Ramlet Jadilah: The world's highest sand dune is located in Oman

Oman Wednesday 08/March/2017 22:48 PM
By: Times News Service
Ramlet Jadilah: The world's highest sand dune is located in Oman

Muscat: Oman is already renowned globally for its beautiful deserts, mountains and scenery, but have you heard of Ramlet Jadilah?
This recently discovered hidden gem – more than twice the height of Oman’s tallest building, the Sheraton Hotel - has just been classified as the highest sand dune in the world.
WATCH: The highest sand dune in the world is in Oman
After the first exploration and broadcast of the dune's record breaking height by Saudi researcher and explorer Dr. Eid Al Yahya, Guide Oman undertook the mission of exploring Ramlet Jadilah further. The adventure trip group was led by Mohamed Al Zadjali and other Omani adventurers.
The group aimed to discover more about the dune's location, geographic boundaries, means to climb it, and the time it takes to climb. The group also hoped to discover Ramlet Jadilah's cultural history with surrounding inhabitants, as a unique natural monument.
The mission was organised in collaboration with the newspapers "Al Shabiba" and “Times of Oman’.
The exploration team from Guide Oman included Mohamed Al Zadjali, Raef Al Yahyai, Walid Al Zadjali, Abdul Rahman Al Zadjali, Ahmed Al Balushi, Hassan Al Balushi, Faisal Al Raisi, Shakir Al Balushi, Osama Al Zadjali, Najeeb Al Zadjali, Ahmed Al Maimani and Ali Khan. From Salalah the team was joined by Sami Al Rawas and a guide from the region, Abdullah Mohammad Al Harizi.
Mohamed Al Zadjali described his initial high regard for the dune, as it reaches a height of 455 meters from the sea level. He noted that the dune is located about 30 kilometers from the Neyabat of Mayten at the Wilayat of Al Mazyona.
Al Zadjali described the sands as “Omani white gold”.
"As an exploratory team, we have travelled to many countries and places and have explored many sand regions, but the sands of this dune are different from any other dunes I've seen globally. These sands combine pure white colour and golden yellow colour, featuring purity and bright whiteness that tends to the colour of white gold," he expressed.
Al Zadjali thanked the office of the Deputy Wali of Al Mazyona at the Neyabat of Mayten and the Assistant Wali Mohammed Musallam Al Harizi, and thanked Abdullah Mohammed Al Harizi for their assistance throughout the trip.
Osama Al Zadjali explained that this trip has been in the making ever since the discovery. “Since we knew about the visit of Dr Eid Al Yahya and listened to his speech in his report on the Al Arabiya TV Channel, we were determined to get there and see it with our own eyes and even reach its highest summit,” he said.
As for the journey to the dune, Najeeb Al Zadjali explained, “We went from Muscat to Qarn Alam in Al Wusta Region. There, we were supported by Al Maha Petroleum Products Marketing Company, which provided us with a tank of fuel to complete the trip successfully."
"Together with 120 people, we had an adventure into that area. After the end of the adventure on 25th of February, we went to Al Ghaba, from where we travelled about 700 kilometres until we got to the historical Al Shisr area, where we camped.
The next day, on the 26th, we headed in the early morning to the Neyabat of Al Hashaman, but the team leader’s car broke down so we took it to the Neyabat of Al Hashaman to be transported to Muscat.
"We completed the journey to Ramlet Jadilah travelling on sands for 90 kilometers and reached there at 2pm. There, we met the guide Abdullah Mohammad Al Harizi who met us on the way and offered to accompany us to the dune. When we arrived, about 12 kilometers away from the dune area, it appeared from afar like a volcanic mountain.”
Raef Ald Yahyai said, “Upon arriving, we started surveying the area so that we can find the closest and easiest point to climb up to the top. We started studying ways to climb the dune either by car or on foot. We planned the climbing route with the assistance of experts in the group who are dune enthusiasts, and we began to prepare for climbing.”
Ahmed Al Balushi said, “We started climbing in two groups. One group went up by car, and five of the nine cars in the convoy made the climb up the dune. The other group was on foot, and included two people: Abdul Rahman Al Zadjali and Hasen Al Balushi.
"We reached the summit in 45 minutes. According to the Geographic Positioning System (GPS), the summit’s height is 455 meters. This climb was not easy because, as we expected, we found many sharp slopes to the extent that one of the cars was about to overturn. It was the first time in the history of this region that a car managed the climb up the dune.”
Walid Al Zadjali said, “After the car convoy reached the top of the dune, the two people who decided to climb on foot caught up to us at the summit after 10 minutes, so they took 55 minutes overall. They were so exhausted that they ended up climbing on all four limbs."
"The team leaders, Mohamed Al Zadjali and Walid Al Zadjali, decided to come down from the top of the dune on foot and to give the car to Hasen and Abdul Rahman.”
The two described their feelings after the completion of the task and reaching the summit, saying, "We felt that we achieved something that seemed like an impossible fantasy. It was a historic achievement, and why not if it will add something to Oman."
Ahmed Al Maimani said, “After we got down from the dune, it was getting dark, so we decided to camp and spend the night in the area. We then started to set up tents and prepare our tools. But something happened that we had never imagined: a strong sandstorm struck, so we were unable to erect the tents.
“We faced a big problem as we were all exhausted, and it was difficult to drive back, to camp or even to spend the night in the cars. Fortunately, the problem was resolved, as the Assistant Wali of Al Mazyona, Mohamed Musallam Al Harizi, offered that we go with them to spend the night at the guest house of the Deputy Wali and we welcomed it as it was the best and most suitable solution.”
Shakir Al Balushi said that climbing by car was not easier than climbing on foot, because it involved a bigger challenge. He explained that the SUVs were climbing up hundreds of meters in soft sands that could collapse, and that the summit was like "a sharp sword which needed the utmost control in driving the car.
The Assistant Deputy Wali of Al Mazyona, Mohammed Musallam Al Harizi, said that this region needs to be promoted as a tourist destination through highlighting it as a natural Omani tourist attraction, especially as it is the highest sand dune in the world.
“It is one of the natural riches that God gave our beloved country. So why don't we promote it and take care of it?”
Ali Khan, a Pakistani national, who is interested in drone photography, said, “It was a unique adventure and a good opportunity to take many wonderful natural pictures, which highlight the extent of exclusivity and privacy in such a place.”
Faisal Al Raisi said, “I enjoyed this adventure very much. As the hill is of such high altitude, exclusivity and privacy, I suggest holding international competitions, particularly adventures and challenges like the competitions conducted by Red Bull.”