km (20’780 miles)

Finally finally leaving MuscatJ! The short trip led us south along the spectacular coast to the village Al Seyfah. We stayed outside of the village and enjoyed the peace after the city life.


February 9th 2012: Al Seyfah – Qurayyat, Oman

Driven distance on February 9th 2012: 120km (70 miles)

Driven distance total: 33’560km (20’850 miles)

From the coast away, we drove through the Wadi Luluh back to the highway. Since we (and of course Landy :-)) don’t like to drive on highways, we just headed after a few miles back off-road into the Wadi Milas, which ended in our destination Qurayyat. This Wadi was slightly more interesting to drive, since it had some smaller creek crossings :-). The trip continued through the riverbed along steep narrow cliffs. Both Wadis were not that spectacular, but still beautiful to see the landscape. Just arrived in Qurayyat, an Omani guy called Hamed catched us on the road, spent us lunch and showed us a nice place on the beach, where we stayed for the night. In the evening Hamed paid another visit and invited himself for dinner at our place :-). Since the Omanis usually eat with their hands, it was quite funny to see our friend eating spaghettis with a fork and spoon :-). Directly behind our beach was also a group of Flamingos.


February 10th 2012: Qurayyat – Wadi As Suwayh, Oman

Driven distance on February 10th 2012: 70km (40 miles)

Driven distance total: 33’630km (20’900 miles)

Around 9:30AM the Omani guy from yesterday arrived again. Together we first drove to his house where we were offered Omani coffee, fruits and of course the famous Omani dates. At his house we simply went into the “meeting room” where the Omani men sit together and discuss. Obviously there is in every house such a “meeting room” for this purpose. He brought us to the Wadi (riverbed) Dayqah where we said goodbye. Continuing on a shaky track, along mushroom shaped little cliffs, we slowly crawled into the hills until Wadi As Suwayh. With the fantastic big pools along the riverbed it is one of the most beautiful Wadis we have seen so far! Of course the cold beer couldn’t be missed after the great refreshing dip in the big pool at this great locationJ. Just when we were enjoying the beer in our half broken camping chairs, a local younger man came and was sitting to us. He just pointed at our cans and said „Beer“?? „Beer“??. Since it is halfway illegal to consume alcohol in Oman, we weren’t quite sure what he wanted. But shortly after we understood that he also wanted a beer, which he swallowed quickly down with a lot of joy and happinessJJ.  


February 11th 2012: Wadi As Suwayh – Qurayyat, Oman

Driven distance on February 11th 2012: 80km (50 miles)

Driven distance total: 33’710km (20’950 miles)

Our friend from yesterday evening brought us today somewhat further into the Wadi on foot. Also here we could find the nice little pools in the river bed, and of course we enjoyed a short dip in the cold water. Towards the evening we continued the trip back to the coast. In the small village of Dibab we planned to refill our food stock, but we couldn’t find any store, so we went back to Qurayyat and spent the night there.


February 12th 2012: Qurayyat – White beach, Oman

Driven distance on February 12th 2012: 70km (40 miles)

Driven distance total: 33’780km (20’990 miles)

Continuing direction south, between Qurayyat and the „White beach“, we made a short stop at the „Sink hole“. The strongly turquoise blue big pool in the cliff has until today unknown depth and is quite something. Arrived at the white beach we were first somewhat disappointed. First the beach wasn’t that beautiful as we expected, and second of all were on each side of the lagoon a small tent village of other tourists. Therefor we crawled with the car onto the cliffs and had it really nice, with a good view of the lagoon.


February 13th 2012: White beach, Oman

Driven distance on February 13th 2012: 0km (0 miles)

Driven distance total: 33’780km (20’990 miles)

Since Maryse doesn’t feel like moving too much because she has a abscess since a few days, we stayed at the white beach and used the spare time to clean up Landy J.


