Umm Al Samim – Rub Al Khali

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Knowen as The Empty Quarter

Located on the eastern edge of the Rub Al Khali desert, Umm Al Samim is a stretch of saltmarsh that has been seen by few. The solid-looking crust can be deceiving because beneath lies quicksand, so visitors are better off travelling with a guide.

he Umm al Samim (Arabic: أم السّميم‎) (also known as the Umm as Samim) is a quicksand area on the eastern edge of the Rub al’khali desert largely within Oman’s borders. The waters, such as they are, drain into this brackish low-lying closed basin area off the Omani mountains and the wadis of the Rub al’khali. The Al Samim (known locally as the ‘Mother of Poisons’ or the ‘Mother of Worries’) is a salt marsh with a solid-looking crust but can be very treacherous when broken through. There is little vegetation.

Sir Wilfred Thesiger was the first European to see the area in the late 1940s after his travels from Salalah in Oman.

More Places To See

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  • Dhofar
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Things to do

Interested in a particular type of holiday experience? there is so much to do in Oman that you will want to keep coming back. Here are just a few of the possibilities to help make your next visit to Oman perfect.

Camel Riding

Historically, camels were used by local Bedouins for transporting goods and people through the desert and around the country. Today, owning camels has become more a sign of prestige, with many Omanis breeding them for racing and beauty contests.

Paragliding

Paragliding is a newer addition to Oman’s rapidly growing adventure tourism scene, adding to an already impressive suite of outdoor pursuits in the country. Several tour companies offer beginner, intermediate, and pilot courses for anyone interested.

Deserts

The interior of Oman is the gateway to one of the largest sand deserts in the world – the famous Empty Quarter or Rub Al Khali. Covering a large area of the Arabian Peninsula, this unique ecosystem is covered by sand dunes up to 250 metres in heights in certain areas, and salty planes in others.