Spending the night in the Wahiba Sands desert is one of the highlights of anyone visiting Oman. You might dream of visiting a desert once in a lifetime: seeing the camels, looking over the golden sand, and even venturing sand boarding among the dunes, but fear what you will find when you get there. Do they have a bathroom? What about wi-fi? And air conditioning? With that in mind, I’ve decided to write a FAQ about the Desert Nights Camp hotel: here you will find some answers to the most common questions about staying and spending a night sleeping in the Wahiba Sands desert, in Oman.
What do the accommodations look like in a desert hotel?
Many are skeptical when they think of spending a night in the Wahiba Sands desert, not only because Oman is not yet a widely visited country, but also because of the concern with the accommodations in this type of location. Despite being more or less in the middle of nowhere, the rooms at Desert Nights Camp are very comfortable – the 39 tents have hot water, air conditioning, a very comfortable living room, king-size bed, and a shower – better than what we sometimes find in big city hotels.
And what about the rates? Are they expensive?
The Desert Nights Camp daily rate starts at US$ 300 and includes breakfast and dinner. The value also includes camel rides and afternoon tea during sunset on the dunes near the hotel overlooking the desert.
Do they have electricity and hot water? Is air conditioning available?
Yes, all rooms are equipped with a hot water shower and air conditioning. What the tents do not offer are televisions, but then again, who wants to watch tv when some of the best natural landscapes are available just a few steps away?
Is there cellphone and wi-fi signal?
There is no cellphone signal in the Wahiba Sands desert, but Desert Nights Camp offers wi-fi in common areas for all guests. Personally, I do not see this as a problem, as this disconnection brings a deeper and more intense connection with the desert. And if you need to send an email or message to your family, you just need to go to the common area and send it from there.
How do meals work?
If you are concerned about food, the hotel’s restaurant serves dishes from Oman and international cuisine in the main building. Breakfast and dinner – both included in the rate – are served buffet style (or were, before COVID-19). For lunch, you can order one of the à la carte dishes available on the menu, with options of Arabic dishes, salads, juices, etc. In addition, afternoon coffee is served on the dunes with typical Oman dates, coffee, and teas.
It is worth mentioning that, although alcoholic beverages are available at Desert Nights Camp, consumption is only allowed inside the rooms.
Are there any tours?
There is not much to do at the hotel itself, and most guests arrive after exploring the nearby attractions, but the tours in the Wahiba Sands desert include camel and quad rides, dune trekking, sandboarding, and dune bashing. You can also just climb up the dunes from just outside the hotel – which is a great physical activity.
Also, as the Wahiba Sands desert is a secluded place, it transforms into a perfect destination for stargazing at night.
What is the best time of the year to travel to Oman?
The best time to visit Oman is from October to April when temperatures are milder. From May to September the thermometers can reach 50 ° C / 122 ° F. Regardless of the time of the year and the heat during the day, be prepared for a temperature drop at night in the Wahiba Sands desert, as well as throughout the country’s mountains regions.
How to get to the Wahiba Sands desert?
The Wahiba Sands desert is located about 3 hours away from Muscat, the capital of Oman, and is easily accessible by car – it is recommended to rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle as soon as you arrive at the airport. It is also possible to book a tour to take you there, but renting a car is the best option for a road trip around the country.
What do I need to pack?
Considering the temperatures in the Wahiba Sands desert, it is advised to bring lightweight clothes to wear during the day; however, be sure to pack a jacket to wear at night, as temperatures drop a lot and it is very windy in the desert. It is also worth bringing along a hat to protect yourself from the direct sun during the day and sunscreen. Just keep in mind that Oman is an Islamic country and therefore it is recommended that men and women dress discreetly.
Can I go to the Wahiba Sands desert with the children?
Yes. It is an unforgettable travel experience for everyone and a great time for the little ones to get in touch with what is most incredible in nature.
Do I need to get a vaccine before visiting the Wahiba Sands desert?
No, there’s no vaccine requirement to visit Oman.
Covid-19 update: All travelers arriving in Oman are required to present a COVID-19 vaccine certificate containing a QR Code stating that they have received two doses of any COVID-19 vaccine approved in Oman (Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford Astrazeneca, Covishield AstraZeneca, Sputnik, Sinovac, Moderna, and Sinopharm), or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson. The last dose is required to have been received not less than fourteen (14) days ahead of the estimated arrival time.
Also, all Oman visitors on long international flights (with a period of no less than 8 hours) with a pre-travel negative PCR test (within 96 hours) are exempt from quarantine as well as travelers on shorter flights with a negative COVID-19 PCR test (within 72 hours).
Read the updated travel restrictions to Oman related to Covid-19.
What to know for visiting Wahiba Sands desert, Oman
Citizens of almost all nationalities, including the US and European Union, need a visa to enter Oman. It can be obtained online with a stay permit of 10 or 30 days, and the cost starts at 5 OMR.
When applying for an Oman visa, attaching a copy of the passport and a photo is necessary. After that, just wait to receive the email with the approval (mine took 24 hours), then print it to present to immigration on arrival.
The voltage in Oman is 240 V and the power plugs and sockets are the type G (the same as the UK).
The currency used in Oman is the Omani Rial (OMR). You can check the current exchange rate on Google.
While traveling, I use a free Charles Schwab Debit Card that provides unlimited worldwide ATM Fee Refunds, no foreign transaction fee, and the actual exchange rate.
Best time to visit Oman
The best time to visit Oman is from October to April when temperatures are milder. Be cautious when visiting the country from May to September, when the thermometers can easily reach 50 °C.
Regardless of the season, be prepared for low temperatures in the mountains of Jebel Akhdar and in the desert Wahiba Sands, where you will need to wear a sweater and/or a windbreaker jacket.
Best tours to visit the Wahiba Sands desert, Oman
Some of the best tours and things to do in Oman are:
- Full-Day Private Wahiba Sands Desert and Wadi Bani Khalid Tour: are you short on time to visit the country’s highlights? This tour allows you to explore two wonders – the ochre dunes of the Wahiba Sands desert and the raw, unspoiled nature of Wadi Bani Khalid.
- Wahiba Sands Desert 4×4: a private day trip from Muscat to tour the Wahiba Sands and Wadi Bani Khalid
- Desert experience – Private Wahiba Sands tour: visit the Wahiba Sands desert and Wadi Bani Khalid on this private full-day tour from Muscat
Transportation in Oman
Rental Cars: The best way to get around Oman is by car. Plan on renting a car as soon as you arrive in Muscat, so you can explore the country at your convenience. I use RentalCars for my car rental needs and it’s the company I recommend.
Ever since the pandemic, travel insurance has become almost essential for every type of travel and is currently one of the requirements for entering Oman.
My recommended travel insurance company is SquareMouth, a platform for searching for the best option amongst travel insurance companies. It allows travelers to instantly purchase a travel insurance policy from every major provider in the US, and it also makes clear each policy’s COVID-related coverage.
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