Starwatching Private Camp and Private Desert House
Our long awaited endeavor to visit Oman was given the green light when we came across Starwatching Private Camp and Private Traditional Desert House. We really wanted to capture the rich heritage of Oman during our short time in this GCC, whilst also spending as much time surrounded by its vast, fiery sand dunes that along with the valleys of Oman account for 82% of Omans landscape.
Welcoming duo Jacqueline and Hamad are the brain-child behind these two luxury camps. Jacqueline has spent her time in Oman acculturating to the desires of tourists and locals alike seeking an escape into desert life. Having pieced together the most idyllic setting teamed with exquisite food that truly transports you in another world, the highly desired location celebrates the natural beauty and dramatic vistas of the unblemished Wahiba Sands.
A night spent at Stargazing Private Camp was without doubt a night to remember. What an experience from beginning to end. Catching our first glimpse of the camp after a day exploring Oman was quite honestly breath-taking. After 4×4 dune-bashing far into the desert we arrived to find the tempting aromas of Arabic coffee wafting through the air; a luxury array of fruits, dates and coffee was awaiting our arrival. Jacqueline greeted us to our tent, one of two tents situated at the camp. A small dwelling to enhance the privacy promised from the outset. Our tent was pure luxury and honestly more than we could have ever imagined with such few amenities available in the heart of the desert. A generous queen sized bed adorned with decorative bedding and fresh towels was a welcomed site after a days travel. Carefully chosen furniture elevates these nostalgic canvas abodes into tempting and traditional tents. Decorative Iranian & Omani carpets throughout and discerning details such as solar lights and candle lit lanterns complete the revamped grandeur to these modest tents.
Not long after arriving we had the pleasure of watching the sunset across the dunes. Witnessing the sky’s role reversal from day to night was so intense in the silence of the surroundings. Lying together under the Milky Way, with only stars to fill the sky and planets to align was truly a night to treasure.
A three course meal under star light and a little candle light was served. Ensuring all guest dietary requirements are met, this lavish supper was seriously impressive. The kitchen staff cook your evening meal in a sand pit close to the dining table for guests to interact with the experience. Once ready, dinner is served. We were lovingly made,
Starter: homemade hummus, homemade bread, watermelon and feta salad.
Main: King Fish cooked with lime leaf (as i’m pescatarian) and Roast Chicken with a whole array of potatoes and vegetables.
Desert: Traditional saffron and rosewater pudding and chocolates.
All eaten and enjoyed within the company of our hosts who engaged and delighted us with conversation about the history of Oman as well as of the camps. As a final treat to the evening, we all sat round a warming bonfire gazing up at the stars.
Next morning and we awoke to watch the sunrise rolling in over the sandy hills, feeling the warmth from the sun kiss your skin was worth the early morning wake up call. Shortly after enjoying a warm shower – yes in the middle of the desert! We were served a lavish breakfast complete with bread freshly made and eggs cooked as you like next to you.
Our second day involved a trip to Wadi Bani Khalid, a natural water spring found close by to Bidiyah. The untouched beauty of this natural wonder becomes apparent from the minute you enter. Walking deep into the valley and up over tumbled rocks you find pool after pool of deep, crystal clear azure waters. Submerged in-between huge boulders, hidden cracks and crevasses encourage you to swim between pools enjoying natural waterfalls and rope swings as you go. A must when visiting Oman.
Our second night was drawing in, we were invited to part take in a 1 hour camel trek to our camp for the night. Departing shortly before the sun began to set ensured we had golden hour hues accompanying us along on the ride. A truly magical experience and one that will stay with us. Entering Jacqueline and Hamad’s additional camp, Private Desert House Camp was just as impressive and indulgent as our first night at Starwatching Private Camp.
This beloved desert location is home to bedouin’s still, and here at Hamad’s camp you are given the chance to dip into their storied history. Staying in a traditional Areesh (palm tree) House, you’re made to feel included in their culture with a sense of tranquility. After yet again a delicious and decedent 3 course meal served in the Majlis or outdoor seating area, custom-designed with sitting furniture and a charming mix of traditional and vintage decor. We resigned to the comfort of our Bedouin house for the night.
Corinne & Rivers Story ( NorthSouthTravels www.northsouthtravels.com )