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Oman Desert Adventure: Wahiba Sands & Empty Quarter

Group Tour

11 Days From $3,983

Overview

Oman is one of Arabia’s true gems - a land of rugged coastlines and vast deserts where tradition and progress go hand in hand.

This wonderful adventure takes us from the heart of its picturesque capital, deep into mountains and deserts of the Bedu and the old Omani Imamate. We will take in the breathless landscapes of the Hajar Mountains and the shifting sands of Wahiba, explore the old forts of Jabrin and Nizwa and journey into the vast emptiness of the Rub Al Khali, the Empty ...

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HIGHLIGHTS

At a glance

MEALS

10 x Breakfasts
10 x Lunches
10 x Dinners

TRANSPORT

On this tour is predominantly in 4WDs but a minibus may be used for your tour of Muscat.

GROUP SIZE

Maximum: 12

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

A carbon-offsetting contribution to Eco Act for all bookings

EXPERT TEAM

The full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides where appropriate

ACCOMMODATION

All accommodation as outlined in the itinerary

ACCOMMODATION

As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this trip we will be in hotels, and two man domed tents for the camping nights. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.

ENTRANCE FEES

All entrance fees for sights mentioned in the itinerary

FITNESS RATING

Low

FITNESS RATING

LOW: You should be comfortable walking around towns and cultural sites. May include some optional walks (typically 1-2hrs).

LOW/MODERATE: May be of a long duration and/or involve numerous border-crossings. May include easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-3hrs/day). You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle.

MODERATE/HIGH: May include several easy/moderate day walks (up to 2-4hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You should be relatively fit and lead a generally active lifestyle. Previous experience of similar trips helpful.

HIGH: May involve several days of moderate hiking (up to 3-5 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

VERY HIGH: May involve several days of moderate/strenuous trekking (up to 5-7 hrs/day) possibly at altitude. You must be a very fit and active traveller with appropriate trekking experience.

Map & Itinerary

Individual departures may vary so please refer to the information in the tour specific links in the Dates and Prices section below

Oman Desert Adventure: Wahiba Sands & Empty Quarter
EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN MUSCAT

DAY 1: TOUR STARTS IN MUSCAT

The tour starts from Oman’s International airport. We will head straight to the magnificent mosque of Sultan Qaboos, one of the largest in the Arab world, whose grand marble halls are capable of holding some 20,000 people. After which we will go to the hotel where we will have chance to freshen up before we begin our guided tour of the city. One of Arabia’s most picturesque cities, Muscat lies within the protective embrace of a ring of horse-shoe mountains that run down into the glittering waters of Muscat Bay. We will drive along the engaging sea-front to the Al Alam Palace and the 16th century Portuguese forts of Jalali and Mirani. En route back to the hotel we will have a chance to visit Muscat’s renowned Muttrah souk, one of the best in the region.

Tulip Inn Downtown or similar
Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2: MUSCAT – AL HAMRA

DAY 2: MUSCAT – AL HAMRA

This morning we will leave in good time and head to the Seeb fish market to witness firsthand the hustle and bustle of the market traders as they barter over the “fish of the day”. Continuing out of the city in 4WDs, we will head towards the Hajar Mountains, following the Batinah coast through the foothills to the picturesque setting of Wadi Bani Awf, and a picnic lunch amongst the hills of Oman’s rugged interior. This afternoon we then head to Misfath Al Abreen, one of Oman’s best kept secrets for a walk through the beautiful oasis. Taking in the stunning scenery and walking through the falaj (irrigation) system, seeing how the village farms and manages its agricultural land. We arrive at our mountain top camp later this afternoon.

