13th April 2017
Middle East specialist Dan has just returned from Oman, where he spent time trying out shuwa, paragliding off a mountain and taking in the country's stunning scenery. Below he talks about his favourite moments from the trip...
It has to be watching the sunset over the desert at Wahiba Sands, absolutely magical. No one as far as we could see, sat on top of the 4WD vehicle as the wind picked up making the fine sand flow like water over the dunes, stunning!
Shuwa! Every day of the week, possibly one of my new favourite foods. It's traditionally goat slow cooked for 24 hours (usually underground) and heavily spiced with cinnamon, cardamom (not hot), cloves and numerous other spices depending on the recipe. The meat just drops off the bone – utterly delicious, best eaten Omani style by hand. The food in general in Oman was heaven for me, a mixture of Middle Eastern and Indian.
Best night’s accommodation?
Six Senses in Zighy Bay. It's in a stunning location along a sandy bay with crystal clear waters, sheltered from the rest of the world by the mountains that surround it. The villas are enormous and all come with their own private pools, large bath tubs, lounges, indoor and outdoor showers and outdoor relaxing areas. The beachfront villas can just open their back wall and walk out into the Gulf of Oman... It’s barefoot luxury and complete relaxation. There’s also an incredible Six Senses Spa and lots of activities on offer.
I’m going to have to say two for this one as it was close – either doing a bit of canyoning in Wadi Bani Khalid or being thrown off a mountain by Six Senses. Wadi Bani Khalid is a picture perfect oasis, stunningly beautiful, crystal clear warm waters, lush palms and fruit trees – simply amazing – but you can follow the river and scramble over cliffs and up waterfalls for a short way which I thoroughly enjoyed, mainly because I survived. The other one was at the Six Senses; within minutes of arriving they drove me up the mountain, introduced me to their resident paragliding expert and ran me off the edge of a cliff. This was the first time I’ve ever been paragliding and it was incredible, gently soaring above the beach and gulf was an adrenaline rush, but anyone can do it. The paragliding coach said his youngest client was 2 and his oldest was 87!
Not getting into the Empty Quarter or having a chance to see the Omani Fjords, but it gives me a good excuse to go back!
Paragliding off a mountain at Zighy Bay, landing on the beach and then being driven to the Six Senses Spa for a Balinese Massage.
Tips for travellers
Finally a country that uses UK plugs!
Oman is an easy, friendly and safe country to travel in, but it is still very much an Arabic country and culturally quite conservative. It's sometimes easy to forget this given how laidback it is, but it goes a long way with the locals if people dress appropriately.
Eat Shuwa, as much as possible!