Jerzy Wierzbicki offers a beginner’s guide to enjoying this beauty spot – and avoiding a sinking surprise
Khaluf sands is one of the most alluring locations in Oman, but also one of the most challenging for the inexperienced driver.
The problem is simple. The big white sand dunes that are found beyond the village of Khaluf are very soft, and only approachable with a good 4×4.
The dunes are permanently exposed to strong winds from the ocean, and are constantly moving. This prevents them from hardening and, consequently, it is much easier to get stuck here than in other places where sand dunes exist.
An email from a reader asking for advice on Khaluf inspired me to prepare an everyman’s guide, with tips for inexperienced 4×4 drivers or even those who want to drive there in saloon cars.
There are very good reasons to come here, first of all because Khaluf is a beautiful region, close to the ocean, with the white dunes offset by dark rocks and hills, creating an exceptional landscape.
Khaluf is a bustling fishing village with a petrol station, a small restaurant and many car and boat engine workshops.
The area around it, however, is expansive and contains many micro environments with their own unique features, most of which are not far from the main road.
If you have a basic SUV car, without any of the normal preparations for hard desert driving, don’t be afraid to go there.
By sticking to a handful of sandy tracks that are in good enough condition, you can reach a number of great locations while avoiding any sand traps.
On my last visit to Khaluf, I went with beginners in mind, checking out promising locations for setting up camp between the rocks and the
The first place I found was very close to the main road, with a concentration of small but brilliantly white sand dunes.
Just to the right, there is a rock formation with many intricate layers. It makes a perfect location for a picnic or even a night camp (see GPS co-ordinates below).
Please keep this location clean
and take your litter with you when you leave. I use this location for camping and I will take it personally if you leave your rubbish there.
Another excellent spot is a wadi on the road to Khaluf village, with many stones and long dunes.
It is only 300 metres from the road and offers beautiful views of the area.
The dune is located at: N20°31’7” E58°02’55”.
The area has a special atmosphere and is a favourite spot for visitors from the Interior who often come here for weekend trips and picnics.
Still, there are some locations where you can enjoy the silent purity of the sand, where the only sound you can hear there is the wind coming in from the ocean.
It’s really magical.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Muscat take road 32 to Mahout. In Mahout, refuel your car and head toward Duqm. Around 30 km from Mahout is a T-junction to Khaluf, which is another 27 kilometers. All the points in this story are very close to this road.
The GPS location of the first recommended site is : N20⁰33’45” E58⁰01’33”. One of the sandy tracks there leads directly to the sea. The best point for leaving the main road is N20⁰33’45” E58⁰01’33”. Just turn left and go straight for one kilometre.
Visiting Khaluf in an off-road 4×4 is best, but if you don’t have one, don’t let it stop you coming. A small SUV like a Renault Duster is absolutely fine for enjoying the places mentioned.