Lonely Planet (UK) - - Journal -

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.

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