Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

The Trip-Finder, January 1999
Exploring the Empty Quarter

Outfitter Price Accommodations
Adventure Center
800-227-8747, www.adventure-
$1,670-$1,720 camping
Geographic Expeditions
800-777-8183, www.geoex.
$2,750 camping, tourist hotels

The Route: An eight- to 13-day 4WD desert tour exploring the Dhofer Mountains, the vast Wahiba Sands, and the magnificent Arabian Sea coastline, with possible stops in Muscat, where dhows are still made by hand, and slow-paced Salalah, where men drink bitter coffee amid tamarisk trees.

When to go: November through April

Difficulty: Easy

Travel advisory: Unlike other Arab states, women here need not take extreme measures to cover themselves. A modicum of modesty — long dresses or pants, no bare arms — is sufficient.

High/low points:

  • Listening to the 17 musseins simultaneously calling the faithful to prayer in the walled seafaring center of Sur.
  • Being jolted awake in your desert camp by the weird shriek of a rock hyrax, a small rabbit-like animal with a hyperactive larynx.