Mysterious Tahery Cave hike in the Sharqiyah region of Oman

One reason to join a MeetUp group like Muscat Adventures and Social Club is to go to places that one would not dare to venture alone. The hike to Tahery Cave, in the Sharqiyah region of Oman, is one of these places. Firstly, you need a decent 4×4 skills to get to the trail-head. Secondly, the navigation to the cave is tricky. We wandered off our hike on the way back, despite being accompanied by a very experienced guide that visited the place handful of times. No videos from the hike, but you can check out some photo slides below.

Here are directions to the start of the trail. 4WD highly recommended.

And here is the map (one way only)

There is also a possibility to hike through the cave and spend a night inside. Probably the best is to join an experienced company like Husaak Adventures.

Visited in 2019

Oman Aquarium, Muscat ***

The Oman Aquarium started in 2019, it is a great place especially for kids to get close to various fishes and animals. The aquarium features a large number of local Omani fish and animals including sharks, sting rays, turtles, scorpions – as well as many non-local fauna such as penguins and crocodiles. The place is located in the Mall of Muscat. If you visit, do not forget there is an additional option to feed the fishes and turtles.

Short video from the visit to the aquarium
And the longer one…

Both videos were done using the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 and were edited in Final Cut Pro X. The music was composed using Garage Band.

Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, Australia *****

Australia, National Park

Pros: Wildlife, spectacular mountain landscapes, a giant stone crater called Wilpena Pound, 4WD

Cons: Very hot in the summer, flies everywhere

One of the best national parks in Australia. It’s a long drive from Adelaide, but absolutely worthy. We recommend you take a 4WD car to enjoy Barachina Gorge. Also, although very expensive, take a flight over Wilpena Pound with one of the companies – we took an early morning flight. We didn’t go up Mount St Mary peak as it was too hot, and we also heard the walk is discouraged by the indigenous people. Please also check out the official website of the park.

This is when history stops… a sorrowful day in history with the Queen’s departure. For many, she was the most visible (and only) monarch they could watch and experience. We got a chance to see her at the Royal Ascot in 2010.

The Best Hats at the Royal Ascot

We got a chance to visit the Royal Ascot in 2010. The race is Britain’s most valuable one, attracting many of the world’s finest racehorses to compete for millions of pounds in prize money.


Pros: hats, an opportunity to see the Royalty

Cons: wearing jeans is not permitted :), an opportunity to lose (or win) some money betting on horses


It could have been because of limited air travel due to the covid situation. But, we thoroughly enjoyed views from the Emirates A380 on the way from Dubai to Madrid. The fantastic views included the great pyramids, Nile River, Gulf of Aqaba, Sinai peninsula, Gulf of Suez (Egypt), Adbullah royal reserve (Saudi Arabia), Formentera Island (Spain), and Pobles del Sud, Valencia (Spain).


Jebel al-Harim (also known Jebel As-Sayah or Mountain of Women) is an impressive mountain peak reaching 2056m above the sea level. It is the highest mountain in Musandam – a peninsula that is part of Oman, bordering the United Arab Emirates. The peak, also known as Jebel as-Sayh is the highest mountain in Musandam. The road to the summit is totally unpaved and pretty rough with 9 switchbacks through limestone formations. The summit of the mountain is off-limits to the public as there is a radar station used for military purposes. The peak got its name from the days when local women would retreat to caves up here in order to avoid being carried off by pirates or rival tribes when men were going for hunting or fishing for a long time.

The route is part of Route 3 in 38 Adventurous routs – Oman – Off-Road book.


Pros: striking scenery, petroglyphs, camping at altitude, cooler than Khasab by about 5-10C

Cons: stick to the main road if you travel in one car




Other resources:

The Wild Road to Jebel al-Harim


Photo by Rawpixel

Many parents today struggle with the conundrum of how to get their children to spend more time outside. Between a hyper-connection to their technology and being overscheduled, kids aren’t taught that time outdoors is a priority. Unfortunately, this is leading to what experts refer to as nature-deficit disorder. With the potential for indelible effects physically and mentally, it’s important for families to make time outdoors an integral part of living. 

And while not everyone is in a position to drop everything and head to the forest at a moment’s notice, there are still ways to make connecting with nature a regular occurrence. Here are some suggestions from The Gourmet Campers to get you started.

Start Close to Home

If you want your children to get reacquainted with nature, you don’t have to take off work and drive cross-country to a national park. Rather, you can start right in your own backyard with some simple backyard camping. And if your backyard needs a fence or a little landscaping to get it ready, don’t worry; home improvements like this also boost your home’s appraisal value, making them an excellent investment. 

Another option is a trip to the zoo so that your kids can enjoy the many natural benefits of seeing and touching animals. Live Science also suggests that if you want your kids to spend more time outside, you lead by example. That can include family trips to places like the beach or your local park. Likewise, from astronomy to fossil-hunting, here are 9 Great Outdoor Learning Activities for Springtime, thanks to Earth Science Jr.

Time to Branch Out

If fresh air and exercise are what you’re after, here are 7 Important Ways Hiking Strengthens the Family Bond. You could also load up the family for a camping trip, which is not only a great way to disengage from the gadgets but also includes plenty of fresh air, learning opportunities, and exercise that reduce stress and improve sleep. Or if your kids are craving fresh air but want some time on their own, maybe they’d enjoy a trip to a summer camp.

