A tour to discover Oman differently : mountain oases, salt desert, Empty Quarter's huge dunes, the mysterious Huqf region, Khaluf's white desert (,)and wild wadis... An easy tour but a true adventure in secret and secluded places...
No difficulty. Easy and short walks. Apporpriate for anyone walking occasionaly
Easy hikes with elevation gain of less than 300 meters with no big terrain difficulty
Hikes with an elevation gain from 300 to 800 meters. Appropriate for those who are used to walk in the mountain. The hikes mentioned Level 3 with a lesser elevation gain present terrain difficulties
Hikes with an elevation gain from 800 to 1100 meters. For fit mountain hikers
Long hikes with an elevation gain of more than 1000 meters and may require scrambling or easy climbing in some parts of the trail
- Transfer Muttrah - Al Awabi (2 h - 200 Km) - Transfer Al Awabi - Al Alya (Wadi Bani Kharus) (1 h - 30 Km)
Hike from Al Alya to the Palm Garden of Al Dar (4 hours ). We start from Al Alya located at the end of Wadi Bani Kharus. We walk in the wadi and on the luxuriant terraces of the palm garden. The path then heads along the valley, goes up to a small pass and down to Al Dar. Al Dar is a palm garden only accessible by foot : the inhabitants of A Alya come there every day to take care of the cultures and of the falaj (traditional irrigation system). It is a lovely place and the palm garden is so luxuriant that we have the impression to be in a tropical country! We come back using the same way.
- Level 2
- Walking time : 2 to 4 h
- Height difference : +300m/-300m
- Transfer Al Alya (Wadi Bani Kharus) - Bimah (2 h 15 - 65 Km)
Mountain hut Bimah. A very nice and pleasant place to stay, located in the heart of Wadi Bani Awf, only a few steps from the Snake Canyon and a 5-minute drive (or 5-hour hike) from Balad Sit. It's a rustic but beautiful mountain hut with 4 dormitories (4 to 10 persons on bunkbeds), 2 private rooms, and 3 bathrooms with hot shower. Located in a natural and peaceful environment, you'll find many places to relax after hiking... Dormitory. Dormitories from 4 to 10 persons with bunkbeds and A/C. Breakfast and dinner at the hotel.
- Transfer Bimah - Balad Sit (0 h 15 - 5 Km)
Walk in Balad Sit (2 h ). We start from the main valley and head to a narrow gorge. This part of the walk is just wonderful! At the end of the gorge, we discover the village of Balad Sit ('the hidden village'). Built on a small hill and surrounded by cliffs, this village is one of the most beautiful of Oman. We walk through the village and the gardens and come back through an other branch of the small gorge.
- Level 1
- Walking time : 1 to 2 h
- Height difference : +50m/-50m
- Transfer Balad Sit - Al Hamra (1 h 30 - 50 Km) - We Cross the mountain through Sharaf Al Alamain Pass. That's the only pass whch allows to cross the Westrn Hajar by car. There is tarmac road on the southern slope, but on the northern side, a steep track goes down to Wadi Bani Awf offering stunning views.
Visit of Bait As Safah (1 h 30). Bait As Safah is a traditional omani house located in the old city of Al Hamra. The women of the village welcome us in this house and show us how they make omani bread, Omani coffee, carpets, different
creams and lotions made from mountain plants.
- Transfer Al Hamra - Misfat Al Abreyeen (12 min - 10 Km)
Short walk along the gardens of Misfat Al Abreyeen (2 h). Misfat Al Abreyen is one of the most beautiful mountain villages of Oman. It is located on the southern side of the mountain, on the slope of a canyon. The gardens were built all around the old village on man-made terraces. Located at an altitude of 800 meters, we find a wide variety of tropical fruits : bananas, papayas, oranges, limes, dates, pomegranates, etc... The old village is still inhabited..
