After leaving Oman’s capital city, Muscat, I set out on a unique, once-in-a-lifetime adventure: having a unique, 24-hour Bedouin food and travel experience in the deserts of Oman!
The Wahiba Sands, also known as the A’Sharqiyah Sands, is a desert that covers roughly 10,000 square kilometers (approx. 6,200 sq. miles).
The desert lies about 2.5 hours outside of Muscat. The area is a gorgeous and endless sea of dunes. I couldn’t wait to explore it with Ahmed and Ameer from Oman Travels and our Bedouin guide, who we’d meet further into the desert. He’d be making us some fantastic Bedouin food, and I couldn’t wait!
The best time to visit are the winter months between November and February, as any other time of the year, the weather is way too hot.
I could see lots of wild camels out in the desert. At one point, we needed to deflate the tires. It’s a must, as completely full tires will get you stuck in the dunes fast!
After deflating them, we continued on. It was midday, so it was very hot. We had to follow the trail left by other cars in the sand. We met with our Bedouin guide to drive to our campsite, where I’d get to try some authentic Bedouin food!
The Bedouin guide’s campsite had six tents, a kitchen, a bathroom area, and a covered structure where we’d eat and relax. The tent had three beds.
We had apples, oranges, and water waiting for us. But it was time for us to cook lunch. Our guide built a fire for us. He was born here and went to university in Sur.
We’d be making basmati rice with chicken and vegetables. They’d all be cooked together in a large pot to make a dish called kabsa. It’s a popular Bedouin food out in the desert. Our guide boiled the chicken and added red onion, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, dried lemon, and spices.
I tried the broth, which was amazing. I could taste the lemon right away.
We started our Bedouin food meal with some mashed dates, which were very sweet and contained a bit of cumin. We also had some Arabic coffee with saffron and cardamom. It was so tasty and aromatic!
Then, we checked on the kabsa, which was nearly ready. He placed it on a platter and dressed it with some lemon halves. It was scorching hot and very moist!
The kabsa was also very different from other rice dishes I’d had. It didn’t contain any oil. The flavor of the dried lemon added a bit of a tang, and the potatoes were nice and soft.
After eating our Bedouin food, we rinsed our plates and relaxed with coffee before driving five minutes to see his camels. There, I met up with Shanoo from Oman Travels and saw the camels. Some moms had babies, but I had to keep my distance.
I went into a female camel’s enclosure and fed her some straw. She was beautiful and had one hump. The baby was really cute!
Then, we went dune bashing! I’ve done this before in Qatar. It’s always a fun, wild ride going up and down the dunes!
Back at the camp, we headed back out into the sands. The sand had cooled down a lot, as the sun was going down, so we went out barefoot.
Then, it was time to cook some lamb for our Bedouin food dinner. They put the lamb in a pot with water, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, and more. Then, they dug a hole in the sand and added a stone before building a fire.
They also marinated chicken legs with a mix of tamarind sauce, garlic, red chili, black pepper, salt, and vinegar. Then, they added cooked rice to the lamb and grilled the chicken over the grill.
The chicken was charred and juicy. The spice mixture was incredible! Meanwhile, they beat the rice to mash it up and mix it well with the lamb. They surrounded the pot with sand to insulate it and poured it on a large tray with liver curry on top.
It was earthy, creamy, and delicious! The pulverized rice was almost like thick mashed potatoes. The curry was super rich. It’s traditionally eaten after EID. I loved it! It was so filling and flavorful!
What a beautiful and authentic Bedouin food experience!