Rock Garden Duqm – Duqm, Oman - Atlas Obscura
Holiday Gift Guide: Atlas Obscura Books and Calendars

Duqm, Oman

Rock Garden Duqm

A section of the desert with an array of unusual sandstone and limestone formations.  

Whichever way you approach this place, you’re likely to have traveled through hundreds of kilometers of rocky desert.  It is, therefore, somewhat surprising to find 3 square km of desert fenced off and signposted “Rock Garden.”  If you leave behind any preconceived ideas of what a garden may look like, and focus instead on the rock part of the name, you’ll be better prepared for the site.

At first sight, there is little (if any) difference between the fenced off and the surrounding area.  Yet, once you start wandering around, you’ll find a curious array of sandstone and limestone formations. Water, wind and millions of years combined managed to create this bizarre landscape. 

Almost perfectly spherical stones sit next to rocks resembling animals, thrones, human body parts, and whatever else your imagination can conjure up. Some large rocks stand balanced on smaller ones, while others sit at improbable angles. 

It may not be the most jaw-dropping site you’ll ever see, but it does provide the chance to marvel at the beauty of rocks.  There is something hypnotic about contemplating the way time has made some rocks smooth, and others jagged, some flaky and others scaly, and so on. If you take time to notice these little variations, the Rock Garden has a striking variety of rock surfaces, shapes, and colors.

Know Before You Go

There is no office or information on site.  There are plans to develop this site to attract tourism, but at the time of writing, you’re more likely to come across lizards, geckos, and skinks than tourists.  Some visitors have reported coming across packs of aggressive stray dogs.  Should this be the case, it is possible to drive through the garden along easily recognizable tracks.

Community Discussion