Your browser does not support the HTML5 video element.
Oman is a land of contrasts waiting to be explored, from the soaring sand dunes to the rugged mountains all the way down to the turtle-nesting beaches. Eat with an Omani family and sleep under canvas on remote coastline.
Explore Tour Leader
2 nights simple camping
5 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Muscat, an old walled town, arguably the Gulf's most attractive city, surrounded by a horseshoe ring of mountains that naturally restricts it city's growth. For those arriving in the morning, you may take the opportunity to explore the surronding area, visit one of the many shopping malls, go for a walk in Ghubrah Beach Park or visit the Royal Opera House.
Our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 12pm for the welcome meeting and later to take us on a guided tour of Muscat. Our leader will show us the highlights of the city including visiting the Bait Al Zubair or the National Museum. We will also have the chance to take a stroll along the waterfront of Mutrah, Muscat's oldest quarter and onto the bustling souk.
If you would like to receive an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Muscat International Airport (MCT), which is just over 15-minute drive from the airport.
Please note that if you wish to join the guided tour of Muscat today, you must arrive at the hotel by 12pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least 90 minutes to clear the airport. From the airport to the hotel is around a 30 minute drive, so therefore the latest your flight can arrive is 10am. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
Levatio Hotel (or similar)
Before leaving Muscat we will visit the Grand Mosque. We then follow the coast down to Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi. A beautiful oasis of freshwater pools, Wadi Shab is an ideal place for a photo opportunity. We will then visit Wadi Tiwi where there is the option to walk in the valley, following the pools up through a haven of lush vegetation and palms, before heading to our wild camp at Fins Beach.
Tonight's wild camping experience is supported by the crew who will have the tents ready for the group's arrival and will take the camp down when we depart, as well as a camp chef. The sitting area will be traditional Omani style with cushions on the floor and toilets are al-fresco! There will hopefully be time for a swim in the Arabian Sea before we settle down for a night under a star-filled sky.
Igloo Mobile Tents (or similar)
Continuing along the rugged coastline we head for Ras Al Hadd, pausing en-route to visit the Port of Sur. Once a major trading port with East Africa, Sur represents the seafaring origins of Oman. We will visit the dhow shipbuilding yard where traditional dhow boats, used throughout the 19th century, are still built today. We also visit the nearby small fishing village at Ayjah, now a quiet community of old merchant houses but once a stronghold of rebellious sheikhs, where we will visit the lighthouse for a photo opportunity.
This evening we'll be staying by the water's edge, in a perfect position to visit the turtle reserve at Ras Al Jinz. This coastline is an important nesting site for some 20,000 endangered Green Turtles annually and we will visit after dark this evening with a local guide. The Olive Ridley Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle and, the endangered, Hawksbill Turtle have also been spotted here.
Please note: Although our departures do not operate within the main nesting season during Oman's hottest summer months, it's estimated that at least one turtle comes ashore every night of the year and there is opportunity to enjoy this wonderful natural experience year-round but due to the wild nature of this activity we cannot guarantee a sighting.
Turtle Beach Resort (or similar)
After breakfast this morning we will begin the journey to our next wild camping spot in the desert. The coast of Oman is wild, rugged and beautiful; a place where deserted white beaches are interspersed with small, traditional villages. As we journey along here, the Wahiba Sands begin to rise before us, a vast sea of sand covering about 15,000 square kilometres. Laid out like a great ocean of sand the endless dunes are generally rusty red at the base and honey coloured on the top - an alluring landscape of changing contours and colours. The sands are home to the Bedu, nomadic tribesmen who roam the land with goats and camels, or live in small fishing villages. An exhilarating drive across the dunes brings us to our nightstop somehwere in the Wahiba Sands. Sunset promises stunning photo opportunities amidst the spectacular dunes, before we settle down for another night under the desert sky.
Igloo Tents - Wahiba Sands (or similar)
Early mornings in the desert are a time of activity . Mists are a curious phenomena of the sands, spreading across the dunes and wadis at night, to disappear in the early mornings. The remarkable dew drinking beetle, living just below the surface of the normally scorching sands, utilizes this time to gain valuable sustenance. We continue through the desert this morning. In spite of its barren feel the sands contain a phenomenal amount of life. As well as the Bedu they are home to an exotic diversity of fauna including dragonflies, wolf, two species of Ruppell's fox, wild cats and white-tailed mongooses. Some 115 species of birds have also been recorded here and it is one of the few remaining refuges for the elusive Arabian and Sand Gazelles. Once out of the sands we continue through a market town that is a meeting point for Bedouin for miles around. From here it is a fairly easy drive along tarmac roads to Nizwa, the capital of Oman from 751 to 1154 AD and still regarded as the cultural capital. Free time in the afternoon to relax or explore morea t your own pace.
Al Diyar Hotel (or similar)
Today we spend a full day exploring some of the many highlights of the surrounding area. We begin in Nizwa itself, visiting the traditional Friday goat auction and the contrasting modern souks. We continue onto the 17th century fort, built to guard the Sumail Gap during the struggle between the Sultan and the radical Imams. Nizwa was the centre of Imam Resistance right up until the 1950s when the Sultan had to call upon the help of the British to quell the rebels.
