Wild wadis, an untouched coastline, spectacular deserts, 16th century forts and castles and dramatic mountain scenery – Oman is the best kept secret in the Middle East. It is also one of the oldest civilisations in the Arabian Peninsula. Combining a fascinating ancient heritage with all the trappings of modernity, stunning accommodation and year-round sunshine, Oman is a surprising and unspoiled destination.
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Day 1: Arrive Muscat
A warm welcome to the Omani capital where you are met by A&K and transferred to your luxury accommodation. Located on the Arabian Peninsula, Muscat has a rich and vibrant culture and is a remarkably laid-back capital city with a friendly atmosphere. The rest of the day is yours to explore – wander through one of the city’s many souks and the fascinating port area or take a simple stroll along the beachfront in front of your hotel.
Hotel: The Chedi Muscat, 2 nights
Day 2: Muscat
Explore the enchanting port city of Muscat with your private guide. Tour the lavish Royal Opera House, built in 2011 which combines world class acoustics with Middle Eastern elegance. Stroll around the magnificent Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, a stunning example of contemporary Islamic architecture containing the second largest hand loomed Iranian carpet in the world. It is the only mosque in Oman open to non-Muslims. From its minarets, large golden dome, arches, engraved walls, decorated interior, unique lamps and central crystal chandelier, the mosque is an architectural wonder. Drive along the corniche, visit the fish market and enjoy a lunch of traditional Arabian cuisine.
After lunch discover the rich treasures inside the museum and cultural complex known as Bait Al Zubair Museum. Formerly a private home, it is now a showcase for traditional Omani crafts and culture from across the country. The treasure trove of exhibits includes black and white photographs of desert tribes, ornate and ancient khanjars (Omani swords), and headdresses and necklaces laden with pearls, lapis lazuli and turquoise. Be sure to see the permanent exhibition of local dress, which explains the purpose of each item of traditional clothing, from the waqaya (women’s head scarf) to the wazar (the wrap that men wear under their full-length dishdasha). Later explore the old Muscat area and finish with a visit to the souk, a traditional market on the corniche, with small shops selling Omani products such as colourful fabric, traditional clothes, silver and gold jewellery, and souvenirs.
Day 3: Muscat – Jabal Akhdar
Start the day with a perfume immersion when you visit the Amouage perfumery before leaving the city behind as you travel by 4WD to Bilad Sayt, one of Oman’s quaintest villages, at the foot of the towering and dramatic Hajar mountain ranges. The route continues to wind through mountains all the way to the village of Al Hamra, characterised by its mud houses and date plantations. Arrive at Jabal Akhdar (Green Mountain) named for the areas of greenery and plantations which cover the rocky terrain, and your extraordinary resort, which blends seamlessly into the rugged landscape.
Hotel: Alila Jabal Akhdar, 3 nights
Day 4: Jabal Akhdar
Proceed to the legendary Nizwa Fort at the foot of the Western Hajar mountains. In the ninth century, a stronghold was built to protect the town from marauding forces, and Nizwa Fort with its imposing sandstone structure has been added to and adapted ever since. Search out the metal spikes, booby traps and ‘murder holes’ (through which boiling hot date syrup was poured on to intruders) that made Nizwa so impenetrable. Make your way to the rooftop, where dozens of cannons would have once stood, for excellent views of the city.
The Nizwa souk is one of the oldest in the country and you’ll have time to wander through it, taking in the fresh produce and livestock (Friday mornings only) with excellent photographic opportunities. Continue to Jabrin, the finest of Oman’s castles, built in the late 17th century which became a seat of Omani learning. The castle displays the highest achievement in Omani ceiling painting and beautifully executed woodcarvings. Stop at the terrace farming village of Wadi Ghul before continuing to Wadi Nakheer located in the depth of Oman’s deepest canyon. At Wadi Nakheer get a chance to meet locals and weavers before returning to your hotel.
Day 5: Jabal Akhdar
Enjoy a day at leisure relaxing and soaking up the tranquillity of this inspirational location or taking in a spa treatment. Should you wish, an optional tour of Jabal Akhdar, considered the fruit bowl of Oman, can be arranged (additional cost). See the orchards laid out terrace-style along the mountain slopes and the traditional aflaj irrigation systems.
Day 6: Jabal Akhdar – Wahiba Sands
Today’s destination is Wahiba Sands, a vast mass of undulating dunes, some as high as 200-metres, whose ever-changing patterns are a photographer’s delight. Travel through Wadi Bani Khalid, a mountain area of small villages and waterfalls. The wadi (valley) is in the Al Sharqiyah Region and has several water pools as well as a spring that keeps water flowing inside the wadi all year long. Arrive at your Beduoin camp in time to see the changing colours of the desert during a golden sunset before dinner.
Hotel: Desert Nights Camp
Day 7: Wahiba Sands – Muscat
Experience the thrills of dune driving and observe the surprisingly wide array of flora and fauna found in the desert sands. Head out of camp to Sur, one of the few places that still produces traditional wooden dhows. Watch the craftsmen as they go about their highly skilled work. Journey to Fins beach for a swim and then drive onto the Bimah Sinkhole, a spectacular limestone crater filled with blue green water. Continue along the coast back to Muscat and on a clear day you may see sharks in the deep blue water or fleet footed gazelle sprint across the landscape.
Hotel: Shangri-La’s Al Husn Resort & Spa
Day 8: Depart Muscat
Farewell Oman as you transfer privately to the airport for your onward journey.
|2020 Dates & Prices||Twin Share||Solo Traveller|
|Departs Muscat Daily:||From $9,410.00||Price on Application|
|Meals:||7 breakfast, 5 lunches, 3 dinner|
|Transport:||Airport Transfers & Private air-conditioned vehicle|
|Accommodation:||7 nights accommodation|
|Guide:||English speaking guide|
|Entrance Fees & Touring:||Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary|
* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.