Arabian Sands

Wahiba Sands
Nizwa Fort
Grand Mosque, Muscat
Traditional hats, Mutrah Souq
Campsite at Finns Beach
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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Dates
  • Explore!

On this exciting journey in Oman, we discover diverse landscapes; from the majestic Green Mountains of Jebel Akhdar to the soaring dunes of the Wahiba Sands. We experience the wilderness of the desert, visit spectacular beaches and swim in the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Oman. We camp under the stars, have a chance to sail on a traditional dhow and experience Oman's rich culture with visits to Muscat and Nizwa.

Highlights
Muscat - See the impressive Forts, Royal Palace and Corniche of the capital
Finns Beach - Take a walk from Wadi Shab and relax on the sandy beach
Sur - Learn about Dhow building at the Ayega village and boat yard
Wahiba Sands - 4WD exploration and camp among spectacular sand dunes
Nizwa - Visit the impressive Jebel Shams 'Grand Canyon'
Dhow- Take an optional trip on a traditional wooden boat, enjoy great snorkelling opportunities
Destinations
  • Oman
  • Wahiba Sands
  • Nizwa
  • Muscat
  • Middle East
Tour Types
  • Discovery
  • Active
  • Small Group
  • Camping
  • Cultural
  • Scenic
  • Adventure
Day 1: Join tour in Muscat; afternoon sightseeing tour
Arrive in Muscat and join the tour at the hotel. Muscat is an old walled town, arguably the Gulf's most attractive city, surrounded by a horseshoe ring of mountains that naturally restricts its growth. The seaward face of Muscat is dominated by the Portuguese fortresses of Merani and Jalali (built in 1587) with their crenelated parapets. The city displays intermingling ancient cultural heritage and modern style; you will see houses, gates, old markets, small shops and winding roads redolent of authentic history, side by side with modern markets, shops, buildings and streets stamped with modern architecture. This allows Oman to preserve its historic character and at the same time enjoy its contemporary spirit. In the afternoon we will take a guided tour of the city including visiting the Bait Baranda Museum. We will also have the chance to take a stroll along the waterfront of Mutrah, Muscat's oldest quarter and onto the bustling souk.

Day 2: Drive to Finns Beach via Wadi Tiwi
Before leaving Muscat we will visit the Grand Mosque. We then follow the coast down to Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi, stopping along the way to view the natural beauty of the Bimah Sinkhole. A beautiful oasis of freshwater pools, Wadi Shab is an ideal place for a photo opportunity. We will then visit Wadi Tiwi where there is the option to walk in the wadi, following the pools up through a haven of lush vegetation and palms, before heading to our camp at Finns Beach. Upon arrival there should be time for a swim before spending a memorable night under the clear Arabian sky.

Day 3: Drive to Qahid via Sur
Continuing along the rugged coastline we head for Qahid, pausing en-route to visit the Port of Sur. Once a major trading port with East Africa, Sur represents the seafaring origins of Oman. We will visit the dhow shipbuilding yard where traditional dhow boats, used throughout the 19th century, are still built today . We also visit the nearby small fishing village at Ayega, now a quiet community of old merchant houses, but once a stronghold of rebellious sheikhs. The desert coast of Oman is wild, rugged and beautiful; a place where deserted white beaches are interspersed with small, traditional villages. As we journey along here, the Wahiba Sands begin to rise before us, a vast sea of sand covering about 15,000 square kilometres.

Day 4: Drive into Wahiba Sands
Breaking camp this morning we leave the coast behind and drive deep into the heart of the shifting sands of Wahiba. Laid out like a great ocean of sand the endless dunes are generally rusty red at the base and honey coloured on the top - an alluring landscape of changing contours and colours. The sands are home to the Bedu, nomadic tribesmen who roam the land with goats and camels, or live in small fishing villages. An exhilarating drive across the dunes brings us to our nightstop in the Wahiba Sands. Sunset promises stunning photo opportunities amidst the spectacular dunes, before we settle down for another night under the desert sky.

