The wonderful Wahiba Sands in Oman: in-depth travel guide on what to do and where to stay

Find all the information you need for a visit to the Wahiba Sands in Oman: how to get there, what to do, what to take with you and where to stay.

Nestled in the heart of Oman lies the Wahiba Sands, a beautiful desert with endless golden dunes. This desert is a must-see when visiting Oman and it was definitely a highlight of our two weeks in Oman. Ride a camel, go dune bashing, witness the stunning sunrise and sunset, have a tea while watching the thousand and one stars in the night sky or feel the soft grains of sand as you climb the ever-shifting dunes. In this post, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to know when visiting the Wahiba Sands in Oman. You’ll find information on how to get there, what to take with you and the best things to do in the desert. Last but not least we share our absolute favorite places to stay in the Wahiba Sands.

wahiba sands oman matthias walking

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Best time to visit the Wahiba Sands

Summer – the summer months (June to August) should be avoided. But even from mid-April to the end of September, the days can get extremely hot. 

Winter – from October to beginning of April the temperatures are bearable. When we visited in November, the temperatures were lovely. Keep in mind that when the wind picks up (mostly in the evening) it can get cold. So make sure to bring layers.

sand dunes matthias walking wahiba sands oman

How to get to the Wahiba Sands?

Self-drive with a 4×4

If you are used to driving in sand with a 4×4 it is possible to drive yourself in the Wahiba Sands between the longitudinal dunes. It is however recommended to travel in the company of another car for safety reasons.  Also, do not go off-road during the hottest months, between April to October. Make sure you have provision (food and water) with you for several days. If you choose for a self-drive, you can either head to one of the many camps in the sand dunes or set up your camp in the dunes. Wild camping in Oman is completely legal. However, make sure not to camp too close to the camps.

We recommend to rent a car in Oman through Discovercars.com with free cancellation and insurance included. Discovercars.com is a world leader in comparing prices and offering great deals.

icon rental car Check availability and book your 4WD rental car HERE

Pick-up service at the start of the Wahiba Sands 

If you drive a 2 WD drive in Oman you can arrange a pick-up service from one of the camps in the Wahiba Sands. Most of the camps pick you up either in Bidiyah or Al Wasil.  When you book your camp upfront, you can contact the camp for more information regarding the pick-up. Pick-up service varies from 20-35 OMR. We strongly advise you to book a pick-up service via your accommodation. There are also lots of bedouins trying to offer you a ride to your accommodation but prices get extreme. 

We recommend to rent a car in Oman through Discovercars.com with free cancellation and insurance included. Discovercars.com is a world leader in comparing prices and offering great deals.

icon rental car Check availability and book your 2WD rental car HERE

Day tour from Muscat

There are different companies in Muscat that offer day tours to the Wahiba Sands, often combined with a visit to Wadi Bani Khalid, one of the most beautiful wadis in Oman.

icon hello info Book a day tour from Muscat to the Wahiba Sands HERE

wahiba sand dunes oman endless dunes
The Wahiba Sands
floating mieke wadi bani khalid oman
Wadi Bani Khalid

How long is it driving from …

  • Muscat to Bidiyah takes about 2 hours
  • Sur to Bidiyah takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes
  • Nizwa to Bidiyah takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes 
  • Wadi Bani Khalid to Bidiyah takes about 45 minutes 
Top sand dune Wahiba Sands Oman Mieke

Best things to do in the Wahiba Sands

One of the best things to do in the Wahiba Sands is climbing the ever-changing sand dunes. Every time you reach the top of the sand dune, there is an even more spectacular sand dune behind it. The patterns of the sand are mesmerizing. Make sure to witness the sunset and/or sunrise from the top of a sand dune and watch how the dunes get covered in golden light. 

Most of the camps also organize extra paying activities. One of the most popular activities is dune bashing, often combined with a sunset or sunrise tour. Dune bashing is driving of the dunes at an increasing and decreasing speed and definitely gives you an adrenaline rush. Another great activity in the desert is a camel ride. Most camps give you the possibility to choose between different time arrangements, for example a camel ride of 15 minutes or 30 minutes.

icon hello info Book your day tour full of activities (swimming in a natural pool, camel ride, dune bashing and experiencing an amazing sunset) at Wahiba Sands HERE

sunrise camel wahiba sands oman

Our top 5 recommendations of places to stay in the Wahiba Sands

One of the most magical things to do in the Wahiba Sands is to watch the sunrise and the sunset, when the sand dunes are covered in golden light. For that reason we recommend spending at least one night in the Wahiba Sands. There are a number of camps in the Wahiba desert, ranging from basic to luxury. Below we give you an overview of the best camps based on our research and time in the Wahiba Sands. 

