Can you give us a brief overview of Magic Camps, its history and what it offers?
Magic Camps belongs to our main company, Magic Travels, which is a Destination Management Company that was created in 1985. Magic Travels handles tourists travel arrangements in a destination from hotel bookings, to transportation, the provision of expert guides, reservations at ‘top notch’ restaurants and much more.
Magic Travels has always provided the very best holiday experiences to our guests. In each of the destinations it operates, one of our aims is to offer something different. In this increasingly global world this can be a challenge, however every country where we operate is unique and as a group of companies we have nearly 40 years of experience. This gives us a deep understanding of our products as well as of our guest’s expectations. In short, we are highly knowledgeable and very experienced.
In 2019, we saw a gap in the market of Middle East. We knew that luxury camping was successful in Africa, but no one had brought it to the deserts of Arabia. We also anticipated the expectations of our guest’s eco-responsibility and original travel experiences, so we took this opportunity and created Magic Camps, our eco-friendly and luxury desert camps in Oman and the UAE.
Tell us more about the Magic Camps destinations and what makes them all so special…
They were first set up as a fixed camp in Oman, at the heart of the gorgeous Wahiba Sands desert. We chose the Sultanate of Oman because it perfectly reflects undefinable and mysterious spirit: the country combines Arabian Peninsula authenticity, deep-rooted culture, peace and a wonderful natural environment. The natural sites are breathtaking in Oman: you will find deep-sided wadis, containing oases where you can swim in warm, emerald water pools surrounded by lush palm groves, but also deep canyons, astonishing mountain views in the Jebel Akhdar region, incredible marine fauna in Sur and the Damaniyat islands. Culture is also very rich, with old, charming Yemenite villages, forts, palaces and majestic mosques. The authenticity of the Sultanate is extraordinary – which has luckily not been a victim of mass tourism – and its high level of safety makes it currently one of the favourite destinations for all travellers.
The Magic Camps concept was then extended to the UAE, into the desert of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. As these destinations are developing at an incredibly fast pace with cities and coastlines awash with luxury hotels our concept allows visitors to escape and experience the calm of a desert night, and a perfect counterpoint a city or beach stay, With the World EXPO at took place in 2021 in Dubai, the Emirates have taken a turn to massively invest in green technologies and eco-responsible programs of which our camps play a small modest part.
What are some of the less commonly known things about these places that make them must-visit destinations?
The UAE is increasingly becoming a flagship for responsible travel. They are now unveiling unknown tourist attractions: beautiful natural parks, mangroves, diverse fauna and flora, adventure trips – all far from the hustle and bustle of the city and beaches.
Regarding Oman, the Sultanate is very little-known and relative to its neighbours, much less visited by tourists. Oman was long ruled by Sultan Qaboos Kaboos, an educated leader who developed the country’s infrastructures, public services and access to culture and health care, His aim was to preserve Omani culture and identity whist modernising the country and in so doing, he enabled Oman to retain much of its tradition and natural environment.
You are re-opening Magic Camps Oman this September, can you tell us a bit more about this and what guests can expect?
From May to September, the camps need to keep their doors closed, as the desert is stifling hot during summer. This desert camp caters to those who want to explore nature and live a unique experience in the most authentic way possible. The operation is very attentive and respectful of the environment. We do not use generators, we only use solar energy, we buy local food, and we use local resources and we try to be as sustainable as possible. Secondly, it is exclusive! Our Wahiba Sands camp has only 10 tents, which enable us to create an intimate atmosphere in the camp, and each bedroom tent has its own bathroom tent with private shower and toilets. The tents are made and furnished of natural materials fabric. The whole experience is built on being closer to the desert, and at the same time enjoying charming and refined surroundings.
What food and activities will be on offer?
The food at Magic Camps is a delicious blend of local and European flavours. It is prepared with fresh ingredients and cooked by creative local chefs.
The experience at Magic Camps is immersive: our guests’ taste buds are charmed of the local culture and the activities aim to unveil the magic of the desert and local traditions, but also to give guests a sense of calm and wellbeing.
They can join a camel ride, a hike in the dunes, a stargazing session with an astronomer or a falcon show to learn more about the fascinating Bedouin culture. But they can also enjoy a fun ride on a sand board or a thrilling fat bike ride in the dunes: fat bikes are electric bikes that enable to climb the highest dunes with zero impact on the environment.
They will also find sunrise yoga sessions, activities for kids… Magic Camps has something for everyone!
What makes a trip with Magic Camps so different in your eyes?
Magic Camps is a unique concept in Oman and the UAE as it offers an eco-conscious glamping experience: high-end services and eco-responsible amenities. No other camp is located so far into the Wahiba Sands desert, and this away-from-it-all experience is truly incomparable and magical.
What are the best times of year to visit Oman?
The ideal time to visit Oman is from mid-September to end of May. In summer, temperatures and humidity are very high, however the amazing southern region of Dhofar with its legendary r frankincense trees and the with the seaside city of Salalah remains more temperate – in fact it rains in summer and many travel here just for that!. To put it in a nutshell, Oman can be visited all year long, depending on where you would like to go!
What do you think is most important to guests when they select travel destinations? And how do you incorporate this into tours at Magic Camps?
Nowadays, after the COVID-19 pandemic, guests have changed their expectations. Eco-consciousness was already very important in travellers’ choice before the crisis but it has now become a more important consideration in people travel choices. Also, immersion and experiential travel ….allowing guest to get closer to local culture and people meeting. Travellers are tiring of ‘fast travel’, hopping from one place to the other without taking the time to discover and deeply enjoy people and places so in addition to our Camps we have launched a new range of adventure and eco-friendly excursions and experiences in all our destinations: Branded Beyond, these unique experiences allow our guests can get closer to nature, meet local people and live authentic, original experiences from soft adventure kayaking, biking or climbing trips to cooking lessons, handicraft classes, and dining with local families’ to name just a few.
What memories or emotions do you hope travellers are left with at the end of a Magic Camps experience?
We want them to understand why Magic Camps are named this way! And we want their trip to Oman to be the best of their lives thanks to their ‘magical’ experience in our hands We have had guests tell us about the intense emotion they felt when they witnessed the sunset at our cocktail lounge located on top of a high dune in the Wahiba Sands, and some said that the show was so beautiful that they cried with emotion!
What else do you have in store for 2022/23?
In the southern region of Salalah: we have a new Magic Camps setup in preparation. This is a region even less discovered than the north. White sand beaches, natural wonders, the mountains of the Dhofar – destined to be a region that Magic stamps our own particular brand of travel experience upon. Our bet is that it will be soon a top destination in the heart of our guests.
And watch this space – the historic country of Jordan is a country in which Magic was born. The astonishing landscapes of towering wind carved cliffs of Wadi Rum offer dramatic panoramas…and could be the place that guests find the next Magic Camp.
To find out more about Magic Camps, go to their website at www.magic-camps.com or email directly to book a trip at either the Oman or UAE camps.