Day 5: Drive across Wahiba Sands and onto Nizwa
Early mornings in the desert are a time of activity . Mists are a curious phenomena of the sands, spreading across the dunes and wadis at night, to disappear in the early mornings. The remarkable dew drinking beetle, living just below the surface of the normally scorching sands, utilizes this time to gain valuable sustenance. We continue through the desert this morning. In spite of its barren feel the sands contain a phenomenal amount of life. As well as the Bedu they are home to an exotic diversity of fauna including dragonflies, wolf, two species of Ruppell's fox, wild cats and white-tailed mongooses. Some 115 species of birds have also been recorded here and it is one of the few remaining refuges for the elusive Arabian and Sand Gazelles. Once out of the sands we continue through a market town that is a meeting point for Bedouin for miles around. From here it is a fairly easy drive along tarmac roads to Nizwa, the capital of Oman from 751 to 1154 AD and still regarded as the cultural capital.

Day 6: In Nizwa; visit Nizwa Fort and Jebel Shams viewpoint
We spend a full day exploring some of the many highlights of the surrounding area. We begin in Nizwa itself, visiting the traditional and modern souk. We continue onto the 17th century fort, built to guard the Sumail Gap during the struggle between the Sultan and the radical Imams. Nizwa was the centre of Imam resistance right up until the 1950s when the Sultan had to call upon the help of the British to quell the rebels. Heading north we travel through the mountains, passing the dramatic craggy peaks of the Jebel Akhdar ('Green Mountain') range, the highest mountain range in Oman. Despite its desolate and barren nature, small settlements cling to the plateau areas, nestling in the lunar like landscape. For thousands of years self-sufficient oases have flourished in the folds of rocks, using an ancient irrigation system known as falaj. These are water channels that never dry up, often contoured round wadis or tunneled through the cliffs in order to tap the water table. Upkeep of the life-giving falaj is a community responsibility and contributes to maintaining harmony within a village. We stop en route to view the Al Hamra mountain range; at 3,000m, Jebel Shams (Mountain of the Sun) is the highest peak in Oman. Along the track to the summit of Jebel Shams, we encounter an astonishing view down a sheer drop of 1000m to the bottom of the 'Grand Canyon', Oman's very own (and equally spectacular) version of its American counterpart. At the bottom of this vast void, a wadi winds peacefully through the landscape. According to one theory, the canyon was once a huge cave and evidence of fossils and shells suggests that the canyon base was at one time covered by a shallow sea. Finally we call in for a photo stop at the eerie ruined village of Tanuf, destroyed during the Jabal war and where a famous brand of mineral water is now drawn and bottled. We return to Nizwa late in the afternoon.

Day 7: Drive via Wadi Bani Awf to Muscat; optional Dhow trip
Our route back to Muscat is through the stunning Wadi Bani Awf. We once again leave the smooth roads behind, and head into a narrow canyon with steep sided cliffs. The palm trees, scattered dwellings and interrupted streams create a peaceful atmosphere. In the afternoon we have the opportunity to take an optional trip on a timeless Dhow vessel, before returning to Muscat, where we overnight.

Day 8: Tour ends Muscat
The trip ends today in Muscat.

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability
07-Feb-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
07-Feb-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
07-Mar-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
07-Mar-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
11-Apr-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
11-Apr-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
10-Oct-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
10-Oct-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
24-Oct-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
24-Oct-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
07-Nov-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
07-Nov-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
14-Nov-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
14-Nov-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
21-Nov-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
21-Nov-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
19-Dec-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
19-Dec-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website

Touring with Explore

Explore have been creating award-winning adventures for over 35 years and are experts when it comes to unique travel experiences.

Their small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981 and today, Explore are one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 600 trips to more than 130 countries. At Explore, they are passionate about travel and have developed a wide range of unique activities and experiences which gives their customers an unforgettable adventure with a team of award-winning Explore leaders .

With Explore, you'll get to see your destination from a whole new perspective that takes you away from the typical well-trodden tourist track. You'll have the chance to meet, dine and stay with local people, rest in authentic accommodation with other like-minded explorers and travel to must-see destinations with a unique Explore twist.

From family trips to holidays for solo travellers; cycling tours to wildlife safaris; trekking on mountains or exploring miles of scenic coastline; self-guided holidays or small group trips; there is something for every kind of traveller with Explore. They will provide their expert knowledge, exciting itineraries and outstanding service as part of their sustainable travel experiences which take you under the skin of the country you're visiting for the adventure of a lifetime.

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tour details

This tour is operated by Explore!

7 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Group Size:0 - 18
Suitable For: Adult
Accommodation:Standard
Difficulty:Moderate
Meals:Breakfast: 7 Lunch: 3 Dinner: 3
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