Hello Mrs Popp,
We wanted to get in touch with you immediately after our return, but unfortunately everyday life interfered again... So now with a little distance:
First of all, thank you very much for the great preparation of the trip and the good choice of accommodation, everything worked out great.
Now a few news and tips to pass on:
Ibri: the cattle market is a dream, very authentic (you should be there around 8.30am).
The track between Al-Ayn and Ghul is a beautiful route - thanks for the tip!
Wadi Tanuf: recommendable track, very beautiful
Birkat-al-Mauz: unfortunately now terribly dilapidated
Manah Oasis, Adam Oasis:
Manah has been restored (unfortunately a bit hollywood-like) - when they tried to charge us 2 RO entrance fee per person, we ran away.
In Adam we could stroll through a part of the old oasis, unfortunately there were only many "lost places" and ruins to photograph.
Qitbit Resthouse: still exists, but seems (like all accommodation along the desert highway) to be hardly used - it is also not (anymore) in very good shape (clean well)...
Arabian Sea Villas have been renovated a bit and look much more appealing than 1.5 years ago.
Unfortunately, to our great dismay, we found out that there are big construction works going on in Salalah and that the old incense souq in Al Haffa has already been 80% demolished in favour of a "waterfront" to be built. The rest is to follow in the next few weeks. This made us very sad, because the souq was still quite an authentic place - Salalah has - to put it pathetically - lost its soul. What a pity!
Also in towns like Mirbat, Sadah etc. the old buildings are deteriorating more and more or are being actively removed, so that soon none of the old Hadramout-style houses will exist anymore.
the restaurant at the petrol station has now moved to the village, called "Kerala Restuarant".
There is a strange atmosphere in the village at the moment, as - for some police reason - the fishermen have been banned from fishing, so the boats are all ashore and the men are frustrated, killing time in the village.
The wadi is still great, but is starting to get a bit littered in places.
Desert crossing was a unique experience, we were well catered for and looked after all round.
Small hint for the fuel supply in the vehicle - about 150km are driven in the desert, the tank should definitely be filled up at the last petrol station (we had enough fuel, but were a bit unsure beforehand due to the high consumption of the vehicle in 4x4 mode). The dune driving requires a bit of overcoming at first, but is really fun.
All in all, our trip was again filled with wonderful experiences, we will probably contact you again in the next few years regarding Musandam.
Christa & Markus