ENQUIRE

ULTIMATE OMAN

A sensational journey from the green, southern mountains of Dhofar, where the Frankincense trees grow, through the largest sand desert in the world, the fortress-strewn Al Hajar Mountains and along the wadi-riven coast to the bustling, glittering city of Muscat. Finish at the far northern tip of the country, with a few gloriously indulgent days on the beach at Zighy Bay.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A private desert camp, deep in the Empty Quarter
  • A 4x4 mountain adventure including an amazing drive up Wad Bani Auf
  • Dolphins, turtles and traditional dhow-building
  • Arabian fortresses and ancient mosques
£8,945
per person

Price from

Management Team Ed Granville

ED GRANVILLE

Middle East Specialist

VIEW PROFILE

  1. Arrive
  2. Day 1 Arrive in Salalah, Dhofar

    Arrive in Oman's deep south - in the relaxed city of Salalah, right on the Indian Ocean, with a backdrop of the wooded Dhofari mountains made green by the summer monsoon rains (the Khareef).

    Overnight: Al Baleed Resort by Anantara, Salalah

  3. Day 2 Salalah & the Coast

    Salalah was the birthplace of the current Sultan and he keeps a number of summer palaces here. The city has a fine Grand Mosque and is possibly the most green and lush spot in the Arabian Peninsula. Visit a Garden Farm, where bananas, coconuts and papaya are grown and see the Al Husn Souq, where you can buy frankincense amongst other local goods. Next, head out along the coast to the small town of Taqa, to visit the fascinating fort, before continuing to Samhuram, a huge ruined city which in pre-islamic days was an important trading port for the dispatch of frankincense by dhow across the Indian Ocean and up the Red Sea.

    Overnight: Al Baleed Resort by Anantara, Salalah

  4. Day 3 Dhofar Mountains

    Explore the Dhofar Mountains on foot, walking around the vast Taiq sinkhole and seeing the Taiq cave too. Enjoy a picnic lunch amidst the splendid scenery.

    Overnight: Al Baleed Resort by Anantara, Salalah

  5. Day 4 Empty Quarter (Rub' al-Khali)

    Set off in a 4x4, leaving the Salalah plain behind, and follow the Darra Ridge in the Western Jebel, where the fabled Boswellia Sacra (Frankincense) tree grows. Continue into an extremely remote and isolated area where other traffic is almost non-existent, entering the empty barren landscape of the Mountains of the Moon and Negd desert. Then drop down into the deep canyon of the Wadi Aydim, home to sparse and hardy vegetation, camels and small groups of Bedu from the Bait Zabnawt tribe. Finally, weave your way through the ever grander russet red sand dunes of the Rub al Khali, the Empty Quarter, made famous by Wilfred Thesiger and the world's largest expanse of uninterrupted sand desert. Your private camp is set deep in the dunes, and you arrive in time to explore and photograph, then enjoy a drink at sunset, followed by an excellent dinner.

    Overnight: Rub' al-Khali Private Camp

  6. Day 5 Explore the Empty Quarter (Rub' al-Khali)

    Climb a dune to watch the sun rise over the desert before a day exploring this unique and hauntingly beautiful environment. A walk through the wind sculpted sands reveals the huge diversity of shapes, colours and textures in the sand and a plethora of small hardy plant life. In the evening a local Bedu from the Haraizi tribe will take you to see his camels and provide a wealth of detail about the disappearing way of life of those who still depend on them.

    Overnight: Rub' al-Khali Private Camp

  7. Day 6 Muscat

    Retrace your steps to Al Mazyouna and take the new road to Thumrait, past three thousand year old triliths and areas scattered with fossils. Finally, leave the desert behind, and drive back to Salalah to catch a flight to Muscat, Oman's thriving capital city. The North is an amazing contrast to the south, and the great distance between these two regions, comprising a huge expanse of desert and gravel, meant that until recently, very few people had moved between the two. Consequently, the differences between the Dhofaris and the Northeners are marked. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in your stylish and comfortable hotel.

    Overnight: The Chedi Muscat

  8. Day 7 Muscat

    Muscat is a complete contrast to neighboring Dubai and the benign, modernising presence of the Sultan can be felt everywhere - in the amazing Grand Mosque, in the glistening Opera House and even in the port at Muttrah, where a vast private yacht sits proudly amongst the myriad of small fishing boats bringing in the daily catch for sale at the busy fish market. A tour of the city also takes in the bustling, frankincense-perfumed souq, and the Bait al Zubair Museum. Spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool or in the beautiful spa.

