RIDING IN THE SULTANATE OF OMAN
 

 

The Sultanate of Oman is certainly one of the areas that has remained the most secret of the Arab peninsula. Following the traces of such renowned travellers as Marco Polo, Ahmed Ibn Battuta or closer to us, Wilfred Thesinger, we are drawn by the fascination for unknown regions and as lovers of desert horses we are always seeking them further afield.

It is impossible to try to describe this great country in a few sentences.

Quite unlike the culture to be found in the West and the Middle East, the Sultanate of Oman will always attract enthusiasts by its geographical diversity and the wide empty spaces, which have nevertheless be populated since the dawn of time.

Try to imagine the wealth brought home by these tribes of sailors who knew to sail the oceans, from East Africa to the southern tip of Asia (the explorer Magellan's ship was captained by a sailor from Oman!).

Remember that the mountain tribes originated in Yemen, ("Felix Arabia"), and are now wedged between that desert of deserts - "Rub Al Khali" and the vertiginous peaks of Jebel Akhdar rising to more than 3000 meters!

And today, forced to bow to civilisation, the country is adapting to the benefits of progress.

It is rare to see a country where tradition can be reconciled so closely with the modern world and the advantages it brings that are impossible to refuse.

In this country, the home of Sinbad the Sailor, our ride advanced in the fascinating scenery of such varied terrain : from the mysterious mountains of the "Hajar" in the east, through the dunes stretching before us to infinity, and the forest of the steppe country of the "Wahibas sands" to arrive at the Indian Ocean where we felt we were understanding the pull felt by the far travellers. And all this perfumed with the exotic drifts of "frankincense" from the resin of the incense bearing trees.

This is a population of riders, who take pride also in this ultimate conquest - that of this creature which has allowed all of us to travel to the beyond, to see elsewhere, far over there, further yet, the horse, quite simply...

Wilfried Colonna & The Desert Guides / 04.2002.