Adrian Hayes Journey Launches


      Salalah, Oct 29 (ONA)--- The Launching journey of the British traveler (Adrian Hayes) on footsteps of Wilfred Thesiger via Al Rub' Al Khali desert or (Empty Quarter) was celebrated at Al Baleed Archeological Park in Salalah today under the auspices of Maithaa bint Saif al-Mahrouqiyah, Tourism Ministry's Undersecretary in the presence of a number of officials.

     Khalid bin Mussalam al-Rowas, Director General of Tourism in the Governorate of Dhofar gave a speech during which he said that geography in the Sultanate of Oman has a story via history where stretching of the Sultanate's lands, variety of terrains, climate and environments, the foremost of which are the Omani Bedouin areas and deserts that encouraged adventurers and explorers to track them across the history.

     He added that the great expedition of Wilfred Thesiger who is known among Bedouin tribes in the Sultanate and the Arab Peninsula in mid and end of forties under the name of Mubarak bin London, is considered among the great expeditions documented in the 20th century through which he crossed deserts of the Sultanate and the Arabian Peninsula starting from Salalah in the South of Oman towards the North till beaches of the Arabian Gulf, as well as to its West till Al Mukalla and Hadhramout.  He explained that the adventurer Bertram Thomas came before this expedition in 1930.

     The Director General of Tourism said that Thesiger's book "Arabian Lands" recounted the expedition, its stages and customs, traditions and culture of Bedouins, as well as the areas he crossed in his historic expedition while crossing the Empty Quarter Desert, all of which stress the importance and greatness of the desert and its features.  He pointed out that there are people who would like to repeat history and retrace footsteps, which are considered as a memorial for previous great adventurers with difference in time and preparations.

     He furthered that the Tourism Ministry sponsoring such activities comes from the perspective to promote for the Omani tourist product with its unique potentials; beaches, plains, mountains, caves and wadis.

     He also pointed out that the Tourism Ministry sponsoring this event "Adrian Hayes expedition," it also extends utmost thanks to his initiative to retrace footsteps of Wilfred Thesiger. He also expressed his thanks to all governmental and national departments that contributed and will contribute in ensuring the success of this expedition including the Office of Advisor to His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs, the Information Ministry, the Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar Office and the Royal Oman Police (ROP), wishing the adventurer Adrian Hayes and his companions all success.

     On her turn, Maithaa bint Saif al-Mahrouqiyah, Tourism Ministry's Undersecretary said that the Sultanate was and still is linked with its ancient past, which depicts the authenticity of the Omani people, heritage and life of the Omani man whether in cities, rural or Bedouin areas, which a pride for everybody on this dear land.

     In a statement to journalists, al-Mahrouqiyah pointed out that the Tourism Ministry seeks to support and sponsor all that promotes for the Omani tourist product and showing it to the world with a better image through the continuous support for all that highlighting the Sultanate on the global tourism map.  "Adrian Hayes with his companions will retrace footsteps of "Mubarak bin London" as he is known among Bedouin tribes in the region by riding camels," she said.

     She also added that celebrating the traveler "Adrian Hayes," who will complete the expedition by relying on simple supply from the Omani Bedouin tribes along the expedition, which will extend to about 30 days on the Sultanate's lands, comes to promote for the Sultanate's rich heritage to focus on the Omani heritage and life of Bedouins in Oman, as well as others in the Arabian Peninsula and the way of their living, which will enable citizens and tourists to view the past and present of the Sultanate. "It will also allow media means, which will accompany the expedition while crossing various lands of the Sultanate whether through land or air means, pictures and documentaries of the expedition, to highlight beauty of the Omani desert and hospitality of its people, as well as highlighting tourist potentials of the desert of Oman," al-Mahrouqiyah said. 

     She furthered that, in addition to the adventure team, another team comprising three persons from the Sultanate's sons who know desert routes in the Sultanate will also take part. "The expedition will cross a number of stations for rest and it will cross 30 Km a day," she said.

     In his speech, traveler Adrian Hayes talked about his expedition during which he will cross Al Ruba' Al Khali Desert on camels starting from Salalah till the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  He also gave a detailed presentation for the expedition route, which comes to retrace footsteps of the adventurer Wilfred Thesiger.

      He pointed out that he dreamed to retrace the expedition since he was working in the Sultanate.  He said that the two years he stayed in the Sultanate were enough to love features of geography in the Sultanate and the nature of its people.

     During the launching ceremony, Hayes explained the expedition route that penetrates Al Ruba' Al Khali.  He pointed out that the tools that will be used to guide the route are primitive and he will be supplied by those living in Bedouin areas with simple ration and relying on natural water resources.  He expressed his delight for this major attention and distinguished launching ceremony for the kick off of the desert expedition.

     Hayes expedition will kick off from Al Baleed Archeological Park in Salalah and it will cross a number of the Omani desert areas that extend from Al Ruba' Al Khali through Jabal Ittin, Al Ayoon area in A'Najd, Wadi Ghadoun and wadis of Melhait, Khoufar in the Niyabat of Shasr in the Wilayat of Thumrait, then to the Wilayat of Maqshan, Wadi Maqshan, Ramlat Gharbaniyat and Umm A'Samim by retracing the closest routes to the path crossed by Thesiger in mid and end of forties.

    Wilfren Thesiger had described sands of Al Ruba' Al Khali (The Empty Quarter Desert), Bedouins and their nature, as well as recording geographical phenomena in the region that he crossed in his book "Arabian Sands".  He also lived along with Bedouins who named him "Mubarak bin London".

     It is worth noting that Al Ruba' Al Khali (The Empty Quarter Desert) has captured the attention of adventurers.  Wilfred Thesiger was not the only one who crossed Al Ruba' Al Khali as the traveler Bertram Thomas who came before him and crossed Al Ruba' Al Khali from the South to the North starting from Salalah in 1930.  Thomas also wrote a book under the name "Arabia Felix".

     Al Baleed Archeological area is considered the starting point of the English adventurer and explorer Adrian Hayes.  The area is linked with producing and exporting Luban (frankincense).  It is also registered at the World Cultural and Natural Heritage List under the name "Frankincense Route," due to the importance of the site as it has a world humanitarian value.

     The Office of the Advisor to His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs has implemented a number of development, maintenance and protection projects, in addition to conducting survey, documenting and environmental studies for Al Baleed Archeological Site, besides developing a number of other sites related to producing and exporting Frankincense, which were added as part of the World Heritage Sites, such as Wadi Dokah, Shasr "Wabar" and Sumharam.

     The archeological area of Al Baleed was converted to a park and integrated complex that includes the Frankincense Land Museum, which displays marine history and heritage of the Sultanate in general and the Governorate of Dhofar in particular though various presentation halls, lecture halls, documentaries that highlight the Sultanate's civilization since centuries before the birth of Christ till the Renaissance era.

--- Ends/ KH/FS