Oman, the country where Sinbad comes from. The country where the sultan rules and what appeals to my imagination on all fronts. In recent years you hear more and more about this great country and Oman is increasingly accessible to tourists.
With a coastline of 3165 kilometers, the desert but also all wadis (gorges), this country has a huge variety of trips to offer.
That was enough for me to choose Oman for my next destination after spending some days in the UAE. When Abdullah of Blue Skies of Oman offered to drive me around it was just the best!!
Abdullah invited me to Oman for a tour and I gladly accepted that invitation. In the end it was way too short and my list of highlights Oman has only grown from places to be visited.
In my mind I already plan the next adventurous travel to Oman! I see myself again walking in a challenging wadi with a wonderful dive after a great hike!
This short adventurous travel in Oman brought me to the area of Sur. Sur is a 2-hour drive from Muscat, a 3-hour drive along the coast and through a challenging mountain area. Abdullah already showed us some beautiful landscapes, such as this lunar landscape in the middle of the mountains and rocks.
We arrived on our first evening in the Al Sharqiyah region, near the Wadi Shab and did not spend the night on the white beach near the resort but at the resort. We opted for luxury! In the preseason you can still make this choice on the spot, but if you come later in high season, make sure to plan ahead.
Tip: Abdullah from Blue Skies of Oman offers the option to choose from camping for every night and therefore sleep in a tent or in a hotel or resort.
After a delicious breakfast with a sea view where we saw dolphins swim by on this first morning, we set off to go hiking in the wadi Shab.
From the resort it was a short drive to the starting point of the wadi, the ravine. We went by boat to the other side where we first briefly walked through a garden. We saw mango trees, banana trees and all kinds of other tropical plants. Shortly thereafter we arrived in an open area and we walked between 2 high rock walls.
It was still early and therefore not too hot. There were few tourists and we walked into the wadi at a brisk pace. It is a walk of about 40 minutes and every now and then you are wonderfully challenged because you have to climb, descend and walk through water.
After 40 minutes we arrived, sweaty, at a beautiful clear blue water that would take us further into the wadi. From this point we walked into the water and further on we swam on until we came to a narrow point that led us inside.
The narrow point was no wider than 50 centimeters I estimate.
The narrowest part is just above the water level and that is the part that your head goes through. Right above and below it is wider … but if you are claustrophobic I can imagine that you find it a bit scary. Even if it is only a meter long. After that meter it is immediately an open area where you see the waterfall !!
The sun shines in above the waterfall, giving the blue water in the cave an amazing color.
We just had the best swim here and climbed up the rope so that you can jump down with the waterfall. I thought it was great !! And this of course was also the perfect spot to do a yoga pose. I am really happy with this photo! The sun that shone in above the waterfall is super! And luckily I stayed long enough to get a good picture. For balance you have to focus on a fixed point and it was quite difficult to find in the cave.
Adventurous Travel in Oman
Tips for Wadi Shab Adventure
Go early in the morning.
There is nothing to buy or get on the road. So make sure you have enough water with you.
Count on at least 2.5 to 3 hours for this trip.
Take sunscreen with you, possibly wear a cap or hat against the bright sun.
Put on swimming gear in advance or take them with you.
Make sure you have a waterproof bag for all your valuables.
After this wonderful adventure we continued along the coast, we took a delicious local lunch and walked our lunch off on the beach at Sur.
After this we drove to a shipyard in Sur, they make the beautiful dhow ships the way they have been doing for hundreds of years. Of course, we also saw quite a few fairly modern devices that made it a little easier for them to work. Qatar has ordered a number of dhows to give the many tourists a tour that the Qatar World Cup will bring and they are busy with that.
On the way to our next resort we took a short stop at a nice viewpoint over Sur. A short climb up gave us a view of the city, the shipyard and the little harbor of Sur.
We also passed the town of Qalhat, which is on the coast and has a very long history. If I have more time I would definitely like to visit this place because …. Sinbad comes from here!! Marco Polo has also been to this place.
