Empty though they may look, the sands support a fascinating desert ecology. A celebrated expedition by the Royal Geographical Society in 1986 discovered 150 species of plant, including the hardy ghaf (Proposis cinera), which plays a major role in stabilizing the dunes, as well as providing firewood and shade. In addition, 200 mammal, bird and reptile species were discovered, ranging from side-winding vipers to desert hares and sand foxes. Most of these creatures are nocturnal, however, so you’re unlikely to see much during the day apart from their tracks.

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Oman features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Life at the edge: wild camping in Oman

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Oman: a first-timer’s guide

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Poised between the glitzy excess of the Emirates and the rigid conservatism of Saudi Arabia, Oman provides a winning introduction to the Middle East. Politica…

13 Dec 2016 • Andy Turner insert_drive_file Article
12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East

12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East

The Middle East is a paradox. Located at the cultural crossroads between east and west, the region nowadays tends to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, b…

16 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
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