Wahiba Sands - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Wahiba Sands

Wahiba Sands

All travellers to Oman, whether young or old, are strongly encouraged to make an excursion to the desert region known as the Wahiba (or Sharqiya) Sands, a surprisingly fauna and flora-rich area of 4,800 square miles (12,500 square kilometres) near the country's northeastern coastline. In addition to the area's interesting natural bounty - which includes thousands of invertebrate species, birds and 150 species of native flora - the Wahiba (or Sharqiya) Sands is also home to a Bedouin population that is becoming increasingly (and regrettably) marginalised as the modern world exerts its influence over Oman. The nomadic Bedouins are a colourful, friendly people, and visitors to the Wahiba Sands will love the casual and spontaneous manner in which they are able to interact with them. Visitors are able to explore the region by themselves, but should not go in the height of summer (April to October), and will require a 4X4 vehicle to navigate the dunes. However, since it's no fun getting stuck in the sand, a far more popular option is to book a tour to the Wahiba Sands with one of the ubiquitous tour organisations based in Muscat. Typical tour packages include 4X4 transportation through the desert (although camel rides are possible), and an overnight stay in a desert camp.

Information & Facts

The official language of Oman is Arabic, but English is widely spoken. Hotel staff often also speak German and French.

The currency of Oman is the Omani Rial (OMR) divided into 1,000 baisa. Notes come in denominations of 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 rials, and 500, 250, 200 and 100 baiza. Foreign currency and travellers cheques can be exchanged at banks, exchange bureaux, hotels and at the airport. Outside banking hours, moneychangers operate between 4pm and 7pm in the evenings and at weekends. US Dollars are recommended. American Express, MasterCard and Visa credit cards are readily accepted in large shops and hotels and by an increasing number of traders in the souq. Most banks in cities and towns have ATMs.

Local time is GMT +4.
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