February 14th 2012: White beach – Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on February 14th 2012: 230km (140 miles)

Driven distance total: 34’010km (21’130 miles)

Now it was time to head back to Muscat to go to a hospital with Maryse. The whole thing with the abscess and the hospital doesn’t seem to be as simple as we thought. Either they couldn’t or wouldn’t help Maryse, or it was a government hospital which didn’t accept bums like usJ. At hospital number 4 they finally accepted us. The whole thing appeared to be much worse and more urgent then we thought. The doctor talked about checks even after 6 weeks etc..!! We then found a cheap flight to Switzerland and around midnight Maryse flew back home. Landy and me went late night back to the maid’s house of Oliver and Katlijn.  


February 15th to 19th 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on February 15th to 19th 2012: 180km (110 miles)

Driven distance total: 34’190km (21’240 miles)

On those days I didn’t do much more then hanging on the beach, writing e-mails and doing shopping. And besides this also the Landrover needed some “modification” that the kite board can be stored away properlyJ. Unfortunately I couldn’t go kiting, since the wind was not strong enough.


February 20th 2012: Muscat – White beach, Oman

Driven distance on February 20th 2012: 160km (100 miles)

Driven distance total: 34’350km (21’340 miles)

I continued alone towards some more Wadi (Riverbeds), since Maryse has to stay a bit longer in Switzerland. Since the white beach is very near of two beautiful Wadis I stayed there for the night. Now it’s again sleeping in the car after some nights at the “Oliver und Katlijn hotel” J


February 21st 2012: White beach – Sur, Oman

Driven distance on February 21st 2012: 150km (90 miles)

Driven distance total: 34’500km (21’440 miles)

After a great breakfast at the beach, the Wadi shab was waiting for me. The quite touristic Wadi was definitely worth visiting. After a 40-minute hike along nice pools in the creek, I arrived at the point where it was better to leave the bag with the camera. For the final 10 minutes it was necessary to continue in a swimsuit. After some walking and swimming through the pools I arrived at the last obstacle. Now some short diving was necessary and all of a sudden there was a small cave with a small waterfall inside. Really fantastic. Anyways I wasn’t bored, since there were many tourists that talked to each otherJ. Continuing to the little town of Sur, where I planned to spend the night. Since I didn’t really like the place I just went on. Somewhat outside of town, I stopped to take some pictures and recognized a little house that seemed definitely uninhabited. Since the wind was quite strong, I parked very close to the wall of that house, to be protected from the wind. Otherwise it is critical for the tent walls when the roof is open!!

Just arranged, 2 cars were coming and shortly after some other cars! Well well, the little house wasn’t inhabited, it was a small, almost not recognizable mosqueJ. Finally I spent the next 2 hours with 8 young Omani man who brought me coffee, tea and food! Now I have 2 pounds of Omani dates in the fridge, yoo-hoo;). It was a really nice gathering and also interesting to talk to the guys. That I didn’t have to sleep alone in the wilderness, 2 guys were sleeping in the mosque as my bodyguardsJ.. 


February 22nd 2012: Sur – Ras al Jinz, Oman

Driven distance on February 22nd 2012: 70km (40 miles)

Driven distance total: 34’570km (21’480 miles)

First I went to the famous lagoon Ras al hadd, where it is as well possible to kite surf. My imagination of the beautiful lagoon with the nice beach didn’t really match up with the reality.. It seems to be made for kiting, but it really isn’t that nice! Since it is somewhat difficult to kite surf alone, and since I didn’t like the whole thing anyways, I just continued to the coastal place Ras al Jinz. The main attraction here are the turtles who come here by night to lay their eggs. On the other hand, the wonderful beach and the fantastic cliff formations are also really something special.

Since the guided tour at 9PM is already booked, I have to be ready early for the 4AM tourL! But I don’t have to work the next day, so I can catch up with my sleep later on J


February 23rd 2012: Ras al Jinz – Masirah island, Oman

Driven distance on February 23rd 2012: 280km (170 miles)

Driven distance total: 34’850km (21’650 miles)

Unfortunately one of the tour guides came around 4:30AM and explained to everyone that there were no turtles on the beach! So I slept one more time a few hours. The trip then led slowly towards south. Around 3PM I got on the ferry to get to the island of Masirah. Since I finally arrived around 5:30PM, I just looked for a place to sleep and I cooked something good to eat.