There’s no denying all the many benefits of modern technology. But nothing can replace the benefits of good, old-fashioned exercise, sunlight, and fresh air. So give your children what they need by turning off the devices and rediscovering the healing beauty of the natural world.

The Gourmet Campers are a family of FOUR that loves travelling, exploring new places, and enjoying live events. The blog is less about ‘gourmet’, but sometimes we overdo our camping culinary experiences. Please enjoy and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

Australian White Ibis aka tip turkey

Australian White Ibis – in the regional areas is sometimes called ‘the farmers’ friend’ due to its habit of flocking into areas afflicted by plagues of locusts and gorging on the ravaging hoards of insects. However, in urban areas where many Ibis scavenge on rubbish tips and in city parks, and their plumage becomes soiled by refuse, it is sometimes referred to as ‘tip turkeys’ or ‘bin chickens’.

Sounds of Aussie nature

Manly Dam 9.5km hike following Circuit Track with a detour to Heath Track.

Recorded at Manly Dam Reserve, Sydney, Australia.

Powered by Wikiloc

One of the favourite things to bring from Oman is frankincense resin incense. For millennia, religious leaders have contended that burning incense resin is excellent for the soul. Now, biologists have learned that it is suitable for our brains too. As ScienceDaily shared (source), an international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, described how burning frankincense activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression.

You may need a few things to enjoy the benefits of your Omani frankincense resin.

Firstly you will need a burner.

NAGU Handmade Ceramic Lotus Incense Burner Holder,Stick/Cone/Coil Incense Holders,Antique Home Decoration(Blue)

Small Decorated Brass Charcoal Screen Incense Burner with Wooden Coaster (Black)

Alloy Censer Burner Incense Lotus Buddha Incense Burner Holder Bronze Vintage Incense Burner Charcoal Stove Luxury Stand Incense Metal Home Decoration Office Room Tea House for Stick Cone Reel Incense

And some charcoal disks:

Coals Instant Light – Incense Instant Coal Disks – Coal Tablets – Charcoal Disks – Set of 100 Coals – 33 mm Quick Light Charcoal Briquettes – Natural Coal Disks – Slow Burn and Low Smoke (100, 33mm)


And a great video showing what to and what not to when burning incnese.


We recently visited one of the biggest sites with Aboriginal engravings – Moon Rock in Garigal National Park in Sydney, Australia. The place offers a beautiful vantage point with views of the ocean. Some sources say Moon Rock has about 50 engravings depicting Aboriginal astronomical knowledge, lunar phases, and Baiame, the creator-spirit.

The Moon Rock loop hike is an easy one that will take you less than an hour. And the trailhead is about 20 minutes drive from North Sydney.




Powered by Wikiloc

Links:

Hiking the world – great resource with many other Aboriginal and hiking sites

Aboriginal Heritage Office

The Gourmet Campers blog is from a family of four that loves to travel, exploring new places, and enjoying live events. Reach out to find out more! gmetcamper@gmail.com

How to Enjoy a Vacation During COVID

While the COVID-19 virus continues to roil, everyone, but especially children, need an opportunity to rest and recharge. Whether it’s traveling to a distant destination or planning a staycation at home, be sure to wrap things up at the workplace so you can leave work behind and focus on time with family or friends. Some advanced planning can help ensure when your kids have downtime, you’re planning things to keep them engaged while creating opportunities for fun family memories. The Gourmet Campers shares a few ideas.

Can You Travel?

As the pandemic continues to wax and wane, there are some areas that are still considered dangerous hotspots for travel. Use caution when planning an away-from-home vacation, whether that’s traveling to an exotic destination, or even just visiting relatives in other parts of the country. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control can help you track where COVID is still prevalent, as well as provide guidelines for COVID-related precautions different parts of the country are taking that you’ll need to be aware of, and follow, if you visit. This typically includes protocols around masking and social distancing. Carrying hand sanitizer and frequently washing hands is another wise practice.

Plan a Staycation

A staycation means looking for leisure opportunities in your immediate vicinity, and it can actually be a fun pursuit. Many people live next to attractions that others travel far and wide to see. Areas of historical interest that are within driving distance can be great opportunities to appreciate the wonders your own region has to offer. 

Learn in advance what parks and attractions are open, and what requirements they have around COVID precautions. You may decide to camp by renting an RV, pitching a tent, or even just taking day trips that allow you to see the sights without having to come in contact with too many people. According to USA.gov, your state’s department of travel and tourism can be a good resource to use when making your plans.

Vacation at Home

While it might seem like we’ve all been spending a lot of time in our homes, there are still some ways to create meaningful downtime when kids are on school breaks. Consider building a patio, a fire pit, or installing a net for badminton and volleyball. 

If you have something like a hot tub or a pool, it’s wise to have a fenced-in place, both for security, safety, and privacy. It costs on average about $4,500 to install a fence, depending on size and materials, but it’s important that you have it done professionally by someone licensed, bonded, and insured who also knows to check underground utilities. Look for companies online by searching “Angi fence installation” and get written estimates from several companies before deciding on a service provider.

Generation Wild notes that getting into the great outdoors is another safe pastime during COVID that can build an appreciation for the natural world. Birdwatching, identifying fauna, learning basic outdoor survival skills, and looking for wildlife can all be things that teach kids new skills. It also allows you to get away from a confined environment, stay healthy, and have fun at the same time. 

 Photo by Pixabay