The second leg of our road trip took us into the Musandam peninsula – a small Omani enclave to the north of the UAE looking out of the Straits of Hormuz and across to Iran. Although small, Musandam packs a punch with most of the land covered with a mountain range. The plan was simple, fit in as much as we could in only two days, before setting off back for Muscat.
After crossing the border back into Oman-owned Musandam, the scenery was already breathtaking – high cliffs lined the road along the coast, sometimes with barely enough land to make a road in the first place. In little coves were beaches filled with pristine white sands and turquoise waters. We ended up taking our time to get to Khasab, the main town in the peninsula – it was too stunning to bypass.
Goal of the day was to reach our camping spot before sunset and have a dip in the sea. We camped at Khawr an Najd, about an hour drive from Khasab. An Omani Khawr is akin to a Norwegian fjord, with high mountains diving straight into the sea, leaving nothing but beautiful blues in the waters. The view from the high pass into the Khawr was superb, and we were there late afternoon when the sun caught the yellows and oranges in the rock perfectly revealing a super saturated landscape, inviting us down.
As we approached the top of the pass into the Khawr, a couple of Omani men had their heads buried under the bonnet of their Toyota Hilux. We stopped and after a quick game of charades, we figured out their radiator had run out of water, so we gave them some bottled water to get them going again. This came back to us later on in the evening when the same two men approached us in the dark, handling a huge barracuda they had caught that afternoon after we had helped them. This was their kind offer of thanks for us helping them. Unfortunately, it was a little late and we had already had a few skewers on the BBQ, so we graciously declined the offer, rather than wasting the fish, so hopefully it fed their families that evening.
What seemed an ideal camping idea at first (camp by the beach in glorious hot weather), turned into a very hot and sticky night where temperatures can’t have dropped below 35 degrees! Still, a beautiful spot in cooler weather, I’m sure of it.
The following day we set out on a dhow cruise, hosted by Musandam Sea Adventure. We had a dhow to ourselves after a few other tourists didn’t turn up for the day – so we had the run of the boat during dolphin watching and snorkelling around Telegraph Island amongst the Omani fjords.
After the cruise, we headed back into the mountains to find a higher, cooler camping spot than the previous night! We found one marked in the Off-Road Explorer book on a grassy plateau at about 1400m. It was cool enough for jeans in the evening! Bliss – these are the camping temperatures I like!
Our final day was spent on the 8-hour trip back from Musandam, via the UAE and back down into Muscat. It was a long slog on the road, but a trip I wouldn’t like to have bypassed in favour of flying – not a chance!