- Level 1
- Walking time : 1 to 2 h
- Height difference : +100m/-100m
Guesthouse in Misfat Al Abreyeen. We spend the night in a traditional Omani house, where we find ancient architecture and modern comfort. Located inside the palm garden, it is an enchanting place… The guesthouse is located a few minutes walk from the parking ; so, please plan a small bag with only the items you need for that night. Also show some respect to the inhabitants of the village: it is forbidden to bring alcohol into the village and to smoke inside the house ; we thank you in advance for respecting these rules! Standard Room. Rooms with A/C and a simple and rustic decoration typical of mountain houses. Shared bathroom.. Breakfast and dinner at the hotel.
- Transfer Misfat Al Abreyeen - Al Khitaym (1 h 12 - 50 Km)
Hike on top of Arabia's Grand Canyon to Sab Bani Khamis (4 h ). We start the walk at Al Khitaym. The path is very easy and offers all Grand Canyon. On the way we can see the highest point of the country built in the cliff : Sab Bani Khamis. The village was abandonned and only some 5 to 10 families were living there, taking care of their goats. We come back the same way. It is a very easy wonderful walk!
- Level 2
- Walking time : 2 to 3 h
- Height difference : +250m/-250m
- Transfer Jebel Shams plateau - Al Hamra (1 h - 50 Km)
Visit of Bait As Safah (1 h 30). Bait Al Safah is a traditional Omani house located in the old city of Al Hamra. The women of the village welcome us in this house and show us how they produce Omani bread, Omani coffee, carpets, different creams and lotions made from mountain plants.
- Transfer Jebel Shams plateau - Nizwa (1 h 30 - 100 Km)
Al Diyar Hotel. Medium category hotel **. Located at 5 km from Nizwa souk, it has a swimming pool and is of international standards. Standard Room. Each room is equipped with bath or shower toilet fridge and TV. Breakfast at the hotel.
Souk of Nizwa (1 h 30). Nizwa is a major city of Oman located at the foot of the mountains in the interior of the country. In the past it was the capital of Oman and it remains the cultural center of for mountain people. The souk was renovated some 15 years ago. Friday is the market day, called 'Souq Al Jumaa', and brings visitors from the nearby mountains as well as Beduins from the desert. The livestock souk is particularly worth a visit but you find also the fish souk, vegetable souk, meat souk, as well as some people selling moutain honey, dates, incense and many more things you might need..
Visit of the fort of Nizwa (1 h ). The fort of Nizwa was renovated only recently . It has a defensive part (the so called citadelle) and a housing part (which was designed by the Imam and scholars). From the top of the citadelle we have stunning views over Nizwa and its palm cove, the largest of the country. The under-floor of the fort was occupied by prison cells. These have been done up to serve as museum about local culture. The museum is small but very well done. It is worth a visit!
- Transfer Nizwa - Fahud (2 h - 150 Km) - Transfer Fahud - Umm As Samim (1 h 30 - 150 Km)
Stop in the Salt Desert of "Umm As Sammim" (30 min). In Arabic, 'Umm As Sammim' means 'the mother of poison'. It is a very dry and plane stretch of salt. It is very unhospitable for life and there is no vegetation. We stop at this extraordinary place to have a look at the salt crust.
- Transfer Umm As Samim - Rub Al Khali (1 h - 80 Km)
Short walk in the sands to sea the sunset (1 h). We go have a walk across the high dunes of the Rub Al Khali (Empty quarter in Arabic), the huge and arid desert of Saudi Arabia that crosses Oman's border. We'll walk up a dune to see an unbelievable sunset in this unbelievable landscape.
- Level 2
- Walking time : 1 à 2 h
- Hight difference : +150m/-150m
Bivouac in the Empty Quarter. We set our camp at the foot of the huge dunes of the Rub Al Khali. Individual camping tent.
Hiking in Rub al Khali (6 h). Morning, we start walking from our camp. We climb several high dunes which surround us : the ascent is sometimes exhausting, but the descent is quick and fun and gives us sometimes the opportunity to hear the dunes sing. Around noon, we walk back to our (our) camp, have lunch and rest in a place in the shade. In the late afternoon,we climb another huge dune to get to its summit and enjoy a wonderful sunset at the top.
