With cloud cover increasing over the Dhofar coast of Oman I took time to trek through the barren landscape of Dhofar, not on the coast but in the barren mountains towards the desert.
Here we passed Frankincense trees rustling in the wind and occasional Fan Tailed Ravens but little else of substance. On the off chance that there might be some life down below in the Wadis we paused for some time on the cliff edge – perhaps a small group of Ibex (Capra nubiana) would pass through; but still nothing. Miles (or rather kilometres) from anywhere we were in a wonderful land of solitude.
There must however be some water and vegetation below for we found a collection of beehives set up on the cliff edge above a wadi, somewhere below were the flowers they needed.
My companions much preferred this wilderness to the landscape within the green slopes on the coastal facing mountains where their homes are. After a meal of rice and chicken in their home I left for Salalah some 200kms away in the pitch black of a moonless night.
Perhaps to remind me of the hidden populations of all sorts that we might have passed earlier, a Hyaena (Hyaena hyaena) dashed across the road a few meters in front of my vehicle. I hope the next time we don’t meet face to face.
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