    Overnight: The Chedi Muscat

  9. Day 8 Daymaniyat Islands

    Potter down to the marina and set off on a privately chartered motor-boat to the Daymaniyat Islands, an uninhabited nature reserve just off-shore, where the fish life is particularly abundant and where the water is especially clear. See the resident pods of Dolphin and also try some fishing on the way, then spend time snorkelling at the islands, before enjoying lunch on the beach.

    Overnight: The Chedi Muscat

  10. Day 9 Wadi Bani Auf

    Travel out of Muscat by 4x4 vehicle to see the impressive fort once resided in by the Wali of Nakhal. After that buckle your seatbelts... The journey through Wadi Bani Awf is jaw-dropping, as the road snakes up a seemingly impassable canyon, past tiny villages lost in the depths. The scenery is on an awesome scale as you ascend to amazing heights, in the Al Hajar mountains. After a picnic lunch, continue on to the traditional village of Al Hamra, high above which your innovative hotel is perched, enjoying tremendous views down over the village below.

    Overnight: The View, Al Hamra

  11. Day 10 Bahla to Jabrin

    Drive down to Al Hamra and then ditch 4 wheels for 2 and cycle between 2 stunning Omani forts, Bahla and Jabrin. The 37km route is largely off-road through the date plantations and a dry wadi bed and the terrain is not tough, taking in the smaller villages of the area, Bahla's lively souk and Oman's rural interior. After visiting Jabrin's impressive castle, continue in your 4x4 on to the high plateau of Jabal Akhdar, where you stay in the great comfort overlooking a canyon-like wadi.

    Overnight: Alila Jabal Akhdar

  12. Day 11 Nizwa

    After breakfast, drive down to the stunning, UNESCO-restored city of Nizwa, the old capital of Oman and a renowned seat of learning, surrounded by extensive date palm groves. It houses a beautifully restored old quarter and souqs, as well as two mosques that date back to the very early days of Islam. But the crowning glory is the superb fortress - part castle, part royal palace, part Islamic school - which is not to be missed. See too the traditional mud-house village and the fascinating "falaj" watercourse system at Birkat Al Mauz. Enjoy a lazy afternoon by the pool soaking up the extraordinary scenery all around.

    Overnight: Alila Jabal Akhdar

  13. Day 12 Sur & Raz Al Jinz

    After breakfast, explore on foot the dramatic wadis and traditional Omani villages that are scattered amongst the fertile terraces, where roses and pomegranates grow in abundance. Then drive south towards the coast and the fishing and dhow-building port of Sur. See the dhow-building factory where magnificent wooden vessels are crafted by hand to traditional designs and if lucky, see the flamingos wading in the lagoon, before continuing to the turtle sanctuary at Raz Al Jinz. Stay in comfortable tented accommodation, just back from one of the most important nesting beaches for Green Turtles in the Indian Ocean, and after dinner, set out with a naturalist, to try to see nesting females and hatchlings struggling down to the sea.

    Overnight: Raz Al Jinz Scientific Centre, Raz Al Jinz

  14. Day 13 Zighy Bay

    After breakfast, drive back to Muscat to catch a flight to Dubai, from where you drive to the Musandam Peninsula, crossing back into Oman and heading for the beach at Zighy Bay.

    Overnight: Six Senses Zighy Bay, Musandam Peninsula

  15. Day 14 - 17 Zighy Bay

    4 full days at leisure to enjoy the wonderful peace and extreme comfort of the Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort, where you can dive and snorkel to your hearts' content, luxuriate in the excellent spa, and kick back following your adventures in the Omani interior.

    Overnight: Six Senses Zighy Bay, Musandam Peninsula

  16. Day 18 Depart

    Transfer to Dubai airport and fly home.

  17. Depart

Currency
Low £ 8,945 $ 12,493 € 10,581
Mid £ 10,735 $ 14,993 € 12,699
High £ 12,130 $ 16,941 € 14,349

BOOKING NOTES

  • Prices are per person sharing a room/tent
  • Desert camping is available between October and March
  • The turtle nesting/hatching season extends from May to November
  • The summer monsoon (Khareef) hits Salalah from June to August

INCLUSIONS

  • All accommodation as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Daily breakfast.
  • 3 picnic lunches.
  • Full board in the desert.
  • Private transfers throughout.
  • 4x4 with chauffeur-guide when touring outside Muscat.
  • Private boat charter.
  • All sightseeing, entrance fees and guide services as detailed in the itinerary.
  • Internal flights where detailed in the itinerary.

EXTRAS

  • International flights.
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks, gratuities (discretionary).
  • Entrance fees and excursions not specifically mentioned as included.
  • Travel insurance or visa fees.
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