Oman’s diverse terrain, fascinating blend of cultures and undeniable natural beauty are all wrapped up perfectly in this five-day trip, which takes you from Muscat to Al Hamra, Wahiba Sands, Ras al Jinz and then back to the capital. Perfect for the adventure seeker, three of the four nights here are spent away from the luxury of a hotel; let the ocean waves gently lull you to sleep in the decks of a catamaran, set up camp on the vast dunes of Wahiba Sands, and stay at Ras al Jinz’s scientific center in an effort to catch a glimpse of the elusive sea turtles frequenting the beach at night. Other highlights include stops at Sur, where you’ll explore ancient forts - not forgetting an afternoon spent visiting the long list of cultural attractions in the city of Nizwa.
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Your trip commences upon arrival at the Wave Marina, where you’ll be met by trained team members and given a short introduction and safety briefing. Depart Muscat’s glistening bay for a leisurely sail towards the Ad Dimaniyat Islands. There’s diving and snorkeling opportunities on the way, with the best underwater excursions on the north side of the islands. Enjoy a sunset dinner and overnight stay on your catamaran.
Head to the Marina at Mussanah in the morning after a breakfast on the water. Back on dry land, the tour proceeds to Al Hamra via Wadi bani Auf - a gorgeous valley that sinks deep into the mountainside. The 50-mile route to Al Hamra passes some charming scenery and quaint local villages - remember to look out for the date plantations for which this region has become so famous.
Depart your hilltop hotel in the mountainous town of Al Hamra, making your way towards the built-up city of Nizwa, the second-most visited in the country. A half-day tour takes you to the famous Round Tower Fort and the main ‘souq’ for an unforgettable shopping experience. Continue on to Wahiba Sands, a vast mass of desert terrain characterized by flowing red dunes stretching for hundreds of miles. Enjoy dinner next to your campsite before tucking yourself in for the night under the stars.
Pack up your bags on the dunes and take a quick look at a nearby Bedouin house - a great opportunity to see how locals live in the vast desert wilderness. The route to Ras al Jinz, the final stop of the day, takes you past the coastal town of Sur, with visits to a popular fish jetty, a fort and a boat factory. Upon arrival at Ras al Jinz, check in at the local scientific center before making the short walk to the beach, escorted by trained guides ready to watch turtles coming to nest on the sands.
On this final day of the trip you’ll be returning to Muscat, although there’s plenty of time to squeeze in more activities before your departure, such as a quick swim at ‘Fins Beach’ and also a worthwhile stop-off at Bimah Sinkhole, a spectacular limestone crater with turquoise water down below. The return to Muscat in the afternoon marks the end of this short but remarkable five-day trip across Oman.
The rugged Al Hajar mountains make a rustic backdrop behind the fortress-like Al Bustan Palace, which overlooks a canopy of perfectly-manicured lawns and an expansive half-mile private beach. Authentic Arab influences run throughout the hotel and its 150 rooms to remind guests of the rich and ostentatious Arabian culture. Beautifully-designed interiors are an artistic combination of old and new, fusing local traditions and art deco hints to create a unique melange of Middle Eastern culture and art. Particularly notable is the spectacular 125-foot-high domed atrium lobby, which, along with the ornate wall covers and intricate carvings has earnt the hotel the extravagant reputation as the ‘Jewel of the Sultanate’. Its idyllic location and range of facilities gives guests the opportunity to indulge in a number of watersports or simply relax in one of the five outdoor pools. Four exquisite dining options from alluring beachfront restaurants provide guests with spectacular sea views while they savour exceptional flavors from around the world.
Just 15 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Muscat, Oman, the spectacular Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa sprawls over a rugged peninsula, reaching out into the crystal blue water of the Sea of Oman. Featuring a long, sandy beach and surrounded by mountains, this resort matches its spectacular natural environment with its exquisite design and architecture, calling back to times of Arabian Palaces and local markets. Guests may choose between three distinct hotels located across the property: Al Waha, “the Oasis,” a family-friendly hotel turned seaside paradise; Al Bandar, “the Town,” which serves as the shopping-and-eating hub of the resort, and the palatial Al Husn, "the Castle,” the most luxurious of them all. With world-class restaurants and seaside cafes and bars, a wide variety of water activities including sea kayaking and scuba diving, and –of course –CHI, The Spa, guests at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa will lose themselves in fun, in adventure, in luxury, and in style.
A stay at The Chedi in the Omani capital of Muscat is an experience like no other. Sitting on its own private beach, with the glittering waters of the Gulf of Oman on one side and views of the Al Hajar mountains rising up behind, yet right in the thick of the city, The Chedi is an urban oasis from its sultry, lantern lit lobby to its lush Moroccan gardens and sumptuous Balinese spa. Guests relax in rooms combining traditional Omani architecture balanced with influences from around the world for a sleek, elegant and ultimately relaxing experience. A culinary whistlestop tour is on offer with cuisines from nearby and as far afield as Europe and Southeast Asia, in artfully-designed restaurants, indoors beneath sparkling chandeliers and alfresco, with the sand underfoot. Leisure guests have every whim catered to with outdoor pools, a 13-suite spa, fitness club and souvenir boutique, while business guests can keep things afloat in the well-equipped business center.
Rising like a surreal mirage out of the colorful Wahiba Sands, Desert Nights Camp is an exclusive five-star hotel in Oman. The fragrance of frankincense and myrrh greet guests upon arrival for a journey into an alluring Arabian world. Offering luxurious comfort in the form of Bedouin-style tents under a blanket of Arabian stars, the camp is an exceptional destination with exclusive air. Red sand dunes create a romantic backdrop for these intimate air-conditioned tents, complete with Omani-style decor and furnishings. An extravagant bathroom is the highlight of the room, featuring world-class amenities and golden tiles for a lavish and airy feel. All rooms open out to encompass panoramic scenes over the silken desert sands, offering serene and picturesque views.
The Ras Al Haad nature reserve is one of Oman’s hidden gems, located on the eastern shores of the secluded Arabian peninsula. The reserve is set in a scenic setting, where travelers can discover a surreal landscape of rugged mountains and golden deserts, hugged by an expansive 27-mile glistening shoreline. Established in 1996, the Ras Al Haad reserve prides itself as one of the largest nesting areas for green turtles in the Indian Ocean, as well as housing a number of exceptional, 6,000-year-old archaeological sites. The reserve offers a unique experience, where scenes of unspoilt coastlines and vibrant green oases are coupled with unparalleled sights of sea turtles nesting in their natural habitat. The Ras Al Haad offers an ideal ecotourism destination where travelers can witness the extraordinary nesting process of these majestic sea giants in a rare and virtually unseen world.