If rugged 4WD desert treks, ancient spice cities, nomadic Bedouins and wild camping under the stars appeal to you, then you’ll love the vast desert scapes in Oman.
To start, Oman is a beguiling combination of old desert traditions and forward-thinking Arabic countries. It has a proud Islamic history that began in the 7th century AD and an even older history of settlement that dates back to the Stone Age. In the late 17th century Oman was home to one of the most powerful empires in the Middle East. Its fascinating coastal cities were an important gateway for the spice trade route between Africa and Asia.
Ultimately, if you’re planning a trip to Oman, here are some highlights to include on your itinerary:
Oman is 82% desert and is perfect for anyone seeking an exciting desert adventure. A 4WD trip gives you access to Oman’s otherworldly landscapes of gigantic rolling dunes and mesmerising, multi-coloured sands stretching as far as the eye can see.
In addition, if you go on an Adventure Tour that covers a mix of Oman’s desert landscape and oasis, you can enjoy several highlights including:
- Wahiba Sands - over 4,800 square kilometres of shifting sands and towering dunes 100 metres high, home to semi-nomadic Bedouin settlements and a variety of wildlife.
- Nizwa - Oman’s former capital, an oasis city with 17th-century fortresses, vibrant green date palms, and a working Souk.
- Rub’ al Khali or ‘Empty Quarter' - a vast 250,000 square mile desert only accessible by 4WD, devoid of oases and home to the world’s tallest sand dune.
Wild Camping at the Wahiba Sands
An Oman Desert Adventure Tour also gives you the chance to dine and sleep under the stars in wild camps, memorable experience for those with a sense of adventure. Roughing it is optional with the range of fantastic desert accommodation available.
Mobile tents like ones at the Hud Hud Camps in Wahiba Sands contain proper mattresses, crisp cotton linen, feather pillows, and a private shower. There’s even a chef to prepare locally sourced dishes, Omani coffee flavoured with rose water or saffron and homemade baklava.
Other wild camping options at Wahiba include:
- Desert Nights Camp - a luxury Camp comprising forty-four fully air-conditioned Bedouin-style tents with panoramic desert vistas. Each tent has its own bedrooms, bathroom and separate living area. Activities include camel treks, quad biking, dune bashing, and sand boarding.
- Desert Wild Camp - overnight rustic camping in modern dome tents with all camping equipment provided. Experience a bewitching desert sunset, sit around a beduoin fire and enjoy dinner prepared by your guide.
The City of Salalah
The colourful coastal city of Salalah, the capital of the Dhofar region, is in stark contrast to the surrounding desert during the Monsoon. From June until September, Salalah becomes green heaven transforming into a lush oasis of banana plantations, waterfalls and frankincense trees. Called the ‘Perfume Capital of Arabia’ Salalah’s markets are filled with the distinct aroma of frankincense and myrrh.
Plus, travellers can enjoy a period of rest and recuperation in Salalah with a selection of luxury resorts at their disposal. A highlight is the Anantara Al Baleed Salalah, a 5-star luxury beachfront resort, featuring rooms with their own private pools, the main infinity pool, onsite spa treatments, three restaurants, and a private beach.
While there is plenty to see and do in the city, a guided tour can enrich your stay by including these must-see highlights around Salalah:
- The ancient tomb of the biblical prophet Job
- Stunning Mughsail beach with its blowholes
- A visit to the fishing village of Taqa with a castle surrounded by watchtowers
- The ruined city of Samhuram, once an important city on Arabia's frankincense route
- Mirbat, the ancient capital of Dhofar which in the 9th century traded in frankincense, horses, and slaves
Loggerhead Turtles at Masirah Island
Witness the incredible sight of the world’s largest population of loggerhead turtles on Masirah Island. Oman is home to four species of sea turtles and Masirah Island is an important breeding ground and conservation area. You can also snorkel in the shallow offshore waters. The transfer to the island from the mainland takes 1.5 hours on regular ferry service.
After an enjoyable nature excursion, relax overnight in the 4-star beachfront Masirah Island Resort featuring twenty-two well-appointed rooms overlooking the pool and beachfront. The resort also has a wildlife museum to discover more about the island’s turtle conservation programme.
When is the best time to visit Oman?
Optimally, the best time to visit Oman is from September through to late March, with October preferred. During this period you can expect hot sunny days in the mid 20s, with slightly more extreme temperatures in the desert.
Do I need a travel visa?
Yes, you will need a visa to travel to Oman unless you’re from UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait or New Zealand. Visas are valid for 30 days and can be applied for online before travel. Passports need to be valid for 6 months from the date of your arrival in Oman.
Are you interested in visiting Oman?
Tourism is growing in Oman, so now is the time to visit. Whether you want to explore the deserts and city oases of Oman by 4WD, or its spectacular coastline by traditional dhow, these Wild Frontiers tours provide all the must-see highlights. Check them out:
- Oman Desert Adventure: Wahiba Sands & Empty Quarter
- Oman: Fjords of the Musandam Peninsula
- Complete Oman
Contact Wild Frontiers to learn more about our tours for your world destination trips.