Reasons to Visit
With all of these mountains, wadis and desert dunes, it is probably apparent that a saloon car isn't going to suffice for many of the journeys you take in Oman! A 4WD, piloted by a skilled local, is very often required and adds to the sense of adventure.
Oman's miles of coastline are a veritable haven of white-sand beaches and secluded coves. Whether you choose to stay in a downtown Muscat hotel where the beach is wide and open, or to head to somewhere like Musandam, where your hotel is likely to be the only thing for miles around, Oman's beaches are one of her major attractions.
The Wahiba Sands are easily accessible from Muscat and provide an insight into desert life. The tall dunes hide small Bedouin encampments, and a surprising array of wildlife. For the truly adventurous, the legendary sands of the Rub' al Khali, or Empty Quarter, beckon in the south of the country.
Although a clichéd phrase, much of Oman is relatively untouched by Western influences, and when you stand at Nizwa market watching the locals haggle over livestock, or admire the way fields have been terraced into impossibly steep mountainsides, you're appreciating a more traditional lifestyle.
The Hajar Mountains have kept the interior of Oman isolated for millennia , and the remote villages steeply terraced into the mountainsides seem little changed in that time. In Salalah the mountains have captured the moisture in the ocean air, allowing the liquid gold of frankincense to be grown on their slopes.
Cutting through heavily folded rock, with pretty streams and swaying palms nestled in their beds, the wadis of Oman are a major attraction, from the gentle and peaceful Wadi Bani Khalid through to the drama of Wadi Gul, with its 1 kilometre sheer sides.
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North Africa & the Middle East
Our country specialists have travelled the length and breadth of Oman - here are a few of their favourite things to do
Oman is a country that seemed to escape the notice of all but the most intrepid of travellers until just a few years ago.
It now welcomes visitors with renowned Arabian hospitality and is eager to share both the culture and countryside that the Sultan is determined to protect.
An ideal destination for guaranteed winter sunshine, Muscat is the perfect base from which to enjoy the spectacular coastline, boasting beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise waters and excellent diving.
From here the imposing rugged interior mountain ranges, Al Hajar and Al Jabal al Akhdar, can be easily explored.
The Dhofar region around Salalah holds numerous attractions for the visitor and is worth taking a day or two to explore. The mountains dominate the Dhofar hinterland. The most spectacular pass across them is the “Furious Road” which rises 400 metres in three miles through eight hairpin bends.
Jebel Akhdar, meaning Green Mountain, refers to the northern section of the Hajar mountains. As you take the road out of Nizwa heading for Jebel Shams, you start to climb past ancient villages steeply terraced into the mountainside.
At its heart is old Muscat, a walled city with a natural harbour watched over by the twin fortresses of Jalali and Mirani, where the Sultan has his palace. Nearby, the historic commercial district of Muttrah spreads along the shore of a wide bay.
Isolated by the Hajar Mountains from the coast and the outside influences brought to the coastal cities through trade and conquest, Nizwa developed as a bastion of conservatism.
The Wahiba Sands is a large desert area just four hours drive from Muscat. A surprisingly wide array of flora and fauna call the sands home, as do about 3,000 Bedouin.
8 1/4 hours (Muscat)
British Airways & Oman Air
The best time to travel.
A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of.
Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year.
Travel is not recommended.
Snow or ski season.
Read first-hand tips and advice from our travel specialists.
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Further reading:Tours in OmanWhen to GoItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout OmanCountry Guides
Other countries in North Africa & the Middle East:EgyptIranJordanLebanonLibyaMoroccoSyriaTunisia
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