Optional Excursions in Oman

The Anchorge Tour

This morning you will proceed on a tour of the capital city of Oman. Muscat offers the visitor a unique opportunity to witness a modern commercial centre existing in harmony with its traditional culture. With its natural harbor, Muscat means ―Anchorage‖ & lies in a natural volcanic bowl. Our tour of the Grand Mosque (open 0800 to 1100 hrs only – saturday to Thursday & Friday closed - (Ladies fully covered with a head scarf and men in full length trousers) & Bait Al Zubair Museum (Friday closed) is a brief introduction that traces Oman‘s history and development. Drive along the waterfront Corniche visiting the Fish Market & the colourful Muttrah Souq. This is one of the oldest souq in Oman with charm and choice. The Muttrah Souk is in the heart of the Muttrah neighborhood of Muscat and is a must do. The Souk sits right across the corniche from the harbor. The Souk is a combination of tourist and local. There are numerous vendors selling Indian pashminas , but the silver stores offer numerous examples of Omani silverware. From here you will proceed for a photo stop at the magnificent Al Alam Palace; official Palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos flanked by the 16th century Portuguese Forts Mirani & Jalali. After this visit you will drive back to the hotel.

Forts & Castle

This day excursion takes you to the Oasis city of Nizwa, which was once the capital of the Yarubah dynasty. You will visit the fascinating fort at Nizwa , hailed as a monument to Omani architectural ingenuity, Nizwa fort reflects the military engineering prowess of fort-builders of a bygone time. It is also one of the Sultanate's finest historical edifices. Set amid a verdant spread of date palms Nizwa fort is a powerful reminder of the town's invincibility through turbulent periods in Oman's long history. After the stop at this fort you will visit the bustling silver souq and traditional silverware market place. Continue to the town of Bahla famous for its potteries, take a photo stop of the Bahla Fort listed in the heritage site of UNESCO. From here continue drive to Jabreen castle. The castle was build during a time of peace and prosperity as a summer home. To imagine that this area was perhaps one traveled by the Queen of Sheba to obtain Frankincense added a mystical allure to the trip. The castle is known for the artistry of the painted ceilings and carved verses from the Koran. Beautiful restoration works along with household items decorate the rooms to provide a better insight no how the residence may have appeared in its glory. After the visit to the fort you will drive back to Muscat. During the course of the tour you will break for lunch either in a local restaurant or at Jibreen Hotel.

Sailing The Coastline

At a pre-fix time you will proceed from your hotel to the old town near sidab to the Marina Bander Al Rowdha, where you will board the Dhow ( Omani boat) for a cruise along the magnificent coastline of Oman. Oman‘s beautiful coastline is formed by the Arabian Sea on the south and east, and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. Sailing on Oman‘s tranquil waters at twilight is a memorable way to explore the northern coast. You will cruise leisurely along Muscat‘s spectacular northern coastline as the sun sets on the horizon. Muscat is one of the oldest cities in the Middle East and the largest city in Oman. The walled city was built around Muttrah Harbour, a natural, deep water anchorage, which is the cultural and historical heart of Muscat. As you come close to the cornice you would watch the local people walking along Muscat‘s picturesque corniche (waterfront promenade), which is particularly beautiful at night when the lights of the shops and town are reflected in the harbour waters. The journey ends with a downstream sailing with a brief stop at a natural cove where you can take photographs of the spectacular beachside Al Bustan Palace Hotel before returning to the Marina Bandar Rowdha to board your waiting vehicle and drive back to your hotel. (per person on SIC basis sailing on thu/sun only ( subject to change).