Sama Height or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3: DRIVE TO NIZWA VIA JABRIN

DAY 3: DRIVE TO NIZWA VIA JABRIN

After breakfast we drive down to the oasis city of Nizwa. Once the capital of the powerful Omani Imamate, Nizwa imposing 17th century fort and bustling souk provide a wealth of scenic and cultural diversions. We will also visit the impressive fort at Jabrin today, possibly the finest of Oman’s 17th century fortresses, whose exquisite painted wooden ceilings provide eloquent testimony to the skills of the fort’s original builders. Following a brief photo stop to take in the UNESCO World Heritage setting of Bahla Fort, we will then head back to Nizwa.

Falaj Daris or simliar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4: DRIVE TO WAHIBA SANDS

DAY 4: DRIVE TO WAHIBA SANDS

Departing Nizwa this morning, our desert journey takes us on towards the vast, open landscapes of the Wahiba Sands, over 10,000 square kilometres of shifting sands and towering dunes that are home to isolated settlements of semi-nomadic Bedouin. Our journey will take us via the market town of Sinaw, where we will stop to strech our legs. We will continue into the seemingly endless sea of the Wahiba, driving through an ever changing landscape of colours and contours as we make our way on to our remote desert camp.

Wild Desert Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5: DRIVE ACROSS WAHIBA SANDS TO KHALUF

DAY 5: DRIVE ACROSS WAHIBA SANDS TO KHALUF

This morning we will drive out across the shifting sands of Wahiba towards the coast, and the pink shell beaches and white dunes of Khaluf on Oman’s eastern coast. Far from being devoid of life, these breath-taking desert landscapes are home to a rich array of wildlife, from the remarkable dew drinking beetles that haunt the predawn desert, to foxes, gazelles and over 100 species of birds; That said, in this vast landscape they can be very difficult to spot, so we will need to keep our eyes peeled! The drive will take four to five hours and we stop for lunch along the way, arriving in Khaluf in time to set up camp late afternoon. As we settle down for another evening under an Arabian sky, our drivers will prepare a delicious al fresco dinner.

Wild Beach Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: DRIVE TO DUQM VIA RAS AL MADRAKAH

DAY 6: DRIVE TO DUQM VIA RAS AL MADRAKAH

Today provides an ideal opportunity to make the most of Oman’s rugged coastline. We drive south, following to coast from Khaluf to Ras al Madrakah, which provides an ample array of viewpoints and photo opportunities, as we pass through a collection of fishing villages, beaches and wadis en route to tonight’s camp. On arrival at Ras al Madrakah there will be plenty of time to have a swim before driving to our modest hotel for the evening in the small port town of Duqm.

City Hotel Duqm or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: DRIVE INTO THE EMPTY QUARTER

DAY 7: DRIVE INTO THE EMPTY QUARTER

This morning we break camp and head inland to the vast emptiness of the Rub al Khali, 250,000 square miles of waterless desert that covers much of the southern half of the Arabian Peninsula. This is the heartland of the nomadic Bedouin, made famous by Wilfred Thesiger in his book ‘Arabian Sands’.

Wild Desert Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: EMPTY QUARTER

DAY 8: EMPTY QUARTER

This morning we will continue on through the hypnotic landscape and head further south, heading towards Al Hashman, where we will pitch camp for our final night under the stars.

Wild Desert Camp
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9: DRIVE TO SALALAH

DAY 9: DRIVE TO SALALAH

The journey on to the coastal city of Salalah today takes us from the desert to the Indian Ocean by way of the barren landscapes of the Qara Mountains. We will arrive into Salalah in the early afternoon giving everyone plenty of time to have a dip in the ocean before freshening up for dinner in the souk.

Salalah Beach Resort or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10: IN SALALAH

DAY 10: IN SALALAH

This morning we stop at the Frankinsence Museum before taking a short drive out of Salalah passing the coconut and banana plantations and head to Khor Rori, a coastal inlet, where we’ll find the ruins of the old ancient port of Sumhuram, a fortified city said to have been used by the Queen of Sheba. In its day the city played an important part in the Frankincense trade. From the old port we will drive up into the Dhofar Mountains and stop by the baobab trees before heading back into town. The afternoon is free until the souk opens again in the early evening where we have time to do any last minute shopping.

