The Empty Quarter is the largest “sand” desert in the world. It covers 250,000 square miles. It covers half of Saudi Arabia, most of Oman, most of United Arab Emirates and parts of Yemen. It is roughly the size of France. Classified as “hyper-arid”, the annual rainfall is less than 1.2 inches. Daily daytime temperatures average 117F during the summer months. The sand is reddish-orange in color because of the presence of iron oxides in the sand.
Ever since arriving in Saudi Arabia we have heard stories about the Empty Quarter. The beauty of it, the stars at night, on top of the extreme harshness. We where very interested in exploring one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. It all seemed very intriguing. It had been on our list of things to do while living in KSA. Several travel agencies offer weekend camping trips and some folks we know who have been living here for a long time often drive for many hours into the desert to camp. But taking a tour and driving three quarters of a day into the desert and then camping did not really interest us.
Up until now we were not sure how we would get a chance to visit the Empty Quarter. Several months ago, friends of ours, living on the compound, told us about a resort they had gone to. An hour flight to Abu Dhabi and a two hour car ride back to the Saudi border found us in this wonderful resort in the Empty Quarter. M.E. had a conference to go to in Abu Dhabi over the weekend so we arrived a day early and drove out to Qasr Al Sarab, translated means The Palace Mirage.
And wow what a place, and the desert was amazing too! Below are some photos of our stay in Qasr Al Sarab