Immerse yourself in Omani cultural history as you wander among the exhibits of Muscat’s Bait Zubair Museum.. Stand in awe of gorgeous landscapes and visit centuries-old mountain villages on a journey into the foothills of Oman’s highest peak, Jebel Shams.. Get a glimpse of the ‘real’ Oman in the charming fishing village of Barka, a lovely spot to watch the day’s catch being hauled in.. Treat yourself some traditional Omani hospitality in a Peregrine Feature Stay – a one-night camping getaway under the stars in the Wahiba Sands.
This is the Arabia of Aladdin’s dreams. Explore the historic city of Muscat and drive along the coast to the bubbling fishing village of Seeb. By 4WD, travel to the rugged interior and the splendid forts of Nakhal and Al Hazm, framed by the spectacular Jebel Akhdar Mountains. Continue on to explore the beautiful oasis at Wadi Bani Khaled, before entering the vast Wahiba Sands – where we sleep at a rustic desert camp under a blanket of brilliant stars. The charming oasis of Lisq and the village of Mudaibi, further reveal the local life of Oman, as does a browse of the fabulous souk of ancient Nizwa. Meet the people, learn of their delicate silverware, woodwork and embroidery, and unwind in the cool heights of the Mountain of the Sun, all before a further wander of the wonderful maze of Muscat.
Breakfast Included: 6 Lunches Included: 1 Dinner Included: 2
On arrival at Muscat International Airport (formerly Seeb Airport), you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This is simply an arrival day, so you may arrive in Muscat at any time. There will be an important welcome meeting in the evening, usually at around 5 pm. Note that hotel rooms are generally only available after 3 pm, so if you are arriving much earlier we recommend you pre-book an additional night's accommodation.
Be met by your guide at the hotel this morning, ahead of a full day tour of Muscat City. The skyline of this ancient settlement is quite different to its glitzy Gulf neighbours, with the Sultan ordering all modern construction to fit with classical Arabic architecture styles. You’ll see this in the dazzling Indian sandstone of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the third largest mosque in the world, and home the second largest carpet in the world, a vast weave covering the prayer hall. Continue on to the relatively new Mohammed Al Ameen Mosque and appreciate its architecture. Set high on a hill in the valley of Boushar Sands, its beautiful domes have become an essential part of the Muscat skyline. Afterwards, drive to Old Muscat, the walled part of the city, and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Dig into the exhibits about Oman’s cultural history at the Bait Zubair Musuem, then drive along the picturesque Corniche, stopping to see the residence of his Majesty Sultan Qaboos, the Al Alam Palace, which is flanked by the 16th-century Portuguese forts Mirani and Jalali. Pass the busy fishing harbour at Muttrah, with its quaint wooden dhows and fishing boats, then stop into the bazaar. There you can mingle with the locals and browse the silver and spice shops. Return to your hotel afterwards.
Barka – Nakhal – Al Hazm – Muscat
Leaving Muscat, you'll head north along the coast to the fishing village of Barka. Here you'll see the daily catch being hauled onto the sands from tiny fishing boats. Afterwards, continue to the Bait Al Na’aman for a visit to the beautiful old fortified houses. The tall, narrow houses alternating with square and round towers are thought to have been built in 1691-92 by Iman Bil’arab bin Sultan. The house was restored in 1991 with a lavish selection of traditional fittings and furnishings to give visitors an insight into the domestic livelihood of its former inhabitants. Continue then to the splendid fort at Nakhal, which sits atop a rocky spur and vaunts commanding views of the surrounding countryside. This is the best-preserved of all Oman's forts, and the interior is still furnished, giving visitors an excellent feel for period life. A little further on is the fort of Al Hazm, situated on the northern slopes of the Jebel Akhdar, with its elaborate carved doors. There will be time to explore the various rooms and chambers before returning to Muscat.
Wadi Bani Khalid – Wahiba Sands
From Muscat you'll head southward, travelling through rugged landscape, before arriving at the Wadi Bani Khalid. With turquoise waters, lush vegetation and palm trees, this is a slice of paradise. You'll follow a well-worn path into the heart of this rocky oasis and discover a large pool fed by a natural mountain spring. Stop on the edge of the extensive Wahiba Sands and enjoy a traditional lunch with a local Bedouin family. Continue your 4WD journey and arrive at the edge of the extensive Wahiba Sands. After deflating the tyres you'll follow an amazing route across the sand dunes to a desert camp. Watch sunset over the sand dunes of our desert camp and feature stay in Wahiba Sands. Enjoy an evening of traditional food and music (seasonal) this evening, sitting around an open fire under the stars. Drift off to sleep tonight in your simple tent among the desert ambience. Your accommodation this evening is our Feature Stay Property; you will stay in the Sheikh Tents in the desert camp with private bathroom facilities including hot showers adjoining each tent.
Ibra – Jabrin – Bahla – Nizwa
Heading north today, you will drive to Ibra, one of the oldest cities in Oman. This charming, traditional old town was once a centre of trade, religion, education and art. Stop in at Bahla and witness the ruins of the immense fort there. With its walls and towers of unbaked brick and its stone foundations, this is a remarkable example of fortification. It's easy to find a metal worker toiling next to a red-hot furnace in this place, or a weaver assembling a cloak of goat hair. But the king of craft in Bahla is pottery. This exceptional art is famous throughout the Sultanate and beyond. You will also head to Jabrin Fort, the palace of Imam Bil 'Arub Bin Sultan who built it in 1675. This may well be the finest and most eye-catching of Oman's forts. See its elegantly carved wooden doors, and the delicate and ornate lattice work of the windows. Drive through the narrow roads to see ancient houses and various mosques. Later on you will drive to Nizwa, an oasis enclosed by a series of mountains. Among these mountains is the famous green mountain (Jabal Akhdar). Its grand mosque was formerly a centre for Islamic learning. We'll stop here for a short break. Unfortunately we are not permitted inside. The central fort is surrounded by ancient traditional souqs where the locals trade in traditional and imported merchandise. Here you can browse for some of Nizwa's famous silver jewellery, or simply watch expert craftsmen in action as they fashion exquisite silverware and other artefacts.
Misfah – Al Harma – Jabal Shams – Muscat
Today you'll journey back to Muscat via some marvellous forts and villages, not to mention some lovely mountain scenery. Continue to the villages of Misfah and Al Hamra (photo stop), nestled in the cool foothills of Oman's highest peak, Jabal Shams. You'll have time to explore these beautiful historic townships before returning to Muscat for your final evening.
Your trip comes to an today after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12 noon, and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Muscat.