We had our overnight stay at Turtle Beach Resort. We just swam in the sea and were able to join the buffet a little later. For vegetarians, a buffet is a little less … Why? The food in Oman (the middle east at all actually) is mainly meat-oriented, but the hummus and bread that Oman has is delicious! The salads in Oman are also great!
As the name suggests: there are turtles here! And that is what we were going to visit in the evening!
How special is that? Seeing turtles in the dark while they lay eggs !!
The nearby beach of Ras Al Jinz is a protected area because every year many turtles return to lay their eggs. Around 8.30 pm our tour to the beach started. We were a bit skeptical about actually seeing the turtles … But less than an hour later we were really standing next to a green turtle laying eggs.
It is actually an intimate moment … Then there are ten of us tourists around it. When I volunteered at the Turtle Project on Tioman I had already learned that a turtle is kind of hypnotized when it lays eggs. Also now we waited until she had finished the hole and was busy laying eggs before we could go there. She didn’t seem to realize.
We also saw another green turtle go back into the sea. I thought this was really a special moment … even though you are there with a whole group .. Dave and I both had never seen it before but had tried it a number of times … To finally be able to really witness it was just the best experience!
Day 3 – Wadi Tiwi
Our next adventure was knocking on our door!! We went to the Wadi Tiwi. And I must say, only way there was already a great adventure. The landscape is just amazing in Oman!!
We were driving on a road where I think some people would already get the jitters. It gave us some great views of the area. After a journey of more than half an hour Abdullah parked the car and we continued on foot. We descended into the wadi. It immediately became clear that due to the many rains of recent times, the water was still a bit too high.
It was a big challenge, Abdullah said. We were happy to accept that. An American couple who accompanied us went into the adventure with us somewhat more doubtingly 🙂 They were traveling alone and were lucky that they arrived here at the same time as us. They could join us so that Abdullah also helped them. You really need some help here!
Where in the Wadi Shab you could walk alone because there is only 1 path and there is a sign at the water, you really need a guide here at the Wadi Tiwi. There are several paths and climbing the last part is something you just don’t want to do solely for safety reasons.
Due to the heavy rainfall of the last period, the water was high and it roared through the wadi. Abdullah did his very best, but in the end it was not safe to go all the way to the end. The current was too intense and we would not have had enough strength and support to come back. The part that we did descend and swim we had was beautiful !!
Spending a night in the desert is an essential part of your adventurous tour in Oman!
So we also went into the desert! We spent the night in the Oryx Camp Desert with super de luxe houses and a super nice courtyard where live music was played that evening.
Tips for your Wadi Tiwi adventure
Take sunscreen and apply regularly. Make sure you cover your shoulders and possibly wear a hat or cap. There is more shade here than in the Wadi Shab.
Take enough water to drink with you. It is quite a descent and it can get very hot. You need one liter of water per person on this walk. You can be on the road for 2.5 hours and there is nowhere a possibility to buy anything.
Take a guide with you that will guide you down the path and let you walk the right route. He can also show you the beautiful viewpoints so that you too can take the most beautiful pictures in this wadi!!
Put on swimming gear in advance or take them with you. There is always a public toilet in the area where you can change clothes.
Make sure you have good water shoes. You walk a lot in wetlands and you can easily slip. Even if you do not wear wet shoes for the rest of your day, it is nice to wear special water shoes.
Make sure you have a waterproof bag for all your valuables. This is easy to carry and so you can take everything with you into the water. You can leave some clothing, etc., when you go swimming, but you naturally want to keep your valuables in your sight.
Day 4 – Desert and Nizwa
For us this day was unfortunately the last full day of our adventurous travel in Oman. I was actually just getting in the mood for more challenges after the last 2 days, those amazing gorges and climbing, scrambling and swimming! But yes, all good things come to an end but not before we went into the desert.