- Level 3
- Walking time : 4 to 5 hours
- Height difference : +150m/-150m
Bivouac in the Empty Quarter. We set up our camp at the foot of the huge dunes of the Rub Al Khali. Individual camping tent.
- Transfer Rub Al Khali - Qarn Kibrit (3 h - 250 Km)
Salt Dome of Qarn Kibrit (1 h). We stop to see a hill completely made of cristalized salt. We also explore an ancient gallery which was used by miners.
- Transfer Qarn Kibrit - Jebel Kobra (45 min - 70 Km)
Short walk in the rocky chaos of Jebel Kobra (2 h). We stop at the foot of the cliffs made of white lime stone. We then walk across the many small gorges which is a very exclusive place with unbelievable landscapes. The rocks here have very particular shapes...
- Level 3
- Walking time : 1 to 2 h
Bivouac at the bottom of the cliffs. We set up our camp at the bottom of the cliffs, just at the entry of a small gorge. Individual camping tent.
- Transfer Jebel Kobra - Jebel Serj (45 min - 55 Km)
Jebel Serj (2 h ). We stop to have a look at a strange sandstone range in the middle of an arid plain. The rock has been eroded by winds and offers very tortuous shapes.
- Transfer Jebel Serj - Khaluf's desert, also called White Desert, between rocks and sand (2 h - 150 Km)
Walk across sand and rocks (3 h). We walk across rocky outcrops covered by sand in the surroundings of the White Desert. It is a wonderful place. The sand has different colours : sometimes cream and sometimes red. And there is a small acacia forest which gives a touch of green to the landscape.
- Level 2
- Walking time : 2 to 3 h
Bivouac desert. We set up our camp in the sand, in an 'acacia forest'. Around us are some rocky hills and Sanddunes. Individual camping tent.
- Transfer Khaluf's desert, between rocks and sand - Khaluf (1 h - 60 Km)
Stop in Khaluf (1 h ). Khaluf is a very picturesque fishing Beduin village : it feels like being at the far end of the world: old 4WD are covered with algaes and shells tow small boats coming back from fishing.
- Transfer Khaluf - White Desert on the sea (20 min - 20 Km)
Short walk in the white sand dunes (2 h). We have a walk in the white sand dunes. It's a very surprising and beautiful place.
- Level 2
Swimming in Khaluf (2 h). Hard to say if we are on the beach or in the desert, since the dunes arrive in the sea… Here endless beaches stretch along the Indian Ocean. A bath is just great!
Bivouac in the White Desert, next to the sea. We set up our camp in the first dunes of the White Desert, just 50 meters from the sea. This place is magical and extraordinary : on one side we have pure white dunes, whereas on the other side we have the Indian Ocean. Individual camping tent
Short walk in Ras Al Ruwais (1 h). We stop for a walk in Ras Al Ruwais. Here sand dunes litteraly overlook the sea, set on a sandstone basement (petrified sand) erroded by the sea and the wind to form original cliffs.
- Transfer Ras Ar Ruays - Qihayd (village at the foot of the dunes and on seashore) (30 min - 50 Km) - Transfer Qihayd (village at the foot of the dunes and on seashore) - Our Camp in Wahiba sands (4 h - 180 Km) - A spectacular crossing of the Wahiba desert by 4WD. The track is usually well marked, but sometimes sand blown by the wind covers it. We start at the sea and cross the desert towards the North. The more we drive the higher are the longitudinal dunes
Safari Desert Camp. A very nice camp which lays the middle of the sand dunes, in a quiet and wild area. There is no electricity, which makes this camp more authentic. Tea, coffee, water and soft drinks are complimentary. There are also some nice lounges where you can relax and smoke sheesha. Arabic Tent with private bathroom. Arabic tents nicely done up as hotel rooms : bed, carpets, table, chairs. Private bathroom.. Breakfast and dinner at the hotel.
