With a bright full moon hanging low in the sky and a scattering of stars providing nearly as much light as the sun, I was able to encapsulate what I love about Sifah beach.
A wooden fishing boat was to the left and our organised camp on the right and in that moment I was glad of the last-minute change of location our group had decided on. The aim of my most recent Destination was to capture the essence of a proper camping trip and I think I just about managed to succeed.
The original plan was to head to an island just off the coast of Quriyat, but the local fisherman had advised us against the journey due to rough seas. Eventually, our party settled on a slightly lesser know part of the beach in Sifah, just down from the Sifawy Boutique Hotel and the Jebel Sifah complex.
The area we’d chosen was slightly stonier than our usual spot, but it was also flatter, which made for a simpler drive. There were three saloons and three four-wheel drives in our convoy, carrying 11 people in total and a weekend’s worth of provisions.
With most of the group arriving as darkness descended on Thursday evening, there wasn’t much exploring to be done and we set about establishing the perimeter of our camp with lit torches. Next came the unloading of the vehicles, with mats, gazebos, tents, pots, pans and camping stoves all pouring out.
On the menu were traditional Balushi dishes of barbecued marinated meats on skewers, fish and rice dishes. One member of the group was a chef at one of Muscat’s hotels and was able to rustle us up some mouth-watering, tasty treats.
We finished our meal with some tea brewed with cardamom and talked the evening away. The group had come together from around Muscat, but we have all been friends for a long time and swapped stories of work and marriage for hours. I was on the receiving end of a lot of advice with my own wedding approaching on the horizon.
Breakfast was eggs cooked the Canadian way by one member of the party who was born and raised there, after which I could explore our surroundings a bit more.
The section of Sifah beach we found ourselves on was a long thin stretch, broken up by a few rocky outcrops that reached out into the sea. Crabs scuttled to and fro along the craggy rocks, washed over by the occasional foam of the surf, and the area was the perfect spot for snorkelling.
An intrepid pair ventured into the water with the hope of catching some fish or squid for lunch. The waves were nearly as high as them, which made visibility poor beneath the water and ultimately they came back empty-handed, but still smiling.
We enjoyed the tranquillity of the beach most of the day, occasionally sharing the area with families and other groups of friends coming to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, complete with camping chairs and barbecues.
Just before sunset on Friday, we started to think about heading home. As we began packing away our equipment and collecting all our rubbish someone mentioned about staying another night, which was very tempting, but unfortunately I had an assignment that needed covering back in Muscat, so had to decline.
This was my first camping trip of the season; an amazing experience made all the more pleasant by mild temperatures and a cool breeze, and I can’t wait for many more over the months to come.
Camping spots on Sifah beach are easy to find. Head towards Yiti and follow the signs for Jebel Sifah. Enter the complex and go right at the third roundabout. Drive past the apartment buildings and the beach will be on your left. Choose the most suitable looking site.
GPS location of our camping spot: N23° 23’ 47.87” E58° 48’ 12.737”