February 24th 2012: Masirah island, Oman

Driven distance on February 24th 2012: 200km (120 miles)

Driven distance total: 35’050km (21’780 miles)

Now it was time to check out the 60km (40 miles) long island. It is worth a trip but still not as breathtaking as mentioned in some of the books J. Around 10AM I arrived at the southern most and also on the most beautiful spot of the island, but I had my peace only for 5 minutes ;). Some young local guys came to me and invited me to their hut close by. At 11AM they insisted that I had to eat with them some special lunch. The lunch was baby shark and other fish. The food was really yummyJ! After some card playing and chatting together we all left around 2PM.

Some 3 hours later I was done with exploring the island and camped somewhere on the beach, until a Landcruiser stopped besides me and an Omani guy said full of joy „hello, do you remember me?“ It was the tour guide Kalid, who we met 4 weeks before somewhere in the mountains J. He explained to me that a few miles further down is a small group of Austrians and that I should drive back and stay overnight with all of them, that’s what I did afterwards. The evening with the funny and nice troupe on the fire was really good.


February 25th 2012: Masirah island – Wahiba desert, Oman

Driven distance on February 25th 2012: 110km (70 miles)

Driven distance total: 35’160km (21’850 miles)

In the morning Khalid told me to go across the desert with them. Since it is actually a bit critical to cross the desert alone without experience, I was happy to accept the offerJ. In the early afternoon we just crossed somewhere into the desert. But first we had to reduce the pressure in the tires, to even be able to drive in the dunes. There were only 1.3 Bar (19 psi) left. After the first 5 minutes one of the Toyotas got stuck in the sand and I also had to wait. The Landrover got stuck, when I wanted to continue. Khalid came back and reduced the pressure of the tires to unbelievable 0.8 Bar (11 psi)! With quite flat tires the car then actually crawled without big problems out of the soft sand J! In the middle of the dunes we installed the camp and Khalid prepared a delicious fish for dinner!


February 26th 2012: Wahiba desert – Wadi Bani Khalid, Oman

Driven distance on February 26th 2012: 200km (120 miles)

Driven distance total: 35’360km (21’970 miles)

About 4 hours we drove across the desert. It was fun to drive in the desert, although quite exhausting since I needed to be concentrated the whole time! The trip was definitely worth it! After lunch I said good bye to the really nice Austrian group!

In the later afternoon I ended up in another Wadi, in the Wadi bani Khalid. At the parking lot I met immediately a family from Switzerland/Germany, who also camped on the parking lot. Together we had a nice evening there. 


February 27th 2012: Wadi Bani Khalid – Ras al Jinz, Oman

Driven distance on February 26th 2012: 200km (120 miles)

Driven distance total: 35’560km (22’100 miles)

Compared to the other Wadis, had this one here quite an infrastructure, a small restaurant, toilets and walking trails. Since we stayed there overnight, we were the first once there and could really enjoy the valley! It had wonderful pools in the riverbed, where it was possible to take a relaxing bath. When I left in the afternoon, the parking lot was completely full and everywhere were tourists crumbling around. The Wadi Bani Khalid seems to be “must see” destination for all the tour guides.

Well, now it was time to try another time to try to see turtles, so back to Ras Al Jinz. And once again was the 9PM tour booked and I have to get up at 4AM the next morning:-).


February 28th 2012: Ras al Jinz – White beach, Oman

Driven distance on February 28th 2012: 120km (70 miles)

Driven distance total: 35’680km (22’170 miles)

This time it was at least worth it to get up at 4AM. At 4:30 we started to walk to the beach and it had an incredible amount of turtles, it had one;-).

Since it was getting bright, we were able to see how the turtle got back into the sea. As well we have seen some baby-turtles, which were also on the way to the sea:-).

The entire afternoon I spent then once again at the white beach.


February 29th 2012: White beach – Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on February 29th 2012: 170km (110 miles)

Driven distance total: 35’850km (22’280 miles)

Once again I arrived in Muscat, were I spent the rest of the day at Olivers and Katlijns place.


March 1st 2012: Muscat, Oman

Driven distance on March 1st 2012: 60km (40 miles)

Driven distance total: 35’910km (22’310 miles)


Some shopping and Internet was more or less everything on that day..