Y’s new photographer Shakeel al Bulushi spent a night under the stars on a secluded stretch of Oman’s coastline with a group of friends, where they enjoyed all that the outdoors has to offer
Now that the temperatures are well and truly falling, the camping season in Oman is in full swing. Every weekend, groups of friends and families are taking full advantage of the change in climate to spend more time in our wonderful landscape and escape the hustle and bustle of city life. I am part of a unique band of people called the Second Cup Group. We meet at the coffee shop every day and it is here that we plan our camping adventures. This time, we decided to visit As Sifah, on the west coast of Oman, about a 90-minute drive from Muscat. About 20 members of the group came, so it was quite a convoy of cars on the journey there.
Each trip, we go on we try to visit a different place and I had never been to Sifah before, so was really excited to see what it would be like. And what an amazing location it is – such a stunning coastline and wonderfully clean beaches and water. I know we say every coastline in Oman is special, but trust me: Sifah is really something.
We all arrived on Thursday afternoon and quickly got all the tents set up. The group is very organised and we are all allocated jobs – whether it’s cooking, making tea or providing entertainment, we all know our jobs. We are a very mixed bunch and we all bring something special to each camp, whether it’s taking great photographs and videos of our activities or providing music and singing, we all have something different to offer.
On the Friday morning, while breakfast was being prepared, many of us went snorkelling in the clear, crisp coastal waters. I was also able to get involved in squid fishing with the harpoons we had brought along. Afterwards, breakfast was ready. Food is a big part of our camping trips, especially the social aspect of eating together. At lunchtime, we eat amazing traditional Omani dishes created by our resident chef, Imura al Balushi. His food is incredible, especially when he uses saffron. I had no idea how expensive this spice was. When we sit down to eat, it is in the traditional Omani way by sharing large amounts of food on shared plates. I love this sense of closeness at mealtimes. We all live such busy modern lives, that to take time out and spend real quality time with friends is something we so often miss out on.
Afternoons are spent relaxing, chatting and listening to music played by group members. It’s all very impromptu and inspirational and always good fun to listen to.
In a way, the most important part of our trips is the clearing up when we get ready to leave. We never leave litter or debris from our brief stay behind. I can’t stand littering and hate to see pollution in our wonderful country. We are so fortunate to live in such a scenic part of the world, we must enjoy it without damaging it.