There's a point along legendary Hwy 31 – the often-deserted ghost road linking the northern town of Nizwa with Salalah, 870km to the south – where you could be forgiven for thinking the road had left planet Earth and resettled on the moon. Not a tree nor a bush, not a rock nor a sand dune, rises above the flat, gravelled disc of land. This is Al Wusta: Oman's arid central region.
Despite appearances from this central artery, however, the region does have features of interest. There's the port of Duqm, focus of an ambitious urbanisation and tourism project; a string of beautiful beaches that stretch along the entire length of Al Wusta, and there is the Quqf, a magnificent escarpment that's the home of the Arabian oryx. Factor in a share of the Empty Quarter offering opportunities for wild camping, and this remote, desert region rewards an adventurous spirit.