Arabian Sands

Arabian Sands

916 Views
8 Days From

$2540

$2208

Arabian Sands

8 Days Starting in Muscat International Airport (MCT and ending in Muscat

Visiting: Muscat, Wadi Tiwi, Sur, Wahiba Sands, Nizwa, Jebel Shams

Tour operator:

Explore!

Tour code:

OM

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 18

Physical rating:

Medium, Moderate

Age range:

16-

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Vegans

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Small Group

Activities:

Sightseeing, Walking

From:
$2540
$2208 Operator discount: -$270 Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$62 -13%

NB: Prices correct on 20-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

Oman is a land of contrasts waiting to be explored, from the soaring sand dunes to the rugged mountains all the way down to the turtle-nesting beaches. Eat with an Omani family and sleep under canvas on remote coastline.



Muscat - Explore impressive Forts, Royal Palace and Corniche of the capital

Wahiba Sands - 4WD exploration and camp among spectacular sand dunes

Nizwa - Visit the impressive Jebel Shams 'Grand Canyon'.

Highlights

  • Muscat - Explore impressive Forts, Royal Palace and Corniche of the capital

  • Wahiba Sands - 4WD exploration and camp among spectacular sand dunes

  • Nizwa - Visit the impressive Jebel Shams 'Grand Canyon'.

Itinerary

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Day 1: Join Trip In Muscat; Afternoon Sightseeing Tour

Location: Muscat

Accommodation: Hotel

Arrive in Muscat, an old walled town, arguably the Gulf's most attractive city, surrounded by a horseshoe ring of mountains that naturally restricts it city's growth.



For those arriving on time today our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 12pm for the welcome meeting and to take us on a guided tour of Muscat. Our leader will show us the highlights of the city including visiting the Bait Baranda Museum. We will also have the chance to take a stroll along the waterfront of Mutrah, Muscat's oldest quarter and onto the bustling souk.



If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Muscat International Airport (MCT), which is 30 minutes\ drive from the airport.



Please note that if you wish to join the guided tour of Muscat today, you must arrive at the hotel by 12pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least 90 minutes to clear the airport. From the airport to the hotel is around 30 minutes\ drive, so therefore the latest your flight can arrive is 10am. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.

Day 2: Drive To Finns Beach Via Wadi Tiwi

Location: Wadi Tiwi

Accommodation: Camp, ing

Before leaving Muscat we will visit the Grand Mosque. We then follow the coast down to Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi. A beautiful oasis of freshwater pools, Wadi Shab is an ideal place for a photo opportunity. We will then visit Wadi Tiwi where there is the option to walk in the wadi, following the pools up through a haven of lush vegetation and palms, before heading to our wild camp at Finns Beach.



Tonight's wild camping experience is supported by the crew who will have the tents ready for the group's arrival and will take the camp down when we depart, as well as a camp chef. The sitting area will be traditional Omani style with cushions on the floor and toilets are al-fresco! There will hopefully be time for a swim in the Arabian Sea before we settle down for a night away from reality under a star-filled sky.

Day 3: Visit Dhow Shipyard In Sur; Evening Turtle Walk

Location: Sur

Accommodation: Hotel

Continuing along the rugged coastline we head for Ras Al Hadd, pausing en-route to visit the Port of Sur. Once a major trading port with East Africa, Sur represents the seafaring origins of Oman. We will visit the dhow shipbuilding yard where traditional dhow boats, used throughout the 19th century, are still built today. We also visit the nearby small fishing village at Ayega, now a quiet community of old merchant houses but once a stronghold of rebellious sheikhs, where we will visit the lighthouse for a photo opportunity.



This evening we'll be staying by the water's edge, in a perfect position to visit the turtle reserve at Ras Al Jinz. This coastline is an important nesting site for some 20,000 endangered Green Turtles annually and we will visit after dark this evening with a local guide. The Olive Ridley Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle and, the endangered, Hawksbill Turtle have also been spotted here.



Please note: Although Explore's departures do not operate within the main nesting season during Oman's hottest summer months, it's estimated that at least one turtle comes ashore every night of the year and there is opportunity to enjoy this wonderful natural experience year-round but due to the wild nature of this activity we cannot guarantee a sighting.

Day 4: Drive Into Wahiba Sands Via Bedouin Villages

Location: Wahiba Sands

Accommodation: Camp, ing

After breakfast this morning we will begin the journey to our next wild camping spot in the desert. The coast of Oman is wild, rugged and beautiful; a place where deserted white beaches are interspersed with small, traditional villages. As we journey along here, the Wahiba Sands begin to rise before us, a vast sea of sand covering about 15,000 square kilometres. Laid out like a great ocean of sand the endless dunes are generally rusty red at the base and honey coloured on the top - an alluring landscape of changing contours and colours. The sands are home to the Bedu, nomadic tribesmen who roam the land with goats and camels, or live in small fishing villages. An exhilarating drive across the dunes brings us to our nightstop somehwere in the Wahiba Sands. Sunset promises stunning photo opportunities amidst the spectacular dunes, before we settle down for another night under the desert sky.

Day 5: Drive Across Wahiba Sands And Onto Nizwa

Location: Nizwa

Accommodation: Hotel

Early mornings in the desert are a time of activity . Mists are a curious phenomena of the sands, spreading across the dunes and wadis at night, to disappear in the early mornings. The remarkable dew drinking beetle, living just below the surface of the normally scorching sands, utilizes this time to gain valuable sustenance. We continue through the desert this morning. In spite of its barren feel the sands contain a phenomenal amount of life. As well as the Bedu they are home to an exotic diversity of fauna including dragonflies, wolf, two species of Ruppell's fox, wild cats and white-tailed mongooses. Some 115 species of birds have also been recorded here and it is one of the few remaining refuges for the elusive Arabian and Sand Gazelles. Once out of the sands we continue through a market town that is a meeting point for Bedouin for miles around. From here it is a fairly easy drive along tarmac roads to Nizwa, the capital of Oman from 751 to 1154 AD and still regarded as the cultural capital.

