Do you like dolphins? And by dolphins, I do not mean SeaWorld sad dolphins. I mean, real, happy, free dolphins, living in groups with their babies and all their fins intact. Yes? Then Oman is for you.
Do you like camping? Small tents, sand in your sleeping bag, the sound of waves to sing you to sleep, fire on the beach, random people to talk to, and a cloudless sky full of stars. Yes? Then Oman is for you.
Do you like Dhows? Those big boats open on all sizes, with tiny bathroom that have no toilet paper, amazing hot arabic tea and coffee, cushions all over the place to seat comfortably, and the open air and sun basking your body with Vitamin C. Yes? Then Oman is for you.
Do you like learning about cultures, people and their country? Meeting with people whose life could not be further away from yours, who have had countless adventures and stories to tell, countless food to make you try, etc. Yes? Then Oman is for you.
Oman is an amazing place to visit. Not only are the people lovely, always smiling and very helpful, but they will teach you very precious lessons about life, so keep your ears open. I had the chance to go to Musandam for a trip on a dhow/camping to see dolphins, and I want to share the experience.
To begin, I must say Musandam has a lot of options. You can decide, like we did, to camp on the beach the first day and then spend the other day of the dhow to visit coves, see dolphins and swin in the clear clear water full of fishes. But you also have the option to stay on the boat at night and sleep in the dhow (some friends have tried it… I hope you aren’t sea-sick ).
The way it works is, you get to Musandam and leave your car by the tourist facility you chose.
They will likely welcome you with tea and a smile. After that, you will be driven to a boat that will get you to a cove where the tents are already all set up. So you only have to get your bags in, and hop in the tent! The fun without the strain, ideal for the holidays. The site had several tents, so we were not the only ones on the beach, which allowed us to make friends over dinner. It also had thick rugs and cushions, ideal to lounge on with a cup of tea with a nice book, enjoying the sun.
The first day is rest day, which means your only job is to put on your swim suit and jump in the warm water for a quick soak, and then spend the rest of the day baking under the sun (don’t forget 50+ suncreen, the sun in Oman is truly hot. Protect yourself). Once the sun is out, pick out your little sweater (it will get a little chilly, if you go during the “winter” months) and wait for the stars to start shining. The dinner will be served hot with a choice of vegetarian food, nans and other Omanian speciality. It will be rudimental, but that’s the pleasure of camping isn’t it?
After dinner, the staff (two people stayed on site with us to make sure everything was going well) will dim the lights and allow everyone to stare at the stars and discuss quietly.The feeling really is quite aerie, and I very much enjoyed it.
The bathroom area was, once again, a little… rudimental to say the least, but keep in mind this is only for a day. Deal with it.
Upon waking up, you will get a little breakfast and will be asked to pack your bags. Late morning will find you on the dhow with your swimsuit on, ready to tackle the coves and eye searching for those dolphins. We spent the day swimming, looking at fins flying underwater by the boat (the dolphins are now used to the dhow, so they often swim alongside us for a while) and at the other dolphins jumping up and down on either side of the boat, drinking tea and eating nans. The water was warm, clear and full of fishes, the dhow was warmed up by the sunlight, and it was fantastic to spend a full 32 hours without any phones, computers of headphones. The break truly feels sensational!
The end of the day creeps up on you without really realizing it, and by the late afternoon you are deposited back to your car, your mind reeling with all you’ve had the chance to see!
A must-do experience!