The flat plains of Central Oman extend from the Hajar Mountains in the north to the mountains of Dhofar in the south for a distance of 800 kilometers. Vegetation is sparse and also human activity is hardly found in this naturally hostile environment.
In the west the dunes of the Empty Quarter cross the boundary from Saudi Arabia. Single dunes spreading over the gravel plains into the savannah of the Jiddat al-Harasis where another wildlife reserve has been set aside to protect the Arabian Oryx.
The paved road from Muscat to Salalah runs right through the plains and passes by the small settlement of Hayma. Further to the east along the coast, long sandy beaches are found running from at al-Khaluf, near al-Duqm, down through fissured coastal shelf at Ra’s Madrakah to beautiful bays and wadis at Shuwaimiyah, stretching for distances of several hundred kilometers.
The coast is more populated. Several small fishing villages are to be found here. Although far from the urban area, modernization has taken place here as well. The former fishing village of al-Duqm is today an industrial harbour with huge dry docks, and transshipment facilities for the largest cargo vessels.
-> overnight in Central Oman