Salalah Beach Resort or similar
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11: TOUR ENDS IN SALALAH

DAY 11: TOUR ENDS IN SALALAH

Tour ends in Salalah: The tour ends after breakfast today

Breakfast

ACCOMMODATION USED ON THIS TOUR

Simple

No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation displayed here should be taken as a guide only. *Please refer to the Detailed Itinerary of your individual departure for more information.

PRIVATE HOLIDAYS: DATES DON’T FIT?

All group tours can be taken on a private basis.

Additional Details

Responsible Travel

Responsible travel and sustainable tourism are fundamental ideas that Wild Frontiers has been committed to since our birth. It is our strong belief that these words should not be simply ‘tagged on’ to itineraries and websites but should be at the very core of each trip, and our adventures are therefore designed with the local people, culture and eco-system in mind. We believe that a successful trip not only delivers a unique and unsurpassable journey for our clients, but that it also benefits the peoples whose lands we are privileged to visit. For more information, please see our responsible travel page.

Wahiba Sands

In the Wahiba Sands the group will enjoy a traditional meal with some ladies of the local Bedouin community.  It is a great opportunity to interact with this unique nomadic culture and support rural communities by utilising their services.

Getting There

If you would like us to send you a quote for the suggested tour flights or on any alternative flight that may suit you better, please let us know, noting that for our US clients, we will most likely refer you to one of our preferred partners. For this trip our suggested flights from the UK (subject to change) are shown below.

If you wish to arrange your own flights you are completely free to do so and in this case we can arrange any transfers or supplementary accommodation that you may require. However please note that if you are planning on making your own flight arrangements, we recommend that you first check with us to see if the trip is guaranteed. We then suggest that you purchase flights that are flexible and ideally refundable as due to the nature of adventure travel, itineraries and destination accessibility can change at any time. For more information, please refer to our booking conditions.
 

Flight Code Departing Arriving
WY 102 London Heathrow (LHR) 20:05 Muscat Airport (MCT) 07:15
WY 904 Salalah Airport (SLL) 11:50 Muscat Airport (MCT) 13:30
WY 101 Muscat Airport (MCT) 14:40 London Heathrow (LHR) 18:25

Visas

Visas are necessary for many of the destinations we travel to and while we aim to provide you with the most up-to-date information, requirements frequently change and as such for the latest advice we advise that you check with the relevant embassies or contact our recommended visa agency, Travcour www.travcour.com 

For this tour UK passport holders currently require a visa for Oman. 

Non-UK passport holders or non-UK residents should contact the relevant embassies for individual requirements. 

Further details will be sent out to you on booking, however ensuring that correct and valid visas are obtained remains the sole responsibility of the client.
 

Extensions

If you have more time available, why not arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts? Or alternatively you might choose to allow a few extra days after the tour to relax or to undertake some further exploration.

The choice is completely yours and we can usually arrange anything from simply additional accommodation and transfers to full tailor-made itineraries.

Below is just a small sample of what you could do. Please contact the office for more details and to discuss your individual requirements.

Salalah

Why not spend some extra time relaxing on the beaches of Salalah? Allow 1-3 days.

Governmental Travel Advice

Many governments issue advice which highlights potential hazards their citizens might experience when travelling abroad. We strongly suggest you refer to your country’s particular advisory site before booking and contact us if you have any queries or concerns. Click to follow links to the advice of the British Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) or the US State Department.

Non-UK citizens should consult the travel advice of their respective governments.

Key Information

CLIMATE

With its hot, dry winters, Oman makes for a perfect destination at this time of year. Expect daytime temperatures in the late 20s to early 30s (C) and but night-time temperatures in the desert can be a little fresh although nowhere near freezing, but there may be a dew.

IS THIS TRIP FOR ME?

