Driving from Dubai to Salalah, a very long journey…

I just had to visit Salalah.

Located at the  southern end of Oman, I had heard tales of the Khareef season, the rain, greenery, and mists, contrasting with the hot, endless summer in the rest of Arabia. 

The choice is to fly or drive. From Dubai to Salalah, it’s a thirteen-hour drive of 1220km.

We drove.

Oman is a vast country, sparsely populated, small villages don’t offer many comforts, especially for westerners. It’s a tough and tiring drive, few places to stop and nothing to see. This area of Oman consists of endless gravel plains, with little to break the monotony and accidents are frequent.

A two-lane highway just south of Adam, home for the next 8 hours. Music, Kindle, conversation reduced to playing wilderness I-spy,

” It begins with G”,


“No, Gravel, Stupid”.

A trip like this makes or breaks a friendship.

Which way was he going?

Which way was he going?

Haulage and coach drivers follow this route day in, day out. Service areas have rest houses, repair workshops, small goods shops, cafeterias and, of course, a mosque.

I hoped he discovered his door was open before something terrible happened...

I hoped he discovered that door was open before something terrible happened…

It’s a long way to sit and wonder how much longer is it going to take. A cool box of snacks and water was our option,

“Oh, No, not another cheese and pickle sandwich, how many did you make?”

Hmm, seemingly unappreciated effort.

Comfort stops behind scrubby bushes on the busy road, snatched in breaks between the traffic are the only option. I just had to hope everyone was driving far too fast to notice the flash of white flesh.

The only overnight stops are rest houses, as yet I haven’t been brave enough to partake.

Having vowed I wouldn’t repeat the experience, I did it again several months later.

This year I’ll fly!

18 comments on “Driving from Dubai to Salalah, a very long journey…

  1. Intrepid traveler, you. Thirteen hours on a straight-line, desert road without even the geography of nearby mountains to break the monotony? No wonder that route sees lots of accidents. How does anyone stay awake?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kathryn….and for 8 hours it’s a 2 lane highway. We shared driving, so each could sleep, but you see many cars pulled over with drivers sleeping inside and people just lying on the ground sleeping too!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Looking forward to that future post.

      What a drive. It sounds even worse than hour upon hour of trees, when driving up north. I would avoid an overnight stop, as well; getter done!

      Flying sounds much better.


    • Thanks, Nomad, yes that’s the problem with driving down… the journey back. However, there is now a coastal route from Mirbat & Hasik north, a spectacular road cut through the escarpment, finished early 2015, taking you along the very long coastline. It makes a good alternative. Too far to do in a day, so an overnight stop at Duqm (now developing as the alternative port to Salalah, so some decent hotels). I shall be going down again this coming Eid, Salalah at monsoon is somewhere special!


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