Essence of Oman

Castles, forts, mountain villages, Bedouin encounters, dunes and the best of Muscat.

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DAY 1ARRIVE MUSCAT

Arrive into Muscat International Airport and transfer to hotel.
Rest of the day at your leisure

Muscat: Overnight at your choice of Muscat Hotel

DAY 2MUSCAT SIGHTSEEING

After breakfast, head out on a grand tour of Muscat, beginning appropriately at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, a modern architectural masterpiece of epic proportions. Built from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone, the interior features include the second largest chandelier in the world and beneath it, a hand woven prayer rug that truly defies belief. Measuring 70 x 60 metres this single-piece Persian carpet took a team of weavers 27 months to complete.

From the mosque head to Mutrah and visit the Bait Al Zubair Museum, and pass by Qasr Al Alam – His Majesty’s Palace. For a complete change of pace, visit the fish market and vibrant Mutrah Souk. Feel free to bargain with the local merchants hawking their wares inside a labyrinth of well-stocked alleyways and corridors.

After a typically Omani lunch, return to your hotel. Afternoon and evening at leisure.

Muscat: Overnight at your choice of Muscat Hotel

DAY 3NIZWA, JABRIN CASTLE AND JEBAL SHAMS

After breakfast, head to Nizwa, the heritage capital of Oman, famous for its marvellous 17th Century Fort. Nizwa Souq is a great place to buy ornamental silver jewellery and intricately hand-carved ‘khanjars’ (daggers). If you happen to be here on a Friday, also spend some time taking in all the action at the cattle market.

From Nizwa, head to Jabrin, stopping en route at Bahla. This historic walled town is famous for its pottery and World Heritage listed Fort. It is quite spectacular, but many would argue the castle at Jabrin reigns supreme; lauded for the inscriptions and frescoes that adorn its many rooms. Its carved doors and painted ceilings are equally stunning.

Finally, head for Jebal Shams, the highest point on the Arabian Peninsula. The mountains here are rugged but the views they afford over Oman’s 1,000m deep “Grand Canyon” are breath-taking.

Jabel Shams: Overnight at Jabel Shams Resort | Jabel Shams Heights Resort | Sunrise Resort

DAY 4WALK JEBAL SHAMS, TO SHARQIYA SANDS

This morning, set off to explore the surrounding landscapes and join an optional hike to visit the last village in the canyon. Following lunch today, journey to Sharqiya Sands. This is quite a surreal landscape with red and white dunes rising up to 200 metres.

And despite how dry the whole area is, it hosts a surprising variety of flora and fauna. Your experienced driver will thrill you with his 4×4 skills, tackling the dunes en-route to your desert campsite.

Sharqiya Sands: Overnight at Desert Nights Camp | Desert Palm | Arabian Oryx | Safari Camp

DAY 5TO RAS AL HADD VIA WADI BANI KHALID

This morning after breakfast, break camp and head off to visit a local Bedouin home. Here you will be welcomed to share a pot of traditional Bedouin coffee and learn all about their lives and highly prized camels. We continue driving to Wadi Bani Khalid – a beautiful valley with a number of picturesque villages set above the deep blue-green waters of the Khalid oasis. After a swim and a hearty, laid-back lunch, drive to the coast of Al Ashkhara and onto Ras Al Had. Check into your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

During the evening you will be guided down to the beach of Ras Al Jinz – a popular nesting site for the region’s giant green sea turtles. Depending on the timing of your visit, you may be fortunate to witness a large female turtle laboriously laying a clutch of eggs, or the frantic emergence of hundreds of hatchlings making their way to the sea. Either spectacle is a privileged experience – one that will leave you in awe.

DAY 6WALK WADI SHAB - RETURN TO MUSCAT

After breakfast, check out of the hotel and commence your journey back towards Muscat, stopping briefly near Sur to admire the time-honoured construction of a dhow – a traditional wooden sailing vessel still used in this part of the world for trade. Your next stop will be Wadi Shab. Here take a walk through the village and its lush green plantations then hike to its nearby oasis. After a swim, drive on to Muscat, where your trip arrangements conclude.

ITINERARY INCLUDES

  • Arrival & departure transfers
  • 5 nights accommodation
  • 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Internal transport by private vehicle
  • English speaking tour leader throughout Sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Bottled water

 

NOTES

Vehicle Type: 4WD on tour and/or Sedan Car in Muscat
Touring Style: Adventure Touring. Private vehicle.