Driving up the high dunes in our 4X4 to our third camp site. We were the only ones up over looking the valley. Before the drive we said "impossible" but our expert drivers took it in their stride. We had dinner under the clear skies - sardines that our guide got from the Bedouin fishermen straight from the fishing boat that morning and cooked in a fire pit as we sat around the blazing fire. What could be better?
How was your Explore Tour Leader?
Ahmed is a very knowledgeable guide and totally committed to his country and to making sure that the tour members sing the praises of Oman. He works hard to make sure that people see all the best sites and answers questions - even the very tough ones! Ahmed is a superb driver and a great ambassador for Oman and its people.
What tips would you give to someone else booking this tour?
The hotels were better than expected. We found that asking for non-smoking rooms was a good move in terms of freshness but also the non-smoking rooms in Muscat were better than the smoking rooms - cleaner and more modern. The camping is in small easy to erect tents. Help is always on hand. A supply of toilet paper is critical - it is rarely provided in public loos (it is available from the guides in camp). The sun is deceptive - bring suitable protection a keffiyer is great and can be bought in markets and souks. If possible take your own snorkeling gear as the stuff on the Dhow is not brilliant - very limited flipper sizes, and leaky masks! Watch out for jellyfish which stung a few of us on the morning swim. Plenty of vinegar on board to neutralize the sting!
Do you have anything else to add?
This trip far exceeded expectations. I don't do camping. Bush toilets and no showers for three days is not my usual choice. However, the Oman trip was excellent and even those features were far less of an issue than expected. I usually felt I could have spend a little longer at the places we visited but that is the art of good planning. Leave them wanting more! We had a turn with each of the 4 drivers and all were great and very safe. Be aware that cars will take 4 passengers each if the trip is full (we had 2 cars with 4 passengers and 2 cars with 3). The middle rear seat is not a great place to be. Make sure people rotate! Finally, those who fly in on day one on the group flight go straight on the road. No chance to freshen up. One poor feature on an otherwise fabulous trip.