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5 Tips for a safe desert crossing in Wahiba Sands

Updated: Mar 16, 2019

If you are planning to come in Oman, there’s one thing you absolutely need to do : camping in the desert of Wahiba Sands. You can find many camp sites in the desert and you can also pitch your tent anywhere for wild camping. To make this experience unforgettable, we advise you to make a desert cross from Bidiyah to Indian Ocean.

Itinerary of the desert cross

Before you go, please follow our 5 tips for a safe trip!

1- Equipment

Make sure your car is a 4x4 in a good condition. Please take time to fully check it and ensure that it has a basic first aid kit on board. Shovel and ropes are a must in case of silting. Before crossing, you will need to deflate your tires. You can make it in Shell gas station in Bidiyah.

As soon as you enter in the desert, don’t forget to put your car on 4 wheels.

Don‘t take gas tanks in your car, there is a gas station in the middle of the desert cross in case you need to fill your tank again (take some cash with you, they will not take the credit card).

2- Don’t cross alone

Car alone in the desert

This is the best advice we can provide to you.  The desert is tricky and it’s very easy to get lost. So if you plan crossing, go with at least another car and follow each other. Best thing is having talkies so if you are more than 2 cars you can easily communicate while driving. In the middle of the desert you’ll not be able to find any connection so download an offline map or take a GPS. Don’t let too much distance between the car you follow, especially because of intersections but don’t come too close because it can be dangerous especially when you’ll climb dunes. Keep the right distances just not to lose each other.

3- Make sure you have enough : petrol, water and food

This is the 3 most important things not to forget while you plan a desert trip. You will drive for hours in a dry area and in case you get lost or stuck in the sand, believe me you don’t want to feel starving or thirsty! Make sure you’ve got everything when you start the crossing. In Bidiyah, you’ll find many shops close to Shell petrol station.

Camels stockpile before the cross !

4- Wild camping

Shooting star while camping

You can find many camps in the desert and it’s very easy to join it with your 4x4, you just need to follow the road in the desert or pay for a transfer with your campsite if you don’t want to drive. But if you decide to camp on your own, follow these advices...

If you don’t feel like climbing a dune with your car to find a camp spot, you can park on the side of the road and climb by walk. Don’t stay in the middle of the road for obvious security reasons.

Don’t forget your torch, bring a good sleeping bag and warm clothes (jacket, socks...), nights can be very cold and windy especially between November and March.

If you plan to cook, take wood and coal and something to protect your fire against the wind and please try to avoid plastic, and clean the area before leaving your spot.

Important advice, don’t camp too close from the little bush but prefer open places with sand. In the bush, insects might go out at night and disturb you while you are eating or sleeping and I am sure you don’t want to be woken up by scorpions!

Don’t walk barefoot for long distances especially at night. Better to stay grouped in any case, getting lost is really easy in the desert. (Walk alone only for your private moments !)

Ps: don’t forget to drink !

5- Dune bashing

Car stuck in the sand

Enjoy your ride but don’t take unconsidered risks !

First, make sure that all items in the car are nicely tide up in the trunk because it’s going to rock ! There’s a road in the desert, it’s easy to drive on it but when it comes to real off roading and dune bashing, keep a firm driving. Don’t push too much your engine. When it’s your turn to take the dune, wait for the car in front of you to pass the dune. Let the car climb the other dune or let it be far, otherwise you risk a collision in the hollow of the dune. Follow the leading car, do not overtake the car in front of you and stay on the track. Depending the weight of your car you can feel an engine speed drop, you’ll need to stop and take the low gear. That’s why, when you are going to climb, it’s better to go with the 2nd gear (there’s no absolute rule but definitely do not stay on D if you’re having an auto transmission). When you are in low gear, always start by second gear. When you are on the road, don’t hesitate to take the high gear. If you get stuck in the sand, keep calm, usually being pulled with a strap will work. You can also dig the sand to clear the chassis if needed before being pulled.


With this informations, you are better prepared for your desert cross. If driving in the desert is still stressful for you, you can join us in our trips. We will provide you assistance in case of silting Feel free to contact us for more information about our next trips...

If you have more questions about Wahiba, comment this article and we will answer, it could help other readers of this post !

To finish, if you look for more information about what to do in Oman, you can contact us and we will be happy to design you the best offer depending on your budget and your wishes.

Author : Sarah Abtroun

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