Immerse yourself in Omani cultural history as you wander among the exhibts 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 some traditional Omani hospitality in our Feature Stay property; 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. Browse 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 Sleep at a rustic desert camp under a blanket of brilliant stars in Wahiba Sands and explore the beautiful oasis at Wadi Bani Khaled, all before a further wander around 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.
Conclude your day with a visit to the Sidab Women’s Group to learn about Omani culture and support a local women’s initiative. Enjoy your Omani coffee and dates from the center before you drive back to the Hotel
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. (Total driving time today is approximately 5 hours.)
Today we move from our mini bus to comfortable 4WD vehicles and head North East towards Nizwa via some marvelous forts and villages, not to mention some lovely mountain scenery.
Arriving in Jebel Shams the highest peak in Oman, this is popular spot for Omani's on the weekend to escape the heat of the city. Often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Oman a stop here and a stroll along the balcony walk, reveals some magnificent mountain scenery.
Continue to the villages of Misfah and Al Hamra. Enjoy a short trek into the village of Misfah where you can see the famous falaj network (the old Omani water distribution system and Al Hamra one of the oldest villages in Oman at the foot of the Hajar Mountains we take a walk around the mud brick houses before arriving in Nizwa
(driving time today 6 hours)
This morning we explore Nizwa. The Nizwa Fort was built over a span of 12 years in the 17th century by Sultan bin Saif al Yaruba, the first imam of the Ya’aruba dynasty, the fort boasts a 40m tall tower with stellar views of the date palm plantations. 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 jewelry, or simply watch expert craftsmen in action as they fashion exquisite silverware and other artefacts.
Continue to Ibra, one of the oldest cities in Oman. This charming, traditional old town was once a centre of trade, religion, education and art. You will also head to Jabrin Fort, 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.
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 ambiance.
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.
(Total driving time today is approximately 4 hours.)
Travelling through rugged landscape, we arrive a the Wadi Bani Khaled. 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.
Enjoy some free time in the Wadi and a traditional lunch with a local Bedouin family today before arriving back in Muscat in the late afternoon. A farewell dinner is included this evening an opportunity to celebrate your journey in Oman with your travelling companions.
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.