The Natural Habitat

At a pre-fix time you will proceed from your hotel to the old town near sidab to the Marina Bander Al Rowdha, where you will meet the boat caption who will escort you to the waiting boat to depart for an exciting Dolphin watching trip. You will depart the marina and head towards the sea in search of this mammal in the Omani waters. Not every trip guarantees dolphin watching but the chances of missing them is rare. The captain of the boat co-ordinates with the other boat captain to ensure that you are taken to the right place to see the playful dolphins in their natural habitat. During the usual dolphin watching trips, other most regularly seen species are spinner and common dolphins. Spinner dolphins can be very playful and curious and they often bow ride. They are acrobatic and often perform somersaults, high spinning leaps and other aerial movements and can perform jumps up to three meters in the air. Spinning on their longitudinal axis is their trademark. After an exciting trip into the sea and seeing the dolphins and sometimes if you are lucky whales you will return to the pier and drive back to t he hotel.

( Per person cost on SIC basis)

The Great Desert & Wadi

This day will be one of the most exciting day of yours. You will drive to the Sharqiya region to the great desert of Oman called the ― Rimlat Al Wahiba‖, an awe-inspiring 'sea' of dunes, the home of the Bedouin. Our experienced guide will give you the thrill of dune driving as you enter this ten thousand square kilometer sea of sand. The rolling dune fields of the Wahiba Sands epitomises Arabia for all visitors to the Sultanate. Home to much wildlife and the traditional, incredibly hospitable Bedouin people This is adventure travel at its very best.

The Wahiba Sands stretch some 180km from north to south and 80km from east to west. This is ‗ramlat‘, the Arabic word used to describe a desert of dunes, many of which here exceed 100m in height. The dunes are home to some 3000 Bedu from various tribes which include the Janabah, Mawalik, Hikman, Amr and Wahiba. The Sands stretch to the Arabian Sea shore and encompass mudflats and lagoons around Barr Al Hikman, home to a large migrant bird population in the winter. They are moving inland at the rate of some 10 metres each year. Whilst they look bereft of wildlife they are in fact home to some 180 species of plants, 200 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians roam the sands. After having spent sometime here you will leave for Wadi Bani Khalid which stands in contrast to the desert with clear natural green water pool. You will drive past several houses imbedded along the mountain. The place is where you will see dates, banana plantation in abundance, you can go for a short trek before breaking in for a nice picnic lunch. After lunch drive to Muscat giving an end to this awe inspiring tour of the desert and wadi.

Oman’s Grand Canyon

To is an exciting day for you as you drive to the interior of Oman. You will first make a stop in Nizwa town to visit the Nizwa Fort , hailed as a monument to Omani architectural ingenuity, Nizwa fort reflects the military engineering prowess of fort-builders of a bygone time. It is also one of the Sultanate's finest historical edifices. Set amid a verdant spread of date palms Nizwa fort is a powerful reminder of the town's invincibility through turbulent periods in Oman's long history.In times bygone, it was a formidable bastion against marauding forces that coveted Nizwa's abundant natural wealth, and its strategic location at the crossroads of vital caravan routes. A long line of imams of the Yaaruba dynasty held sway from its majestic ramparts, presiding over an era of great cultural, religious and educational enrichment. This splendid 17th century edifice — the largest on the Arabian peninsula — stands today as a monument to this heady era in Nizwa's and, indeed, Oman's glorious history. After the visit to the fort you will proceed to the souq famous for its silver jewelry and pottery. Later continue to the Grand Canyon of Oman, 3000 metres high. En route make a photo stop at Misfah, a picturesque mountain village. Whilst making our way to Jebel Shams (sun mountain, also known as Grand Canyon) you will be able to see the ‗terrace farming‘ of Wadi Ghul. Stunning views await you at the top of Jabal Shams. Enjoy walking around in the village/grand canyon before proceeding for lunch in the Jabal Shams camp. After lunch spend a little more time walking around and taking photograph of this stunning beauty, later after the visit drive back to Muscat.

