Within just one week, these privately guided journeys take you through some of the Middle East's most varied geographical and cultural settings.
Mountains, Wadis & Castles
Oman's Jebel Shams and Jebel Akhdar mountain ranges are simply stunning. At times they provide a scenery of exposed desert rocks; others, they are unexpectedly green, where long-lived towns and villages share terraced mountainscapes with carefully tilled fields. Your guide will take you walking amongst groves of walnut trees, pomegranate bushes and Damask roses; and take you for lunch at a local family house.
At Wadi Ghul you will see abandoned mountain villages perched on the hillsides. At Jebel Shams, Oman's highest peak at just over 3,000 metres, you can take in some vast views across Oman's Grand Canyon.
In the foothills, your guide will take you walking through the oasis of a beautiful wadi where you can swim beneath palm trees if you wish. In highlands and lowlands, you will come across forts, castles and souqs (markets) which still thrive in the midst of ancient town and village centres. Places you will visit include Nizwa, Jibreen, Nakhl and the 400-year old town of Al Hamra.
The Wahiba Sands is known as a mega-ridge sand system, with dunes as high as 100 metres appearing from above as north-south lines. They lead from mountains in the west, almost reaching the Indian Ocean on the south east of the system.
The Wahiba Sands (now known officially as the Sharqiya Sands) provide a wonderful classic experience of a rolling golden sand dune desert. Sunsets and sunrises are particularly moving - daytime walking or driving in the desert clarifies just how inhospitable this environment can be.
You will stay at a comfortable permanent camp in desert wilderness. You will have your own chalet, en suite bathroom and air conditioning for when needed. There are no roads to reach this camp - the dunes move up to 10 metres each year, so you driver will take you across the dunes by 4 wheel drive. You will eventually exit Wahiba on the north coast of Oman at Sur.
Oman occupies a large section of the northern Indian Ocean. The seas here have some fantastic marine life, white and golden sand beaches, coastal forts at Sur and dramatic features such as Wadi Tiwi - a deep and narrow gorge carved out of the mountains, running between towering cliffs to the sea. Your private guide will also take you to the Bimah Sinkhole - a spectacular limestone crater created where a mountainside collapsed and filled with emerald seawater.
Starting and ending in Muscat, this journey provides a dramatic cross-section of what Arabia has to offer, in one of its safest and friendliest countries.
Oman Deserts, Mountains, Wadis & Indian Ocean
Day 1 - Arrive Muscat
You will be met at Muscat airport and transfer to your hotel in the city.
Day 2 - Muscat
Before heading into the wilds of Oman, we will take you to see some of the highlights of Muscat this morning, which include the Grand Mosque, the Muttrah Souk and Sultan's Palace.
Day 3 – Muscat to Jebel Shams Mountains
After breakfast, your guide will collect you from the hotel and head towards the 350 year old hilltop fort of Nakhl. From Nakhl you will visit old vilalges and clay houses of Wadi Bani Auf, Bilad Sayt and the 400 year-old town of Al Hamra. The village of Al Hamra boasts a set of ancient ruins and provides the Misfah is a typical Omani village that gives guests an insight of how the locals used to live centuries ago.
At Wadi Ghul you will see ancient abandoned villages lying at the hillside on the way to your drive up into the mountains, aiming eventually at Oman's highest peak of Jebel Shams. From here you can savour views over Oman's Grand Canyon.
Day 4 – Nizwa & Jibreen
Your first target for the day the Balcony Walk which runs from the small settlement of Al Khitaym to the abandoned houses of As Sap. You will see wisps of smoke from tiny villages, which lie almost imperceptible in the wadis below. This place has a overwhelming sense of desolate beauty.
At Misfah, you will be ablwe to gaze across a falaj system and green terraces where mango trees, papaya, banana, dates and vegetables are grown, surrounded by dry desert mountains.
You will also visit Jibreen castle, the finest of Oman's castles built during the late 17th Century; and Nizwa fort which was built strategically atop a hill overlooking the ancient city's colourful domes and bustling market below.
Overnight in Nizwa.
Day 5 – Green Mountain & Jebel Akhdar
Today you will explore areas around Jebel Akhdar Mountain including the archaeological sites of Al Aqr, Al Ayn and Ash Shirayjah; and abandoned village of Wadi Bani Habib. You will see more falaj terracing, with field of pomegranates, pears, grapes, garlic and onions growing to the very edges of cliffs. Lunch will be with a local family.
Day 6 - Wadi Bani Khalid and the Wahiba (Sharqiya) Sands Desert
Wadi Bani Habib is a beautiful desert lagoon surrounded by palm trees. As long as you are modestly covered, you can take a swim here.
From the water to the dry dry desert: your experienced driver will take you off-road deep into the Wahiba Sands Desert. This requires some essential 'wadi bashing' - the dunes here are constantly moving, so to build a road here would be folly. The beauty of these ever-changing slopes of sand is something to behold; both during the high point of the day; and at sunset and sunrise as you will have the opportunity to witness. You will also be able to stop and share coffee and dates with a Bedouin family for whom this desert is home.
You will stay the night at a comfortable desert camp. It's remote, but you will have an en suite bathroom and air conditioning.
Day 7 - Wahiba Sands to the Indian Ocean
After sunrise and breakfast in desert wilderness, you will drive north between Wahiba's largely north-south aligned dunes to the Indian Ocean coastal town of Sur. This attractive fishing town marks the beginning of your coatal journey west back to Muscat. En route you will visit Wadi Tiwi - a deep narrow gorge carved out of the mountains, running between cliffs to the sea.
You will pass the white sand beaches of Finn ad visit the Bimah Sink Hole - a spectacular limestone crater filled with blue-green sea water.
Your journey will end wherever in Muscat, Sifah or wherever you need between Sifah and Muscat airport.
7 days private safari guide & vehicle based upon 2 persons sharing
Single room occupancy supplement: £255 / US$295
7 days private safari guide & vehicle based upon 2 persons sharing
Single room occupancy supplement: £295 / US$340
Meet and assist upon arrival.
Accommodation in selected hotels
Daily buffet breakfast
Dinner at the hotel accommodation on Days 3 & 6.
Lunch at a local restaurant on Days 3 to 7; Day 5 is at a local family house.
Arrival & Departure transfers from Muscat Int'l Airport with an English speaking driver / guide.
Sightseeing on Day 2 till Day 7 as per itinerary with English speaking driver guide, in 4WD vehicle (max 3pax per car).
Sites as mentioned on the program description.
All entrance fees to the sightseeing places as mentioned in the program (subject to change).
Water during transfers and when on the road.
All known current taxes and service charges
Oman entry visa
Any item of personal nature.
Any accommodation upgrades / meals / beverages which are not mentioned under included services
Holiday season accommodation supplements such as Christmas, Ramadan etc
Tips & Porterage
Local and International Flights
Any optional tours / excursions