Once we've explored the town, we will head north through the Jebel Akhdar ('Green Mountain') mountain range, passing the dramatic craggy peaks. Despite its desolate and barren nature, small settlements cling to the plateau areas, nestling in the lunar like landscape. For thousands of years self-sufficient oases have flourished in the folds of rocks, using an ancient irrigation system known as falaj. These are water channels that never dry up, often contoured round wadis or tunnelled through the cliffs in order to tap the water table. Upkeep of the life-giving falaj is a community responsibility and contributes to maintaining harmony within a village.
We will reach at 3,000m Jebel Shams (Mountain of the Sun), the highest peak in Oman. En-route to the summit of Jebel Shams, we encounter an astonishing view down a sheer drop of 1000m to the bottom of the 'Grand Canyon', Oman's very own (and equally spectacular) version of its American counterpart. At the bottom of this vast void, a wadi winds peacefully through the landscape. According to one theory, the canyon was once a huge cave and evidence of fossils and shells suggests that the canyon base was at one time covered by a shallow sea.
Descending back towards Nizwa we will visit the mud village of Al Hamra, where we will enjoy a traditional lunch at Bait Safa, the former chief of the village's house, before making our way back to Nizwa late in the afternoon.
Our route back to Muscat is through the stunning Wadi Bani Awf. We once again leave the smooth roads behind, and head into a narrow canyon with steep sided cliffs. The palm trees, scattered dwellings and interrupted streams create a peaceful atmosphere.
Upon return to the capital city this afternoon, we have the opportunity to take an optional trip on a timeless dhow vessel. This optional sailing departs from the marina in Old Muscat and sails past the skyline in time for sunset. Dolphins can often be spotted in abundance in the waters just off Muscat's shores year-round.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Muscat.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Muscat at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Muscat International Airport (MCT), which is 30 minutes\ drive from the hotel.
The annual rainfall in most parts of Oman does not usually exceed 125mm, although in the north (the Jebel Akhdar mountain area), it can exceed 20-25mm per month in the December to February period. The coastal areas have a hot and humid season from May to September (up to 38 degrees C), although temperatures remain high throughout the year. Inland the humidity is lower, and nights are cooler in winter when there can be frost in the desert. There is perpetual sunshine throughout the year.
3 Square Pin (as in the UK)
Badi Islam, Sunni Islam, Shiite Islam, Hindu.
Arabic, English, Farsi, Baluchi, Urdu.
Dhow sunset cruise in Muscat - 26 Rials per person (approx US$70)
You will need lightweight clothing for sunny days, with a sunhat and neck protection. You will also need some warmer clothing for the evenings. Nights camping in the desert and along the Arabian coast can be cold in winter, so please bring a warm jacket or fleece. Bare shoulders and legs cause offence outside main cities and hotels. Therefore women should cover up when visiting villages. At our wild camping spots shorts are fine. Women are advised not to wear shorts or dresses that are too revealing as this can attract unwelcome attention in the streets of Muslim towns - loose fitting trousers are ideal. Women should also cover their head and shoulders when entering a mosque and men should wear long trousers.
Comfortable walking shoes or boots, trainers (that you don't mind getting wet) and sandals.
One main piece of luggage and a daypack. Dust-proof bags will be needed for luggage whilst travelling through the desert.
Camping equipment is provided locally including a sleeping matt, bed sheet, sleeping bag and pillow. However if you prefer you can bring your own sleeping bag (we suggest a 2-3 season). A personal water bottle is useful and a small torch essential. Please note during the camping nights there are no showers or toilets. Please note that flying drones or remote controlled flying devices without a valid licence is against the law. Further information can be found at www.paca.gov.om Please note it is illegal to import and/or use E-cigarettes in Oman. Please do not travel with your vape or e-cigarette as this may lead to being fined and/or detained.
Bus, 4WD, Boat
During this trip you will experience wild camping at Wahiba Sands. This camping is simple with no shower or bathroom facilities. Toilet arrangements are 'al fresco'. Bedding and tents are all provided and set up on your behalf but for added comfort you may wish to bring an additional roll matt and/or sleeping bag. There is a 'kitchen truck' where you can get hot water for drinking and freshening up. The sunset and nightsky will outweigh any worries you may have about the lack of everyday amenities.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Oman: A free visa on arrival is available for UK and US citizens as long as your stay is less than 14 days, you have evidence of a confirmed hotel booking, health insurance to cover your stay and a return ticket. On arrival, head to the immigration counter to get a free visa stamped in your passport. All other passport holders please consult your local consulate for full information. Alternatively, an e-visa can be obtained at a cost prior to departure following this link: https://evisa.rop.gov.om/apply-for-a-visa. It can take up to 4 working days for the visa application to be processed. Please note your passport must have a minimum of 6 months validity from your entry date into Oman. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against Tetanus, Infectious Hepatitis, Typhoid and Polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against Malaria. Please note that all travellers aged over 9 months old will be required to supply a yellow fever certificate if you have travelled from or have transited via a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.