Visit the highlights of Oman
Oman, the most beautiful of the Gulf States boasts a rich culture and ancient heritage waiting to be discovered during this one week cultural adventure. Starting off in the capital of Muscat, here we gaze in awe at the Grand Mosque, wander through the colourful Mutrah Souq and see the Omani capital and coastline through seafarers eyes on a traditional dhow cruise. No visit to Oman is complete without exploring their magnificent landscapes on offer; camp and 4WD in the dunes of the Wahiba Sands; marvel at stunning views over the 'Grand Canyon of Arabia' from Jebel Shams, Oman's highest mountain; wade in the cooling, turquoise waters of some of the land's most idyllic desert oasis' and uncover the historic forts before witnessing the weekly live auction cattle market in Nizwa, an event not to be missed!
All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 5 dinners are included. Omani cuisine is influenced by Arab, Persian, Indian, Asian, Eastern Mediterranean, and African cuisine. Rice is a staple dish and often includes a variety of flavours and ingredients and meat such as chicken, fish and lamb feature prominently. Dishes are full of rich mixtures of spices, herbs and marinades. Dates are much loved and are an essential part of the Omani diet. Curry, soups, fresh salads, and vegetable dishes are all very common. Coffee is the national beverage but tea is also drunk. Yoghurt drinks and softs drinks are also popular. Alcohol is not readily available but can be purchased in some hotels and likely to be quite expensive. During the tour, you will have the opportunity to taste and experience a variety of dishes and eat in local eateries and restaurants. Included lunches will be picnic lunches and other meals will be eaten in local cafes/eateries. The night spent at the desert camp will also include a BBQ with traditional dishes. Non-Muslims are permitted to bring in two litres of alcohol by air only. Care must be taken not to cause offence through the use of alcohol and should not be consumed in public places apart from licensed premises, such as hotels & restaurants. Please advise at time of booking if you have any dietary requirements.
Upon arrival in Muscat in the morning; you will be met by your tour leader and transferred to our hotel. Later in the afternoon after a main group briefing, we will be picked up from our hotel and travel through the old part of Muscat and have a photo stop at the Sultan's palace. Afterwards, we visit the Siban Women's association where there is the opportunity to interact with the local woman and enjoy a coffee together before transferring to the marina to embark on a relaxed dhow cruise (traditional fisherman's boat). See the Muscat coast through the eyes of ancient seafarers who plied this route for centuries. During the cruise, soft drinks, tea, coffee and dates will be served on board. During the evening, we stop at a local restaurant for dinner and will be transported back through the centuries on a visit to the bustling, colourful Mutrah Souq. Here there will be lots of photo opportunities and chance to observe the local way of life whilst wandering around this vibrant traditional Arab market. *Ramee Guestline Hotel or similar*
After breakfast at the hotel, we check out and visit the Grand Mosque, the highlight of the Omani capital. Completed in 2001, the Grand Mosque is a beautiful building which looks modern but shows that modern craftsmen have retained the skills necessary to create this wonderful traditional environment. The handmade carpets, the chandeliers, the ceiling of the great dome in the main prayer room are absolute 'must sees'. Kindly note, ladies should be fully covered and please carry a head scarf and men should wear trousers. We then drive (approx.1.5 hours) to the Bimah Sinkhole, a spectacular limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom and Wadi Shaab where we enjoy a walk and picnic lunch before transferring (approx. 1 hour) to our hotel in Sur, where we will be spending the night. This evening after an early dinner, we’ll drive (approx. 1 hour) to Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve. Oman is a vital area for Green turtles in the Indian Ocean and the Green Back turtle are heavily protected by the government of Oman. In fact, over 275 of the Sultanate's beaches double-up as nesting grounds for five of the seven recognized species of sea turtles, the most common being the Green Back turtle. Here we are led to the beach by an ecologist to see the female turtles return to their beach to lay eggs. (Please note that the main nesting season is June-August, at other times of the year, there may or not be turtles every night but a visit to the reserve is still worthwhile). *Sur Plaza or similar*
This morning after breakfast, we first transfer (approx. 1 hour and 45 min) to the desert oasis of Wadi Bani Khalid to relax a bit and enjoy a swim in the beautiful turquoise pools and a picnic lunch before continuing (approx. 1-1.5 hours) to the Wahiba Desert. Here, on the edge of the desert, we change vehicles from the minibus to 4WDs to begin our desert experience. The Wahiba Sands, a vast mass of undulating red and white sea of sand and dunes rising up to 200 meters are also host to a variety of flora and fauna. The ever-changing patterns of the dunes are a photographer’s delight. We further drive towards the dunes and our desert camp (approx. 1 hour) to check in for the evening. During our time at the camp, there is the chance to take a camel ride (optional- extra cost). *1000 Nights Camp or similar*
Breakfast at camp before checking out and driving towards the ancient city of Nizwa, Oman's former capital. En-route we visit a Bedouin family, and enjoy Kahwa (local Omani Coffee) and spend some time with them learning about their customs and traditional way of life. We’ll continue our drive via Birkat al Mouz, one of the region's most well known village ruin. We’ll walk through its oasis and date plantations before continuing to Nizwa. With the 2 sets of ruins, a large banana plantation and the scenic surroundings, the site is also home to the old Falaj irrigation system listed as UNESCO World heritage. Upon arrival in Nizwa, we check into our hotel where we will spend the next two nights. *Tanuf Residency Hotel or similar*
After breakfast at the hotel, we take a short drive (approx. 30 minutes) to visit 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 & beautifully executed woodcarvings. We also pause at the Bahla Fort for a photo, the only UNESCO listed fort in the country and lovingly restored over many years before transferring (approx.1.5 hours) to Wadi Nakher, located in the depth's of Oman's deepest canyon. Here we enjoy a picnic lunch before proceeding to Jebel Shams, Oman's highest mountain and where we can enjoy spectacular views of the 'Grand Canyon of Arabia.' Later in the afternoon we visit (transfer pprox. 45 minutes) to the village of Misfat Al Arbayeen, passing the ruins of an old fort on the way. We continue through narrow alleys between old stone houses and take a short walk in the Tanoof old abandoned village before returning back (approx. 30 minutes) to Nizwa for the evening. *Tanuf Residency Hotel or similar*
Today is a longer day and we start our morning with a visit Nizwa's famous live cattle auction market, the one day of the week where this ancient city truly comes alive which sees farmers and traders arrive from near and afar to barter and trade in one of the Middle East's most renowned markets. We’ll visit the impressive Nizwa Fort, built in the 17th century to defend the city’s natural wealth and its strategic location. Later we visit Nizwa's renowned Souq, famous for intricately hand-carved “Khanjars” (daggers) & ornamental silver jewelry and live-stock trading. Departing Nizwa, we continue to Wadi Bani Auf; this stretch of graded road is very adventurous as it involves steep bends and bumpy roads. When there is wet weather conditions, it may not be possible to drive this section of graded road due to safety. If this occurs, an alternative stretch of road will be driven. Then stop at the charming mountain village of Bilad Sayt where one is awestruck by the beauty of the landscape. This afternoon we stop for a photo stop at the Nakhal Fort and hot spring. The exact date in which this ancient fort was built is unknown, but many believe that it was built in pre-Islamic times, more than 1500 years ago. We then transfer back to Muscat for our final evening in Oman's capital city. *Ramee Guestline Hotel or similar*
Those on the group flight will be transferred to the airport to check in for the flight back to London which arrives back later on in the day.
* All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 5 dinners included * All accommodation * All transport and listed activities * Tour leader throughout * Arrival & departure transfers for group flights
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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