Here is a guide to camp in Oman, based on our past trip for a 3 day long weekend in the United Arab Emirates.
How many days for Camping in Jebel Shams?
Ideally a long weekend of 3 days. Yes you can be nuts and wake up at 4 AM and drive, go through borders, etc and get to campsite earlier, but reality is that you might not be driving alone and everyone would agree to meet up bit later that that!
In our case, we met up at a petrol station on the 311(Mohammed Bin Zayed Hwy) in between Global Village and Al Barari. Once we’ve all had our coffees, we were hitting up the road to the border to Oman, which took us 2 hours.
How long does it take to cross UAE-Oman Borders?
As it was a long weekend, exiting the country took a lot of time. We were in a very small passport control spot and there was quite a long queue to get our exit stamp. It literally took us 1h20 minutes and that wasn’t all, we needed to pass the Oman border. Note that you have to park your car and go process everything at the immigration office and same on the Omani side.
Exit fee at the UAE Border: 30 DHRS is the fee we all had to individually pay for services charges and what not.
There was quite a drive of at least 15 minutes before we arrived to the Oman entry border. It was quite weird to have the city in between the two border checks where we had to wander around before even having our Omani Stamp. It was quite a weird feeling to be there, we were wondering on what territory we’re actually on!
Entry visa fee to Oman: 50 DHRS. Took us about 1H to wait in the queue and have it all ready. To our surprise, they did not ask for our car insurance. We saw a car insurance counter and it had a few customers so we we’re under the impression they would ask for it and send people without proper paperwork to go get one; a typical way that we thought made logic for them to make money. Ladies beware, bring your tissues, toilets we’re quite horrible and it stank so badly. We really didn’t have a great experience in there sadly.
Finding a campsite in Oman
Once the whole process was done, we we’re in business to drive around Oman to look at the beautiful scene. Since it took us so long at the border, we were quite rushed. We passed by Snake Canyon but didn’t get the chance to explore it.
We had a few trails and finally found our spot at around 4PM, which was quite late as our first camping site was planned to be in a valley and that would make the sun disappear earlier than it is usually planned to. We had to be quick into setting our camping material, as it is always a bit painful to do it all in the dark. As it got pitch black, we were preparing all the necessary items for the fire.
Another great successful night eating good food, good company and beautiful sky with a million of stars.
Day 2 in Oman
Once we woke up, it was time to eat breakfast and start wrapping up our things. We went for a ride around in villages until we hit a beautiful village with a mini fort and these greeneries that are quite similar to rice patties. It was such an amazing feeling to see that in Oman, when usually you only expect it in Bali or Sapa in Vietnam when you are in the search of Rice fields.
Heading to Jebel Shams
As our day kept passing by way too fast, we already had to rush on top of Jebel Shams and get ready to find our 2nd camping site. Along the way, we tried to hit up 2 antennas that we saw the days before deep down in the valley. The ride was quite bumpy. While we were wandering around there, a few locals that were having a BBQ not too far came to us and gave us around 10 beef skewers. It made us feel so warm and it was totally delicious. Loved the seasoning even though the beef was quite chewy. Meanwhile we could see them gather in circle on their carpet feasting, it was beautiful to see. Some of them asked to take a picture with me, which I found quite funny as they were in all awe of meeting an Asian. 10 minutes later we found our other members of the group smoking shisha and having Omani Chai with other locals on a cliff. They invited us all to join where we spent a good hour admiring the beautiful mountain while sipping on chai, eating a bit of fruits, fish and Omani sweets. They were incredible hosts, and we had to gift them some bread and cheese to thank them of their hospitality.
Finding a campsite in Jebel Shams
As we head up higher to find our campsite, there was this vista spot where many tourists evidently stopped by. We knew it was a tourist spot as there was a little cement hut across the streets made specifically for vendors to sell their little crafts. Not long after 4PM, we were running late again to get our equipment ready. Same as the day before, as we finalize everything, we had the fire pit ready and burning to start warming ourselves as it was quite windy.
Temperature while camping on top of Jebel Shams: Bearable. Really. No need for coats, we had sweatpants and a top and decided to add a funny onesie on top to be quite warm!
Returning to the United Arab Emirates
As we wanted to go to Wadi Shams, a spot with actual water where you can swim, we woke up quite early to pack up, but not the whole group was as much in a rush. We ended up taking too much time to eat breakfast and pack up that we didn’t get to go to the Wadi as everyone wanted to be in Dubai by 6PM. We stopped in a local restaurant for a bite, that ended up taking like an hour, Mitch and I were not particularly happy. Took us few hours to finally get to the Omani check out border which was totally fast as we didn’t need to get off the car. As to come back in the United Arab Emirates, it literally took us 10 minutes to get everything process and, of course, no fee. We wish it took this fast when we got into the country, but this is what you should always expect on long weekends, many like to go camp in Oman!
2H drive later from the border, we were back in Dubai. Coming back to town was much more efficient than the expected and that was just perfect for all of us to be able to wash our stuff and do housing things before starting the work week!
Hope this guide was helpful. If you have any questions on how to navigate in Oman without data, where to go and all, do not hesitate to comment below, tweet or send over your questions to us!