THE HOSPITALITY OF OMANIS
is one of the best things about the country – we were welcomed everywhere on our trip, including at the striking Al Zulfa Mosque (opposite) near Muscat, which is open to non-Muslims. Beyond the cities, our experiences were so diverse: we could watch turtles lay eggs on the beach in the morning, and be setting up camp in the desert that same evening. Sharqiya Sands (pictured) is one of the biggest deserts in north Oman. It’s free to camp in public places in the country, and we slept here under the stars with only wild camels for neighbours, and tea given to us by local Bedouin. It was cold at night in the desert, enough to need sleeping bags – quite a change from the hot nights spent elsewhere! We woke in the morning to find animal tracks nearby; I like to wonder whether they were left by the rare (possibly extinct) Omani leopard.