Oman – North to South

A totally immersive journey through Oman from the Musandam peninsula to Salalah.

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DAY 1ARRIVE KHASAB

Musandam is Oman’s northernmost region and is known to many as the Norway of Arabia. It is most easily accessible by road from Dubai or a short flight from Muscat. On arrival, transfer to your hotel in the city of Khasab.

Enjoy a Dhow cruise through the fjords here in the evening. Dolphins make regular appearances in the waters of Musandam, following the local fishermen as they go in search of tuna and other local species. Return to hotel for dinner.

Khasab: Overnight at Atana Khasab | Atana Musandam | Esra Apartments

DAY 2EXPLORE KHASAB

Musandam contains some of Oman’s most spectacular scenery. The stunning peaks of the Fjords of Arabia plunge from 2000 metres into the azure water, where tropical reefs provide shelter for an abundance of colourful fish.

After breakfast, enjoy a morning mountain safari around Khasab and environs. Whilst the waterways of Musandam are the main attraction here, the mountainous interior runs them a close second. Here you’ll find some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in Oman, comprising a string of great limestone peaks and massifs. Drive to Jebel Harim (2087 meters), the highest mountain in the region and enjoy the fantastic scenery of Musandams’ mountains, speckled with fossils dating back several million years.
Rest of day at leisure.

Khasab: Overnight at Atana Khasab | Atana Musandam | Esra Apartments.

DAY 3KHASAB TO JEBEL AKHDAR VIA MUSCAT

Early morning transfer to Khasab airport for your flight to Muscat. On arrival, travel by private vehicle to Jebel Akhdar, a relaxing and at times spectacular 2.5 hour drive from Muscat International Airport.

Check in to your hotel, enjoy lunch and a relaxing afternoon on the property. Jebel Akhdar sits more than 2000m metres above sea level and the highlands here have a Mediterranean-style climate that is perfect for growing sweet-scented roses for rosewater, as well as apples, stone fruit, pomegranates, almonds and grapes.

Jebel Akhdar: Overnight at Sahab Hotel | Alila Jabal Akhdar | Jabal Akhdar Hotel

DAY 4JEBEL AKHDAR

Enjoy an early morning escorted walk through local villages to view their gorgeous orchards and rock rose plantings. First introduced by Persian settlers, they are now widely cultivated, filling the air with fragrance when they burst into bloom in April and May. The petals are plucked by hand in the cool of the morning, then boiled to produce a vapour which condenses into the finest rosewater.

After lunch depart Jebel Akhdar and drive towards Oman’s cultural capital, Nizwa. This Oasis city was once the capital of Julanda Dynasty in the 6th and 7th Century AD. Today it remains as the most popular tourist attractions with its historical buildings and imposing fort – now Oman’s most visited national monument.

Nizwa is one of the oldest cities in Oman and was for centuries a vital hub of trade, religion, education and art. These days it’s also known for its famed souq or market. Vendors here sell everything from meat, fish, fruits and vegetables to spices, dates and gold. But Nizwa is also renowned for its silver jewellery which is considered to be the best in the country. Explore the renowned souq in the evening.

Nizwa: Overnight at Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel | Falaj Daris Hotel Nizwa | Al Diyar Hotel

DAY 5NIZWA

Rise early to travel to Nizwa’s famous weekly goat and cattle market where farmers come from far and wide to trade livestock in a time-honoured tradition. This is one of the liveliest markets in all of Oman. Explore Nizwa Fort, with its enormous circular tower built in the 17th century by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya’Aruba to defend the route to the interior.

The fort dominates the entire area, with the town having grown around the edifice. Access to the top is only by means of a narrow twisting staircase barred by heavy wooden doors, studded with metal. From the top of the tower one can get a bird’s eye view of the Nizwa city.

Enjoy with lunch at a local restaurant, before returning to your hotel for an afternoon and evening at leisure.

Nizwa: Overnight at Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel | Falaj Daris Hotel Nizwa | Al Diyar Hotel.

DAY 6NIZWA TO SHARQIYA SANDS

Depart Nizwa and journey to the famed pottery village of Bahla, have lunch in the idyllic village of Misfah Al Abreeyan emerging from an oasis of green against a rugged mountain backdrop, enjoy a photo stop in Birkat Al Mawz, then on to magical Jabrin Castle.

Dating back to 1670, the castle is not only famous for its recently restored beautiful structure, detailed lattice-work, famous curved arches and detailed hand-chiselled doors, but also for its local folklore of magic and wizardry. Gaze out over the surrounding landscape from the Sun and Moon chambers, and from the stunning rooftop offering uninterrupted views in every direction.

Complete today’s journey across the vast Sharqiya Sands. Running south from the Eastern Hajar Mountains to Arabian Sea, this sand sea has dunes that rise above 100-150 metres in different shades of colour – the perfect place for both the romantic and the adventurous.

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

DAY 7SHARQIYA SANDS TO SUR

After breakfast check-out and depart.

Living within and along the Sands is approximately 3000 pastoralist Bedouins from different tribes who own mainly herds of goats and camels. On our way, we will stop at a Bedouin house, meet the very hospitable people not spoilt by tourism and enjoy traditional Omani kahwa (cardamom infused Omani coffee) and dates.

