London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Desert safari with kids? Glamping with temperatures soaring over to 36 degrees Celsius on the day ? In the middle of the shifting sands and dunes where there’s little escape or distractions? Questions I’ve been asked on a number of occasions lately. And it’s a yes to all, and moreover – what a magic stay we had with Arabian Oryx Camp, a gorgeous Desert Camp Oman Wahiba Sands!
We arrived at sunset after a 30minutes off-road drive from Al Wasil and another 2.5 hours from Shangri-La Al Bar.
The 5 years old and I jumped with excitement at our fist attempt to climb the tall dunes by the Camp – warm, velvety and inviting – we felt in love instantly.
My other half and the 2 years old explored the cute playground standing surreally by the beautiful sunset red light bathed sands.
Once sunset concluded, night started to fall in and we managed to resume the initial excitement, we headed to the Reception area of this beautiful Desert Camp Oman Wahiba Sands and we’ve been all greeted warmly with dates and water, thereafter to be promptly installed into a spacious Arabian villa.
2 beds and a living, filled with Bedu and Arabian charm and features, whilst practical and contemporary.
The boys checked the treasure boxes and jumped for joy in the generous beds, played hide and seek in the generous space and settled for the travertine porch and outside sitting area to stargaze.
The dinners at Arabian Oryx Camp take place between 7-9pm and were quite a feast with lots of Omani dishes, plenty of salads, vegetables and grilled meats, freshly baked pitta and few sweet options.
It’s casual, social and filled with joy. Once dinned and refreshed, one has the option to sit by the campfire and roast marshmallows (our 5 years old was very keen so we sourced them on the road); sit by the beautiful open area under the wide skies (Manama) and chat to fellow travellers or even check messages (wifi is working in the public areas).
Later in the evening there’s also the live music over more tea, coffee and dates at the Majlis. Both Manama and Majlis (place of sitting in Arabic) are adorned with Persian carpets and pillows and transport you into Arabian fairy-tale magic.
And tales aside, our kids loved socialising with other children (and there were plenty on both evenings), danced on the bedu rhythms, ran around some more and cuddled extensively the baby-cat adopted by the Camp.
And once social gatherings are over for the desert safari with kids or without, one gets to return to the magic silence and the vastness of the desert.
Red sands at sunset and golden pale at sunrise, the dunes keep on changing their Dali-esque shades and shapes. We found them completely unapproachable between 10am -3:45pm when temperatures soar above 36degrees and one easily could feel about to be melting.
These were the perfect daytimes times to head to the Wadis and Bani Khalid is just over an hour drive from Arabian Oryx Camp, with its unexpected lush greens, palm trees and blue crystal pools desert dream like.
It has been our favourite Wadi on this trip with the kids – easily accessible from the parking, manicured and clean, relatively easy to swim in the natural blue pools kids included.
The swim is simply exhilarating, between the canyons and caves into the crystal blue waters.
There’s lunch on the site including delicious barbecued meats and vegetables where we even bumped into London friends who took the desert trip and wadi as a day trip from Muscat!
3pm is a great time to head back for dates at Arabian Oryx Desert Camp Oman Wahiba Sands before climbing the dunes waiting for sunset, dune bashing or the old fashioned camel ride.
Sunset in October in the Desert Camp Oman Wahiba Sands takes place shortly after 5:30, with moon and stars beginning to rise 6pm onwards. One gets to play the Little Prince over warm dunes, talk about efemerity and flowers, being special for someone and build meanings over time, stars and moon or simply embrace the therapeutical nothingness.
There’s climbing, sliding, boarding, running, sinking in the velvety red sands, warm at sunset and fresh at sunrise. The camel riding for us at sunset was such a treat, it gives a wonderful perspective from a higher observation point especially for a 5 years old.
Our toddler has been deemed too unpredictable and loud to go for the ride though, so ended up with a well determined father up on the top of the dunes.
We could have easily spent another day at the Arabian Oryx Camp and embrace these lands, but then Alila and Omani mountains were calling. For our Oman self driven roadrip/ itinerary, head here; for Shangri La Muscat head here; and for Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve head here.
Thank you so much Arabian Oryx for the warm hospitality and golden memories. A piece of your surreally beautiful and harsh lands remain in our hearts and haunt our dreams. We will be back!
Disclosure: Arabian Oryx Camp hosted us for 1 night and we extended the 2nd on a media rate. All enthusiastic opinions about and kids in this post entirely ours – as usual! Thank you also Starlite for making stargazing so much easier and fun, can not recommend enough downloading the app!