Friday, June 13, 2014

Dune Bashing: Oman’s Favorite Adventure Sport

Oman as a destination offers a lot to adventure traveler from scuba diving to dune surfing, from dune bashing to snorkeling, from mountain biking to mountain climbing, from yachting to ATVs and much more. But, if I have to pin point one adventure sport that grabs a lot of attention, it has to be ‘Dune Bashing’. This is undoubtedly the most popular adventure sport that is relished by both locals and tourists alike. In fact, the sport is so famous that the country itself is synonymous with this sport.

Dune Bashing at Al Sharqiya Sands, Oman
With easy access to so much of desert land and sand dunes, most Omani men have been practicing dune bashing right from their childhood. The craze is so high that there are local clubs, rallies, races and even international rallies that are either within the GCC countries or even having drivers from all over the world.

While there are lots of places in Oman to go dune bashing, the best dunes and the ones that are closest to the capital city of Muscat are Wahiba sands (which are also known as Al Sharqiya Sands). Dune bashing is typically done an hour or two before sunset, when the temperatures are slightly lower and when you can enjoy the beautiful sight of the golden rays of the setting sun over the sand dunes.
Omani men take a break from dune bashing at Wahiba Sands
Here are some things that you should know about dune bashing:

1) Tire pressure is reduced before getting on the sands. This is to give better traction and prevent tires from either bursting or getting a puncture.

2) Descending a sand dune is tougher than ascending a sand dune.

The dunes of Wahiba Sands, Oman
3) Depending on how many cylinders your car has and its horsepower, you can plan on climbing dunes of different levels.

4) You hardly use your brakes. The more you use your brakes, the deeper you will get stuck in the sand. You get most of the control by using your steering wheel.

5) You can drive through the sands on two wheel drive and for inclines and depending on your car’s horsepower, you can shift into four wheel drive mode.

The sensational Wahiba Sands of Oman at sunset
6) For the first timers and faint heart, do remember to tighten your seat belts properly and prepare yourself for a bumpy ride.

7) Be prepared to get punctures (flat tire) and hits on your suspension.

Dune Bashing at Wahiba Sands, Oman
The next time you go to Oman, you should give dune bashing a try. It is fit for all kinds of travelers as long as you prepare yourself well. It is a lot of fun even if you don’t do the driving yourself. The added bonus of a dune bashing trip is that you are bound to get great visuals of the desert in the evening or early morning sun, which will definitely be a treat to the eyes.

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