Oman is a country I’ve wanted to explore for FOREVER! After finally being able to visit for five nights in December I naturally had a long overdue list of activities and sights I wanted to tick off. One of them being an overnight camping stay on the Dimaniyat Islands.
The price for the excursion isn’t cheap and we almost didn’t book it because nearly £400 for a one night camp excursion for two people seemed like a reckless amount to spend when we had an already paid for hotel in Muscat and a wedding to save for. However each time we tried to plan alternative activities nothing seemed to compare to the idea of remote camping, snorkelling for hours and a sunset bbq on the beach. We quickly justified spending less on other days and promptly booked two slots on the overnight camping trip. The excursion fills up quickly, so if you find yourself in the same dilemma as we did, then let me tell you now – stop wasting your time dithering and get it booked! I did the weighing up of pros and cons for you and I can guarantee it’s worth every penny. We booked with Daymaniat Shells – who deservedly get fantastic reviews on Tripadvisor. I booked direct by emailing the tour operator Lea.
We met our group at 1pm at the Al Mouj Marina where the speedboat departed for the islands. Slightly shy of 2pm we had arrived at our first snorkelling drop, aka real life scenes from Finding Nemo. The six of us set off on an hour long swim, with the expertise of our knowledgeable guide taking us to the stunning reef points. Within minutes we’d seen our first of many turtles, reef sharks, rays and a slightly terrifying moray eel.
We spent the afternoon exploring our next reef. The marine life and coral was as stunning as its neighbouring cove we’d spent the first part of the day at. After hours of discovering what lies beneath these beautiful waters our boat moored up at a tiny deserted island. This is where we pitched our tents for the night.
There was a real sense of calm as we watched the sun dip behind the peaceful water. Beforehand I thought there might be a sense of fear being the only people on a tiny island out in the middle of the ocean but what came was a feeling of freedom and tranquility.
After our bbq of freshly caught tuna steak and lamb we called it a night. If you want to make the sleep more comfortable then bring your own blankets and pillows but sleeping bags and airbeds are provided. We woke to a stunning sunrise and a morning dip before breakfast.
Once we departed from our tiny island we visited three more snorkel points that day. Spectacular coral and marine life aplenty. This was something we’d now come to expect from snorkelling in Oman. I can only describe the coral as utterly epic! It looked like giant brains on the ocean floor. The largest coral and some of the most vibrant I have ever seen in my whole life. It was really unexpected, I’d heard great things about marine life in Oman but I really didn’t think it would be this beautiful and alive.
The Dimaniyat Islands are UNESCO protected due to housing such an abundance of marine life. They’re also fiercely protected by the Omani people. We would collect any plastic or rubbish found on our snorkel expeditions and bring it back to the boat. However, I assure you there was practically none as the oceans are so clean here. Our guide even stopped our boat when he saw a plastic bottle to remove it from the water. He also had no qualms about confronting another boat who had insensitively lowered his anchor onto live coral.
This experience was so special not only because we discovered a new beautiful part of our world in such a peaceful and unique way, but also because our hosts from Daymaniat Shells have created such an amazing experience that continues to protect and preserve our planet around us. Nothing is more disappointing than booking an excursion when travelling and then realising that the tour operator has no respect for the environment and animals. Sometimes having access to travel is actually harming our planet. This excursion couldn’t have been more of the opposite and it was worth every dime to know that they are allowing people to see the beauty in this world whilst also being hugely respectful to it.