Wild Wadi Bash

You will leave in the morning from your hotel for the coastal town of Quriyat where even today the watch tower is standing. The fishing town of Quriyat, an hour‘s drive east of Muscat, is worth visiting for the journey alone. The route winds through the foothills of the Hajar mountains, passing whitewashed villages, free-ranging camels and donkeys, and lone individuals tending herds of sheep or goats. Quriyat‘s harbour is surprisingly modern with its own attractive corniche. Fishing boats with outboard motors lie on the beach alongside more traditional vessels, the hulk of an old dhow providing a reminder of earlier days when Quriyat was a major trading port. Continue your drive from here to Wadi Al Arbeen , in the back drop of the mountain this wadi looks stunning, it is here where the picnic lunch will be provided to you. Continue drive through the mountain passing several small villages to Bimah Sinkhole a crater in the ground with green water pool. After a quick stop here you will proceed to the Wadi Tiwi ,which extends thirty-six km inland and ends at a mountain village known as Mibam. Many groves and fruit trees grow along the course of this wadi from which the azure blue sea can be seen as you climb up the hills and descend into the valleys. Later after spending an interesting day driving along the coast, in the mountain you will drive back to Muscat.

Green Mountain

You will depart from your hotel in the morning for the trip to Jabal Akhdar mountain, you will drive past airport and several small towns before arriving at the Birakt Al Mouz town, where you will visit the date and banana plantation and also see the abandoned fort, before driving up the mountain. This mountain rises to a dizzying height. At about ten thousand feet above sea level, Al Jabal al Akhdar (The Green Mountain) is undoubtedly one of the highest points in the Sultanate, making it a hotspot for the adventurous. But Al Jabal al Akhdar is not just another geological curiosity or challenge waiting to be unraveled or surmounted by the curious and the adventurous. One of the protected areas in the Sultanate of Oman, it is inhabited by as much as 54 nuclear communities sprinkled over different levels on the mountain. At the heels of the mountain, you could be excused for wondering why it was called the Green Mountain, for the surroundings are typically semi-arid features, largely rocky terrain and dusty soil. But once again, a pleasant surprise awaits you at the higher planes of the mountain. Scattered over the area are vegetations comprising fruit trees, flowers and shrubs. According to our sources, Al Jabal al Akhdar receives an average of 303mm of rainfall in a year. Coupled with its cool climate, it is therefore a friendly turf for these plants. Communities such as Wadi Bani Habib, Saiq, Al Manakher, Al Ain, Kotom al Hail and Al Shuraijah have clusters of farms growing pomegranates, apricots, peaches, cherries and walnuts during the course of the year when the climate is suitable. You will break for lunch in one of the local restaurant or the Jabal Akhdar hotel. After spending sometime walking around in the village you will drive down the mountain for Muscat arriving in the evening.

White Wadi & Nakhl

This is also an interesting day for you. Leave in the morning so that you can visit the action packed Barka fish market in the morning where you will see the locals buying their daily vegetables and fish. After a short visit you will continue drive to the Nakhl fort, which was built in the pre-Islamic era. Emerging from huge palm groves and protected by mountains, it is perfectly positioned for defense. After the visit of this fort you will continue to Wadi Abyad known as the white valley. Continue drive through the wadi with the mountain coming close at times before driving up the mountain to Wakan Village. The village of Wakan is perched on the top of a rocky spur, well above the dusty bowls of Wadi Mistal. Wakan is no more than a few houses surrounded by green terraces that seem to hug the mountain side. It is possible to get a taste of very old traditions and ways of life in harsh mountain conditions. But in the midst of these surroundings a new telecommunications antenna has been erected, and a new tourist post is being built in the shape of the typical rounded Omani watch tower. Since Wakan is situated at around 1000m (3,300 ft.) of altitude, it has a very particular set of climatic conditions. In october, the green orchards are full of trees bearing pomegranates, peaches, and almonds. Everywhere, there were bright red pomegranates, waiting to be picked. In February, these trees will be in full blossom, and then it is possible to witness the stark contrast between the delicate white and pink flowers and their inhospitable surroundings. This is one of the many details that give the Oman mountains such a unique character. This day you will enjoy picnic lunch before driving back to Muscat.

Major attractions