Be aware that most of the camps in the Wahiba Sands don’t offer WiFi. If you need internet we highly recommend buying a SIM-card in Oman. Omantel offer prepaid tourist SIM-cards at a great rate. Of course, mobile data reception will depend on your location. We are big fans of a portable WiFi hotspot so we can keep our original SIM-card in our phones.

Starry Domes Desert Camp

Starry Domes Desert Camp was where we spent our 24 hours in the desert. This intimate camp has several domes with a patio that overlook the endless sand dunes. To make sure you have a good nightrest, the domes are air-conditioned. All domes have a private bathroom. A really delicious breakfast is included. The camp has some really nice spots that make the perfect background for your photos. From the camp you can climb the sand dunes and you get views over a stunning valley. 

  • Pick-up service is 25 OMR (65 USD/ 60 EUR) for one car
  • Dinner is 7 OMR (18 USD/ 17 EUR) for one person. The dinner was a buffet with traditional Omani food and everything tasted delicious. 

Check availability on BOOKING.COM

wahiba sands starry domes booking mirror
wahiba sands starry domes booking where to stay
wahiba sands starry domes booking view

Safari Dunes Camp

The Safari Dunes Camp is an intimate desert camp with 5 luxury tents with an authentic interior on the top of the dunes. All tents have a private bathroom. The rooms have stunning views over the desert. This camp lies deep in the desert, so you are entirely surrounded  by the golden sand. 

  • Pick-up service is 35 OMR (91 USD/ 84 EUR) for one car
  • Breakfast is included. Safari Dunes Camp has a restaurant to enjoy dinner. 

Check availability on BOOKING.COM

Safari Dunes Camp Wahiba Sands Oman where to stay
View room Safari Dunes Camp Wahiba Sands Oman where to stay

Sama Al Wasil Desert Camp

The Sama Al Wasil Desert Camp offers both chalets and tents. They all have a private bathroom. The camp is beautifully decorated and there is an outdoor cinema with popcorn in the evening. The camp is situated approximately 11 kilometers in the desert.  

  • Pick-up service is 32 OMR (83 USD/ 76 EUR) for one car
  • Breakfast and dinner are included

Check availability on BOOKING.COM

Sama Al Wasil Wahiba Sands Oman where to stay
Sama Al Wasil inside tent where to stay Wahiba Sands Oman

Desert Nights Resort

If you want to splurge in luxury in the desert, the Desert Nights Resort is the place to be. This resort offers both luxury tents as standard rooms for everyone that is looking for an ultimate desert experience. There are several activities that are included in room price, like a 4×4 drive to the top of the sand dunes. This resort even offers a villa with a pool, in the middle of the desert.

  • Pick-up service is around 35 OMR (91 USD/ 84 EUR) for one person
  • Breakfast and dinner are included in the room price

Check availability on BOOKING.COM

Desert Nights Resort Wahiba Sands Oman where to stay
sand dunes Desert Nights Resort Wahiba Sands Oman where to stay

Thousand nights camp

This lovely camp is one of a kind in the Wahiba Sands desert. The camp offers both luxury tents as luxury houses. The Thousand Nights camp is surrounded by typical Cineraria trees and the camp has a pool, perfect for escaping from the desert heat. 

  • A pick-up service is offered by the camp. Make sure to book this upfront. 
  • Breakfast and dinner are included in the room price

Check availability on BOOKING.COM

thousand nights camp booking where to stay wahiba sands oman
thousand nights camp where to stay wahiba sands oman

What to take with you when traveling to the Wahiba Sands

wahiba sands oman travel guide
  • Bring breathable, light and layered clothing. Even during the cooler months, temperatures in the desert are hot during the day and can get cold during the night, especially when the wind picks up. Make sure to bring a fleece sweater to stay warm when you admire the starry sky.
  • Sunscreen is a must as the Omani sun burns. Make sure to apply sunscreen regularly. A hat (or a traditional headdress bought in Oman) is the best way to protect your head and face. Don’t forget to protect your eyes and bring qualitative sunglasses
  • We strongly suggest not to walk barefoot in the sand. There are two reasons for that. First, the sand can get really hot under the Omani sun. Another reason is that the sand is also the home of snakes and scorpions. Best shoes to wear in Oman are sandals. We are big fans of Teva sandals. These sandals are perfect for different types of travel: Teva sandals have sturdy straps that make them excellent for hiking. Another advantage of Teva sandals is that they are also perfect for water activities (and there are plenty of water activities in Oman considered the many wadis).
  • Make sure to stay hydrated! In Oman it’s important to drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. So make sure to bring a water bottle that can be refilled.
  • Make sure to capture your memories. A GoPro is excellent to take with you to Oman. It can withstand sand perfectly and is also waterproof. Therefore, the GoPro is the best device for both the desert and the wadis in Oman.  
  • A portable WiFi hotspot to get WiFi on the road.

icon read on Read more: The best travel itinerary for Oman

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