Day 6: Nizwa Fort And Jebel Shams Viewpoint; Lunch With Local Family

Location: Jebel Shams

Accommodation: Hotel

Today we spend a full day exploring some of the many highlights of the surrounding area. We begin in Nizwa itself, visiting the traditional Friday goat auction and the contrasting modern souks. We continue onto the 17th century fort, built to guard the Sumail Gap during the struggle between the Sultan and the radical Imams. Nizwa was the centre of Imam Resistance right up until the 1950s when the Sultan had to call upon the help of the British to quell the rebels.



Once we've explored the town, we will head north through the Jebel Akhdar ('Green Mountain') mountain range, passing the dramatic craggy peaks. Despite its desolate and barren nature, small settlements cling to the plateau areas, nestling in the lunar like landscape. For thousands of years self-sufficient oases have flourished in the folds of rocks, using an ancient irrigation system known as falaj. These are water channels that never dry up, often contoured round wadis or tunnelled through the cliffs in order to tap the water table. Upkeep of the life-giving falaj is a community responsibility and contributes to maintaining harmony within a village.



We will reach at 3,000m Jebel Shams (Mountain of the Sun), the highest peak in Oman. En-route to the summit of Jebel Shams, we encounter an astonishing view down a sheer drop of 1000m to the bottom of the 'Grand Canyon', Oman's very own (and equally spectacular) version of its American counterpart. At the bottom of this vast void, a wadi winds peacefully through the landscape. According to one theory, the canyon was once a huge cave and evidence of fossils and shells suggests that the canyon base was at one time covered by a shallow sea.



Descending back towards Nizwa we will visit the mud village of Al Hamra, where we will enjoy a traditional lunch with a local family, before making our way back to Nizwa late in the afternoon.

Day 7: Drive Via Wadi Bani Awf To Muscat; Optional Dhow Trip

Location: Muscat

Accommodation: Hotel

Our route back to Muscat is through the stunning Wadi Bani Awf. We once again leave the smooth roads behind, and head into a narrow canyon with steep sided cliffs. The palm trees, scattered dwellings and interrupted streams create a peaceful atmosphere.



Upon return to the capital city this afternoon, we have the opportunity to take an optional trip on a timeless dhow vessel. This optional sailing departs from the marina in Old Muscat and sails past the skyline in time for sunset. Dolphins can often be spotted in abundance in the waters just off Muscat's shores year-round.

Day 8: Trip Ends In Muscat

Location: Muscat

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Muscat.



There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Muscat at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Muscat International Airport (MCT), which is 30 minutes\ drive from the hotel.

What's Included

  • Fully Guided

  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

  • Accommodation

  • Meals – Half Board

    Breakfast: 7

    Lunch: 4

    Dinner: 3

What's Not Included

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • 1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day

  • Country Entry Visas

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Check out our Q&As

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    Yes

  • What is the maximum group size?

    16

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

    Yes

  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

    Yes

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    No

  • I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

  • Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

  • Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

John  

Arabian Sands

Excellent guide. Went ‘the extra mile’ at all time

Excellent guide. Went ‘the extra mile’ at all times. Can not recommend Sunil highly enough.

Dave  

Arabian Sands

UK office staff were very helpful when my outbound

UK office staff were very helpful when my outbound flight was delayed resulting in a missed connection.

Wendy  

Arabian Sands

Great tour. I now know a lot more about Oman & rea

Great tour. I now know a lot more about Oman & really enjoyed visiting it. I will recommend the tour

Joanna  

Arabian Sands

A brilliant trip which gave aod overview of Oman.

A brilliant trip which gave aod overview of Oman. There was a lot of driving but it enabled us to see a lot. The camping locations were amazing - yes, there were no facilities but we woke up on the beach, on the dunes and in the desert, so all well worth it. I think there could be more focus on the culture and history of Oman, as we didn't see much of it, but the desert and mountains were amazing.

Susan  

Arabian Sands

I enjoyed this tour far more than I expected (due

I enjoyed this tour far more than I expected (due to a combination of personal factors prior to leaving that left me unsure if I really wanted to!). The pace wasod, with time to take in the souqs etc. The camping was a real highlight - the team that managed this were excellent, producing delicious food and managing everything without fuss. Seeing bioluminescent plankton in the water as we sat in the dark was magical! The desert at sunset and sunrise also pretty special, creeping mist just before sunrise very eerie! Thanks, Explore, another lovely tour!

John  

Arabian Sands

Veryod value, considering prices in Oman-I imagine

Veryod value, considering prices in Oman-I imagine this trip will become considerably more expensive over time.

Dave  

Arabian Sands

UK office staff were very helpful when my outbound

UK office staff were very helpful when my outbound flight was delayed resulting in a missed connection.

Else  

Arabian Sands

I feel that it would be helpful to have been able

I feel that it would be helpful to have been able to talk to an explore member who had actually been on this trip and could therefore have sorted ot these problems so aod trip with excellent content could therefore have been comfortable

Lucy  

Arabian Sands

Been with Explore for a while service is over all

Been with Explore for a while service is over all veryod and would recommend them.

Read all 9 reviews

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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 60 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 59 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 13 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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