Muscat: ‘Crossing the Empty Quarter’ expedition team returned to the Sultanate this morning after its historic achievement of crossing the desert of the Empty Quarter in 49 days, starting from the Sultanate to the sisterly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and then reaching Doha in the sisterly State of Qatar.
The team was received at the Muscat International Airport upon its return from Qatar by Ali bin Khalfan Al Jabri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information.
The tired and weary expedition team, which included two Omani explorers, Mohammed Al Zedjali and Amour Al Wahaibi, and British explorer Mark Evans, successfully crossed the Empty Quarter desert, the largest sand desert in the world.
Wilayat of Salalah
The expedition first set off on foot from the Wilayat of Salalah in the Governorate of Dhofar last December 2015 to cross the Empty Quarter desert, traversing through the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to reach Doha in Qatar.
The expedition was originally expected to take 60 days. However, the rigorous desert crossing took just 49 days due to the fast pace set by the expedition team members.
The ‘Crossing the Empty Quarter’ expedition aimed at enhancing the concepts of responsibility and self-reliance among the Arab youth, and for them to be able to bear hardships to achieve their goals.
To underline the principles of determination and self-reliance, the team crossed 1,300km, walking and riding camels in only the second ever documented expedition across the Empty Quarter in modern history.
The expedition re-traced the footprints of the first ever recorded crossing of the Empty Quarter in 1930, in which the British explorer Bertram Thomas and Sheikh Saleh bin Kalut spent 60 days traversing the tribal areas in the desert, facing huge sand storms, harsh nature, changing weather conditions with limited amounts of food and water, to cross this dangerous desert, starting from Salalah in the Sultanate of Oman and passing by the Kingdom Saudi Arabia to reach Doha.
The Empty Quarter Desert is considered one of most forbidding areas in the world, covering 650,000 square kilometres of the Arab Peninsula, which is equal to the area of France, Belgium and Netherlands put together. The temperature in summer reaches 50 degrees and hits subzero in the winter.