Camping style: permanent dorm-style tents
Keywords: Bunk beds, goats, dhow trips
Let’s get this straight: the Sheesa Beach campsite in Dibba isn’t on a beach. It’s near a beach, yes, but not as near as the three-minute walk promised by staff when they pointed us in the vague direction of the Gulf of Oman. No, the campsite is set up in a goat-attracting date plantation a good 15-minute walk from the beach, which was a little disappointing. However, we soon got into the swing of things once daylight dimmed, lanterns were lit and the campsite stopped looking like a scout camp and more a fun place to hang out with friends.
We found that this is the key – go in a group and take over one of the dorm room-style tents. Note: no need for tent pegs and a mallet here – the marquees are permanently erect and complete with bunk beds (note: couples could find themselves sharing with strangers). There’s also a sparkling toilet and shower block. Be armed to the teeth with books, board games, playing cards and snacks (we arrived at 5pm with very little to do other than wait for dinner at 8pm) and you’re in for a jolly time. Such preparation will also put you in good stead for the next morning, when non-scuba divers are left until noon to be picked up for the dhow cruise.
We can’t help but feel the ‘Camp and Cruise Combo’ package offered by Sheesa is weighted all wrong – we would have preferred to get there early, take our cruise and head back for dinner and a few spooky stories around the fire, rather than arriving in Dibba at sunset and departing for Dubai late the next day. But that’s just us.
Getting there: Head north down Dubai Bypass Outer Road (611) until you meet Al Dhaid Road (88). Turn eastward and continue as far as Route 89, which you follow north until reaching Dibba. Once you’ve crossed the Omani border into Dibba, turn right after the mosque and head to the port where you’ll find the Sheesa Beach office. Staff will escort you to the campsite from there.
The Camp and Cruise combo costs Dhs395 per adult, Dhs295 for children aged five to 12, free for under fives. Pick-up and drop-off in Dubai can be arranged for an extra Dhs400. www.sheesabeach.com/camping (050 333 6046).