Camping On A Dhow In Oman
When Mr Y suggested that we go camping on a boat I thought I had finally driven him mad. While I enjoy the odd foray into the great outdoors (provided there are proper toilets nearby), I’m not exactly known for my love of roughing it. However, I had recently dodged another family camping trip in favour of a girls’ brunch so I knew I wasn’t going to escape twice.
I succumbed reluctantly to my fate and off we set for Oman. It was a 2 hour drive to the border crossing which took about 40 minutes to complete. It cost 150 AED to leave Dubai and 250 AED for the 5 of us to enter Oman and you can only pay by credit card. Another hour’s drive along the extraordinary coastline and we arrived at Khasab port whose most notable feature is the Lulu supermarket where we loaded up on extra snacks.
Our group of 20 had exclusive use of a dhow from Dolphin Khasab Tours with all food, soft drinks, towels, snorkeling and camping equipment included. The cost was 575 AED per adult and 250 AED per child. We were lucky enough to have the newest addition to their fleet complete with shower, toilets, carpeted lower and upper decks, and majlis seating. It was lovely!
We set sail and were soon enjoying the spectacular views of the barren but beautiful ‘fjords of Musandam’. Before long we spotted dolphins which swam right up to our boat and followed it through the water. We stopped in a sheltered bay and enjoyed a buffet lunch of chicken, rice and salad. The weather was overcast and windy but a few people braved the chilly water. I was not one of them!
We pitched our tents on the lower deck while we still had daylight and I can not tell you how excited the children were to see them go up. We had brought a double air bed which fit perfectly in to the bottom of ours and it really looked quite cosy. I was later to reconsider that view when the wind howled so hard that I thought we’d blow overboard, and the mattress had deflated to the point where the girls and I ended up as a pile in the middle, but in that deluded moment I thought we might actually get some sleep!
The storm had passed by morning and as we emerged bleary eyed in to the dawn, suddenly all was forgiven. The sky and water were crystal clear and the scenery around us was just stunning. We had a breakfast of fruit, sandwiches and croissants then hit the water! We spent the next few hours swimming, snorkelling, jumping from deck and kayaking. We even saw a couple of rays.
We headed back to Khasab via the incredible bay of dolphins and were back at the dock by 1pm with the munchkins declaring that it was The Best Trip Ever. Now, I’m always going to hold a firm belief that sleep should happen in a bed but once in a while, for a weekend as magical as this, even I will admit that camping is worth the discomfort. Although just to be clear, the absence of flushing toilets is still a deal breaker!