From here you will leave Sharqiya Sands behind you, returning to sealed roads for the journey east to the port city of Sur. Bring your swimmers and, en-route, enjoy a refreshing swim in an emerald green waterhole – Wadi Bani Khalid.

Continue to Sur, check in to your hotel and prepare for a fascinating evening at the nearby turtle sanctuary of Ras Al Jinz. Enjoy a torchlight encounter with enormous nesting sea turtles as they haul themselves from the sea to lay their precious eggs.

Sur: Overnight at Sur Beach Hotel | Sur Plaza Hotel | Al Ayjah Plaza Hotel | Rass Al Jinz Turtle Reserve | Turtle Beach Hotel.

DAY 8SUR TO MUSCAT

Depart Sur this morning for the journey north-west along the coast to Muscat. the journey takes visitors through some of Oman’s most famous wadi’s (river ways) such as Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi where you can explore oases, havens for some ancient villages that were built around the waterways of Oman’s coastal region.

Visit Bimah Sinkhole, a spectacular limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom – a surreal place for a swim.

An often missed town is Quriyat, one of Oman’s historical coastal towns that was ruthlessly sacked during the Portuguese invasion in the 16th Century.

Muscat: Overnight at your choice of Muscat Hotel.

 

DAY 9MUSCAT

After breakfast, meet your driver in the lobby of your hotel for a day exploring Muscat. Start your day with a visit to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (Closed on Fridays), which is an architectural marvel and is perhaps the new landmark of the city.

Completed in 2001, the Grand Mosque stands proudly as a contemporary place of worship, serving as a spiritual landmark for modern Oman, projecting the values and aspirations of the Omani people. It is home to one of the largest Crystal Chandeliers in the world – weighing 8 tonnes and suspended from the 50 metre high central dome – as well as a hand stitched Persian carpet that took 600 weavers four years to make, measuring 70 by 60 metres and weighs over 21 tonnes.

Leaving the Grand Mosque, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before heading to the seafront suburb of Mutrah for the afternoon. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the rowdy fish markets before moving straight onto Mutrah Souk to explore the market amid the perfumed smoke of Frankincense – the perfume of the gods – in the air. Your haggling urges filled, make your way to the Oman Museum, a photo-stop at Al Alam Palace flanked by the ancient Forts of Mirani and Jalali, built by the Portuguese during their reign in Oman.

Muscat: Overnight at your choice of Muscat Hotel.

DAY 10MUSCAT

Enjoy at day at leisure.

Muscat: Overnight at your choice of Muscat Hotel.

DAY 11MUSCAT TO SALALAH

Morning transfer to the airport to meet your flight to Salalah in the Dhofar region in the south of Oman.

Rest of the day at leisure. In the evening visit Al Husn Souk located in the middle of Salalah’s fascinating old town.

Salalah: Overnight at Juweira Hotel | Rotana Hotel | Crowne Plaza | Hilton Salalah | Al Fanar Hotel | Anantara Al Baleed Resort

DAY 12TOURING EAST SALALAH

Today you will explore the capital of Dhofar, starting with the Museum of the Land of the Frankincense Trail then into East Salalah. Drive past the Royal Farm and the Mamura Palace to arrive at Taqa. The village is known for its sardines and here you will see the Taqa Castle before proceeding to Samhuram with its ancient port from where frankincense was traded. You will also see the remains of Queen Sheba’s Palace on top of a small hill overlooking the KhorRawri.

Continue by the coastal road to the old city of Mirbat famous for its Arabian Horses. A walk around the town reveals Mirbat Castle overlooking the sea and some old and beautiful old merchant houses with their carved doors and windows.

Salalah: Overnight at Juweira Hotel | Rotana Hotel | Crowne Plaza | Hilton Salalah | Al Fanar Hotel | Anantara Al Baleed Resort

DAY 13WEST SALALAH TO MUSCAT

After breakfast meet your guide at the lobby & set for your tour to West Salalah visiting Job’s tomb marking the place where the remains of the Moslem Prophet known as Job in the Old Testament can be found.

Continue to Mughsail beach which stretches for several kilometres with high cliffs on either side. This area also has an abundance of bird life such as flamingos, pelicans and stork. The tour ends with a visit to see frankincense trees, which produce the incense for which this region is famous.

Enjoy a lunch of Madhabi – meat cooked on stones, served with rice & sauce.

Later drop off at the airport for your flight back to Muscat. Transfer to your hotel.

Muscat: Overnight at your choice of Muscat Hotel.

DAY 14DEPART MUSCAT

Check out of your hotel, conclude your itinerary, and commence your onward journey. Or stay longer, revisit Mutrah souq and purchase some local treasures as keepsakes of your odyssey around Oman.

ITINERARY INCLUDES

  • Airport transfers
  • All in-destination transport/touring
  • Local, English-speaking driver/guide
  • Bottled water
  • 13 nights accommodation
  • Breakfasts daily and meals as specified by the tour operator upon enquiry
  • Domestic flights

NOTES

Vehicle Type: 4WD on tour and/or Sedan Car in Muscat
Touring Style: Private tour with your own dedicated Omani Guide/Driver