You should arrive at the airport for your overnight direct flight this evening to Muscat.
After our morning arrival, we transfer to a nearby hotel for breakfast. Soon we are on our way through Oman’s stunning desert landscape to the country’s ancient capital, Nizwa. Surrounded by high rocky peaks, Nizwa is known for its bustling souk and formidable castle. Our hotel for the next three nights is the four-star Golden Tulip, with breakfast. The hotel’s low-rise buildings are centred on a large pool and pleasant gardens. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the imposing Jabreen Castle, which is really more of a fortified palace and considered one of the most beautiful castles in the country.
An early start will give you an opportunity to see the weekly livestock market, when farmers and traders from miles around come in to auction their sheep, goats and cattle – it’s a fascinating glimpse into old Arabia! We continue to Nizwa’s extraordinary fort, which dominates the town. Crowned by its 98-foot-high round tower, the fort is a highly sophisticated defensive structure, with numerous trapdoors and ‘murder holes’ through which boiling date juice could be poured on to attackers. The castle is surrounded by the souk, particularly known for local silverwork. The rest of the day is at leisure at your hotel.
This morning we travel to the nearby oasis of Al Hamra, where thousands of date palms cover the lush valley, fed by the traditional Omani ‘falaj’ system of water channels. The 400-year-old village has numerous large mud-brick mansions, many of them up to three storeys tall, with beautifully decorated palm-wood ceilings. One of these has been meticulously restored to show you what life here was really like before the advent of the modern world. We have the chance to take a walk through the verdant oasis, shaded by date palms, before enjoying a typical Omani lunch at a nearby mansion house.
We say goodbye to Nizwa as we head further into the interior of the country towards the Wahiba Sands, with the classic desert landscape of rolling red sand dunes as far as the eye can see. We’ll transfer to 4x4 vehicles to begin our exciting journey through the dunes towards our home for the night, the simple three-star Sama al Wasil Camp, with dinner included tonight under the communal open-air tent. Our rooms are in small single-storey ‘cabins’, with private bathroom and air-conditioning. As the sunset casts a fiery red glow over the sweeping desert, we’ll enjoy drinks and snacks at the top of one of the dunes.
For the more adventurous, this morning you have the option of a powered tandem paraglider flight over the desert. Our tour continues towards the ancient port city of Sur, known as the centre of dhow boatbuilding in the country. We’ll visit the last working boatyard to see how these superbly handcrafted all-wood ships are constructed. Our hotel for tonight is the three-star superior Sur Plaza, with breakfast. This evening we drive out to the Ras al-Jinz Turtle Reserve for the chance to witness green turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs.
This morning we’ll follow the coastal road northwards towards Muscat. On the way, we’ll stop briefly at the attractive fishing port of Qurayyat and at the Bimmah sinkhole before arriving at our hotel for the next three nights, the newly refurbished four-star superior Crowne Plaza Qurum, with breakfast. The hotel is in a superb elevated position overlooking the Arabian Sea, with a large pool, small sandy cove and several restaurants. Sea-view rooms are available at a small supplement.
We start our exploration of Oman’s capital city with a visit to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Constructed in 2001, this vast edifice boasts the second-largest Persian carpet in the world, as well as the largest chandelier in the world. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and vaulted cloisters, it is the architectural ‘jewel in the crown’ of Muscat. We continue to the old port of Muttrah and visit its atmospheric souk for some last-minute souvenirs. Our final stop is the famed Al Alam palace and the surrounding old Portuguese colonial forts.
Your last full day in Oman is yours to do as you wish. You can spend it at leisure around the open-air pool bar at the hotel, or perhaps for the more adventurous, a full-day 4x4 adventure amongst the deep wadis and peaks of the Hajar Mountains may be the ideal way to end your Oman journey.
Transfer to the airport for your direct return flight and arrive in the UK later the same day.