From our house in the Oryx Camp Desert we could walk straight out of the camp and climb a high sand dune. I can assure you … that is a real challenge to do first thing in the morning! It is a best climb to get that amazing view on top. We were on time and were able to find a nice spot for ourselves.
This was also the first time that I was a bit chilly in Oman 🙂 I had brought a sarong and if I had not used it to sit comfortably I would have put it on.
After a good breakfast we went back on the road. In the desert, dune bashen of course!! That must part of it when you are in the desert and surrounded by high sand dunes!
Abdullah also gave us the opportunity to ride and Dave was only too happy to accept it! He stepped on the gas and went slanting along those high dunes. That certainly gives a kick! I did it before, in the UAE!
That is also adventurous travel in Oman, right?
Of course we also visited a nomadic settlement. We drank a tea there, sitting on the rugs and pillows on the floor. You can buy anything but I was happy to notice that they did not want to sell us anything. We sat there for a while and Abdullah told us about the way of life of these people. Desert life remains interesting and a real profession of course.
After a short stop for a number of ancient tombs just outside the desert, we drove on to the old, former capital Nizwa.
The Izki tombs are really worth a visit. They are listed as beehive tombes as a UNESCO site. They are round tombs that seem to be in the wider area. A number of them are being protected and thus they are now being kept for viewing. They are round and beautifully constructed of stones. In such a way that it has sustains wind and weather for hundreds if not thousands of years.
When we arrived at Nizwa later in the afternoon, the museum in the fort unfortunately closed. We could quickly take a look inside because we used the excuse that we wanted to use the toilet 🙂
What we did visit were the souqs. New souqs have been built around the old city. It was very quiet during our visit, it will probably be busier in the morning or the evening. There was a separate souq for dates, meat, vegetables and so on. Everything you need can be found here.
After this we drove on to Muscat and finished our trip through beautiful Oman. We traveled with the Mwasalat bus back to Dubai the next morning and so we stayed at Al Saif Grand Hotel near the bus station.
Tips for your adventurous tour in Oman:
Visa Oman can be simply on arrival if you enter Oman by bus or by car. You get a visa for 3 weeks, I saw with Dave … I had arranged it through the internet because there were quite a few different messages circulating. Firstly, I paid a hefty sum because the Oman site itself no longer worked and I only got a 10-day visa.
Drive yourself or with a guide?
The traffic is not chaotic and it seemed to do very well from the car. We also met many tourists who drove around themselves and who camped here and there.
What I would find a major disadvantage is that you have to organize your walks yourself. During our Wadi Tiwi walk the American couple arrived with us and could join. If this had not been the case, they would not have come down because the route was not marked and it was also very wet and so not recommended to do so without a guide. Now they could come with us and they had a great experience in the wadi!
Dress nicely as you would in any Muslim country. Shoulders covered in the towns and villages, no super short pants but preferably over the knee or just long pants. If you want to sunbathe and get a tan, you can always use the pool at your hotel, there it is of course no problem!
In Oman you can camp anywhere. Of course you have to take into account the locals privacy so you do not camp in someone’s backyard. The other side is that if you stand close you are certainly invited to come in, to stay with them for dinner and maybe even sleep. If you really want to camp, you should not do this. Are you ready for that, some companion, then you can risk it 🙂
Are you also in for an Adventurous Travel in Oman?
I did this adventurous travel in Oman in collaboration with the local travel agency Blues Skies of Oman from Oman. I always find it better to book directly with the locals and to skip the Western societies.
If you want to make a local trip with a super fun and enthusiastic guide, then you should definitely book your travel with Abdullah of Blue Skies or Oman. He took us in every day with his enthusiasm for the Omani culture and the enormous hospitality of his country. We enjoyed the short, adventurous travel in Oman that only makes us want more Omani adventures!
Did you know that you can easily make this trip from the emirates to the Sultanate of Oman?
And how nice is the combination of discovering the futuristic Abu Dhabi and Dubai and the real Middle Eastern life of Oman !! Highly recommended for a complete trip to this part of the Middle East!
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