- Transfer our camp in Wahiba Sands - Bidiyah (30 min - 30 Km) - Transfer Bidiyah - Bidah (1 h - 50 Km)
Hiking and swimming in the lower part of Wadi Bani Khalid (3 h). The lower part of this valley forms a narrow and wild canyon. We start from the lovely village of Bidah and cross its palm garden to access the entrance of the canyon. We hike in the canyon between big boulders (the way is not very easy but doesn't last long) until we arrive to a splendid pool with a waterfall. We have a rest here and enjoy the swimming in this secluded place. For those who like jumping, a very nice 10-meter jump is possible there.
- Level 2
- Walking time : 1 to 2 h
- Transfer Wadi Bani Khalid to Raz Al Hadd
Bivouac at Ras al Hadd. Individual tent.
- Transfer Raz al Hadd to Sur.
Walk in Al Jahl (2 h). Visit of the city of Sur (2 h). Sur is a big but quiet city. It is built on the seashore and extends along a wonderful logoon. In teh past it wa renovated for the naval construction. This traditional industry is declining but there is still one factory which produces wondeful traditional arabic dhows. We stop for a visit. We then walk up to a watch tower from which we have the best view over the city.
Wadi Shab. Walk and unforgettable swim in Wadi Shab (3 h). We start from the sea and start hiking into the wadi. After 45 minutes to 1 hour walk in this beautiful wadi we'll go into the water : we swim from pool to pool to discover this incredible place. But we don't tell you more about this since it has to be a surprise!
Bivouac Fins. Individual tent.
- Transfer Fins to Wadi Tiwi
Wadi Tiwi. Full Day in Wadi Tiwi (6 h). We start from a village called Saymah. We walk on an old donkey path a little up the wadi. The views are splendid. The palm trees are so dense in this wadi that they look like a green river. As we arrive in another village, we go down and walk at the bottom of the wadi, on the falaj canal, along the river or between the boulders, We finally arrive to a nice pool surrounded by cliffs and palm trees
Bivouac Fins. Individual camping tent.
- Transfer Wadi Tiwi to Sinkhole
Sinkhole . That look just like a sinkhole, but filled with pure crystal green and blue water, and surrounded by rocky formations and green palm trees.
Wadi Al Arabiyeen. The wadi is dug by a huge furrow on the eastern slope of the mountain Hajar Mountains.
Wadi Dayqah. One of the great attractions of Oman is a huge dam in the Wadi Dayqah Valley
Ryiam Hotel. It is only 20 minutes walking from the souk and corniche. This hotel offers comfortable rooms each with its own decoraction and character.
Muttrah fish and vegetables souk (1 h). It is a very lively and typical place that is worth a visit. We only rarely see such a choice of fish(es) : many species of bream and grouper, tuna, swordfish, kingfish, shark, squid, crab, shrimp, and even parrot fish and other multicolor fish. Next to the fish market is the vegetable market where you'll find fruits,vegetables, dates, honey, thyme, etc...
- Transfer Muttrah - Al Khiran (45 min - 50 Km)
Snorkelling and boat tour in Khiran (4 h). The bay of bandar Khiran is located only 30 km east from Muscat. There, the mountains fall down to the sea and form a lot of small tiny coves. We take a fisherman's boat in the village of Al Khiran and have a tour in the bay to see mangrove, seabirds, and the many sandy coves. Finally we stop on a wonderful beach, have lunch with grilled fish, and enjoy a rest on the beach and snorkelling. Among other fish you will probably see here : surgeon fish, tigerfish, butterfly fish, angelfish, and even sometimes, if we are lucky, you'll be able to swim with turtles. ATTENTION : When the sea is rough, this cove is not reachable by boat ; we go to another one which is also nice and suitable for snorkelling, but the seabed is not so rich.
- Transfer Al Khiran - Muttrah (45 min - 50 Km))
Visit of Muttrah Souk (2 h). The main building of the souk is beautifully decorated : painted wooden roof and stained glass windows. Some smaller streets start on all sides and are full of small shops. You'll have a walk through this labirynth in search of what you want to take home with you. The souk is organized by product type : there is a place for gold, one for silver, one for gifts, one for carpets, one for garments etc...
Mutrah Hotel. Mutrah Hotel is the first hotel built in Oman. It is only 20 minutes walking from the Souk and Corniche.