Epic Oman Desert journey to be featured on BBC World Service Radio

22 November 2011

Oman Tourism Office

  • Oman uses its outdoor environment to challenge the leaders of tomorrow on 1,000 km, 80 day desert expedition on foot and by camels

  • Journey follows in the footsteps of famous British desert explorer Bertram Thomas

  • Three day training course to navigate by the sun and stars recently completed in Sharqiya Sands with UK navigation expert Tristan Gooley

Muscat November 14th 2011

Relying on their own determination, a 600 year old navigational instrument called an Astrolabe, and a team of experienced Outward Bound Oman / Tahaddi guides, 48 youths from across Oman will embark on one of the most challenging and character building journeys of their young lives. To mark the anniversary of Oman’s 41st National Day, 48 young people aged between 16-24 years, from diverse educational and employment backgrounds will travel on foot, by camel, and traditional Dhow across the countries breathtaking and demanding wilderness. 

Using an ancient navigational instrument called an Astrolabe, teams of youths will learn how to navigate their way over the 80 day, 1000km journey from Salalah to Muscat. Introduced to the Islamic world in the eighth century, an Astrolabe is an ancient astronomical computer for predicting time and the position of the Sun and stars in the sky. The Astrolabe will also help the team to predict prayer times during their journey.

The Outward Bound Oman/ Tahaddi instructor team, lead by Mark Evans have just returned from a very successful celestial and desert navigation course run by natural navigation expert Tristan Gooley. Tristan Gooley, who established a Natural Navigation school in the UK, is the author of The Natural Navigator, one of the world’s only books on navigation using nature as a guide. Tristan has led expeditions in five continents and is the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed singlehanded across the Atlantic. “The team acquired substantial knowledge from Tristan that we are sure to pass on to course participants for, not only this epic journey, but for future Outward Bound training courses,” explains Mark.  

Each 10 day leg of the eight leg journey has the support of a corporate partner, which include Port of Salalah, Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Methanol, Golden Torches Trading, Nawras/Shabbabia, PDO, National Bank of Oman, and Oman Air. Each of the corporate partners has selected a group of exceptional young people that they believe will reap the benefits that this extraordinary training program will offer. 

The first leg of the journey will leave Port of Salalah on 19th November by a traditional Dhow, making their way east to the Hallaniyat Islands, before coming ashore to meet the camels at Shuwaymiyah, and commence the overland element of the journey.  

Communicating via satellite phone to confirm respective rendezvous points each team will make their way from their designated location on foot, by camel, and traditional boat to complete their part of the journey. An experienced bedouin camel handler, Amr Al Wahaibi, from Bidiya will travel with the teams through the most remote parts of the journey. Each team will carry their own survival packs complete with camping, cooking, and first aid equipment.

Documenting the challenges facing the participants during this incredible journey are two UK based photographers, Sim Davies and James Walker. Both avid outdoor enthusiast their portfolios includes photographic expeditions through Nepal, the French Alps, Finland, and Southern Europe. A gallery of photographic images of each team will be uploaded to the Outward Bound Oman website and Facebook page daily via satellite link throughout the 80 day journey.

Daily audio logs will be uploaded to the Outward Bound Oman website every morning/evening enabling people to hear, first hand, to the adventures undertaken by each team as they navigate the vast Oman wilderness. Wisal FM, and Oman radio station will be broadcasting the daily audio logs during their scheduled programming every day for the duration of the 80 day challenge, and further coverage is being provided by BBC World Service radio and news-online. 

The Outward Bound Oman/Tahaddi initiative is a first for the Middle East region and is dedicated to using the outdoors to develop the life skills of young people in Oman.  It was set up in May 2009 by the founding partners SNR Denton, Shell and the Suhail Bahwan Group.  

For more information on the Oman 41st National Day Youth Challenge go to the Outward Bound Oman website at 

Press Release Contact: 

Mark Evans 

General Manager 

Outward Bound Oman Email: 

Vanessa McCarron 

Media Relations 

Outward Bound Oman 


For further information on Oman contact:

Oman Ministry of Tourism Representative Office UK and Ireland

Sangita Makwana/Alicia Iglesias Cortes

Tel. 0208 877 4503/4


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