We were two families, in two vehicles, one a land cruiser and the other a ford explorer, left Dubai at 12.30 in the afternoon, heading towards Buraimi to cross the border into Oman and onwards journey to salalah.
First experience was that on reaching Al Ain there are no clear directions to get to the Buraimi crossing. However, we found the way and ended up at the check post, this was the Oman one and got the paperwork done to obtain visa's for all. At this point it did not strike us that we did not have an exit stamp from the UAE.
That was not an issue, there was hardly any crowd at the border and the facilities at the check post were excellent.
If you do not have Oman insurance like us you can buy that there, it cost us dhs. 240 for the same. All takes very little time and you are on the way.
We chose the Buraimi route to avoid Muscat and thereby reducing our distance by 100Kms but since the roads do not have any lights etc while driving in the night we went upto Nizwa before branching off to Salalah.
check out the following link for the map of Oman.
We drove on till Nizwa where we took a break as it is advisable to top up on gas at every station from Nizwa till you reach Salalah as you are driving through a two way road in the middle of the desert, there is not even a little shaded area if you wanted to rest.
We drove on from Nizwa to Adam which is just another 50/55Km away and filled up Gas. It is at this point we decided that we need to drive on for 4hours to reach Hayma which is 328Kms from Adam so that we would be then left with only 450Kms to Salalah as we were targetting our check in time at the Hotel which was 1 in the afternoon.
The roads are pitch dark, we did not know what to expect and rightly so there are no proper laybys to pull up, there are laybys every 10kms but the road is two way single lane and pitch dark relying solely on your headlights. The traffic itself is very less. Luckily the desert is so vast there are no camels lurking close to the highway.
We did the stretch to Hayma and arrived there at approx 2.30Am. We filled gas and put the car in parking. We spotted a small coffee shop and had some sandwiches there and got some shut eye for 2hours before starting out again.
We took one more stop for Gas and headed straight into Salalah, towards the Crowne Plaza. As you near salalah the topography changes and you can see more greenery and also the camels, cows etc are closer to the roads and need to be careful hence the going is slow.
The view is spectacular.
We checked in and chilled that day at the hotel pool and went to explore the salalah town that day and enjoyed dinner outside.
After a lazy breakfast got in touch with the concierge at the hotel who provided us with a map of salalah and places to go. You can do this on your own or you can choose to go on a guided tour. we decided to go on ourselves and had a blast.
Salalah is divided into the East & West areas on either side of the Crowne Plaza hotel.
We visited the East side first where you have:
Taqah - Here you have the famous Wadi Darbat it is beautiful! There is also a castle, which is very well kept and is worth a visit. Kids had a blast here.
To got to some of the springs take the scenic route described on the map, but the drive is quite treacherous but worth it. Roads are full of camels, cows, even donkey's. You will sight the Nomads quite helpful even if you don't know language. One person helped us and asked us for water to drink we gave him both water and juices etc...
Khawr Ruri - It is a spectacular drive.
Optical Illusion - There is a hill where you can put your vehicle in Nuetral but it still keeps travelling and gains speeds upto 40Km/hour. We were not very impressed as we thought the hill had an incline and it was pulling towards down hill... but worth visiting to experience and spend 2 hours tallking about the same.
After having an early breakfast we decided to head towards the west along the coast line to Mughsail. Mughsail does lay on a spectacular bay with a 1 mile of white sand beach ending at the start of large cliffs and mountains. In Mughsail we visited the blowholes and are not disappointed but the tides were not high enough to make it spectacular that it shoots way up into the sky.
We spend the rest of the day here at Mughsail beach, pitched tents and playing in the unspoilt white beaches with clear water.
We had breakfast and checked out of the Hotel and started the return journey at 10Am in the morning as we wanted to enjoy the 1000Km stretch of desert which we could not even glimse on our way in and the desert was beautiful. Stretches of emptiness all throughout.
We went into Muscat (Ruwi) to have dinner. We reached Ruwi at 9Pm had dinner and continued our journey back to Dubai but this time via Hatta.
Everything went smooth and we were back in Dubai at 4.30Am.
Journey well worth it. If you pace the drive, have plenty of snacks and water on hand. Be defensive driver and you will enjoy it great deal, if you feel tired stop and rest.