It may sound obvious but Wild Frontiers tours are not always for everyone and it is important to us that the tour you choose is the most suitable. All our tours have a fitness rating as a guideline but you should check the day-by-day itinerary carefully. In certain instances we may ask you to complete a travel questionnaire before confirming your booking in order to ensure your suitability. Should you have any concerns about your ability to partake in any aspect of the tour then please contact the office.

KEY ASPECTS TO CONSIDER

Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour, as many of the activities are optional.

As the crew will be with you throughout the desert (they will be driving you), it will be all hands to the deck when you get to camp in the evenings, so it will be a team effort to put up tents etc., so all help will be gratefully received!

Also for the camping nights please note that the facilities will be “au naturel” and there will be no showers, as all the water used will have to carried in the vehicles – that said there will a small amount of water each night to be able to have a quick wash.

If you fancy a tipple, whilst on holiday, it can be quite hard to get hold of alcohol outside of the main international hotels and therefore it may be worth picking up a bottle in Duty Free of your preferred drink to have while camping in the desert.

THE NATURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL

We feel that it’s worth pointing out that while we will always strive to stick as close to the stated itinerary as possible, it may be necessary from time to time to make changes to our itineraries or services (due to weather, political and religious influences etc.) and this can happen with little or no notice. This unpredictability can be one of the most exciting aspects of adventure travel and for many of our clients often leads to unexpected highlights as the tour-leader necessarily adapts the tour to the changing conditions. However we are aware that this lack of assuredness may not suit everyone. As such, with the greatest respect, if you are someone who needs to know that everything will happen exactly as planned, we would kindly suggest that perhaps our tours are not for you. Adventure travel can be infectious and once you’ve caught the bug, it is likely to never leave you, but especially if this is your first such tour we would strongly urge you to give us a call if you have any concerns whatsoever about your suitability for this trip.

TRAVELLING SOLO AND SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

As a company approximately 70% of our clients are solo travellers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be alone!

Our prices are typically based on twin-share accommodation but single supplements are not compulsory for any Wild Frontiers tour. If you prefer not to pay a single supplement we’ll pair you with someone else of the same sex for you to share with throughout the trip.

On this trip, if you do opt to pay for a single supplement then please note that it will cover you for all nights of the tour including all camping nights, when you would get your own tent.

Please note that paying a single supplement entitles you to lone occupancy of a single room. In many cases these rooms will be of the same size as a double/twin room, but in some cases they may be smaller.
 

INSURANCE

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the geographical areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip. If you choose to purchase the Wild Frontiers bespoke policy through Travel & General (currently available to UK residents only) then please note for this trip the minimum required level of cover will be the Standard policy. Please see the Insurance section for more details.

General Information

TOUR PRICE

All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour.

DEPOSIT

A £500 (or equivalent) deposit is required to confirm your booking.

PROTECTION FOR YOUR MONEY

For further details please see our travelling with peace of mind page

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 7254 Wild Miles

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

We believe in a completely transparent approach to pricing with no hidden extras. As such, please note that the following are not included in the cost of the tour.

Visas & Travel Insurance: Visas will always be tour/nationality dependent but travel insurance is mandatory
Tips: Always optional but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information documents
International Flights: Please ask us for an obligation-free quote for flights which originate in the UK
Beverages & any costs of a personal nature: This will include items such as laundry and souvenirs

WILD FRONTIERS COMMUNITY

If you’re still not sure if this trip is right or just want to see get some different perspectives, then why not have a look at the wide variety of resources we have on our website? Browse our community section to read our blogs, watch videos and find out about our events. 

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

We are frequently asked what makes Wild Frontiers different from other tour operators. Visit our Why Wild Frontiers page to find out.

INSPIRATION

TRAVEL GUIDE TO OMAN

Peaceful and tranquil, Oman occupies the southeastern part of the Arabian peninsula and has long been an important gateway for trade between Africa and Asia, once controlling the lucrative trade in f…

REVIEWS OF THIS TRIP