Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $7395  
Length: 12 days
Arrive: Muscat, Oman
Depart: Muscat, Oman
Lodging: 9 nights in hotels, 1 night in deluxe desert camp, 1 night in comfortable eco-lodge
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Cultural adventures with walking tours, light hiking, rugged off-road travel, and optional swimming and camel riding
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Highlights

  • Visit colorful fishing harbors and ancient trading ports, enjoy lectures by local archaeologists
  • Meet Bedouin tribes, explore golden dunes by camel and 4WD, and spend an unforgettable night at a deluxe tented camp in the Wahiba Desert
  • Roam the narrow, perfume-filled alleys of Oman's traditional markets, enjoy a private dhow cruise
  • Witness the awesome spectacle of endangered green sea turtles nesting and hatching by moonlight
  • Explore the cliff-hugging villages, lushly terraced gardens, and historic forts of Western Hajar mountains

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

With its jagged peaks, dazzling white mosques, mystical ruins, and lively souks laden with incense and oil, it’s easy to fall under the spell of Oman. On our captivating new expedition with Trip Leader Annie Hawkins—WT’s consummate desert explorer—you’ll uncover the wonders of this enchanting realm, from opulent Sultan’s palaces and historic Islamic forts to the towering Hajar mountains, where timeless mudbrick villages sit nestled in emerald palm forests, and ancient irrigation channels spiral magically through the arid landscape. We’ll ply the Arabian Sea coast aboard a traditional dhow, mingle with village traders at a spirited goat auction, watch tiny sea turtles hatch by moonlight, and savor a rich local cuisine of succulent kebabs, saffron-infused rice, and cardamom coffee served with sweet dates. Oman’s dramatic wadis and their cool turquoise pools provide perfect natural oases, and our overnight in spectacular Wahiba Sands carries you back in time (in classic WT style!), for a camel ride amid the dunes, memorable visits to Bedouin camps, and an exhilarating 4WD journey across the boundless desert. All along the way we’ll experience the generous spirit of the Omani people and hear intriguing tales of their tribal ancestry and seafaring heritage. Join us for a true adventure into the heart of this mesmerizing land!

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Muscat

In the capital port of Muscat, set beside the glimmering Gulf of Oman, we explore inside the soaring Grand Mosque, see the Sultan's Al Alam Palace, and wander along the lanes of Muttrah Souk, Muscat's 200-year old market, its endless stalls piled roof-high with perfumes, silver crafts, and clothing.  Your introduction to Oman's historical treasures (and traditional hospitality!) takes place at Bait Al Zubair, a family-owned museum where we are invited for khawa (coffee) and dates.

Days 3-5
Ancient Villages and Historic Forts of the Western Hajar Mountains

Deep into the rugged Western Hajar, we'll find traditional cliff-hugging villages with sun-baked homes that sit spectacularly amid rose gardens, peach orchards, and date palm forests. Each lushly terraced landscape is fed by Oman's unique falaj system of irrigation, and you'll follow these unique water channels on our village-to-village hike across the Sayq plateau.  Amid these jagged mountains, we'll meet an Omani beekeeper, explore the historic forts of Jabrin and Nakhal, and marvel at the natural wonders of Wadi Nakhr, Oman's 'Grand Canyon,' and Jebel Shems (9858'), its highest peak. Our morning visit to the village of Nizwa and its famed Friday market is an exciting chance to watch the spirited negotiations of Omani goat and cattle traders in their white dishdashas (robes).

Day 6
Wahiba Sands, Bedouin Tribes, and a Deluxe Desert Camp

Eastward we reach Wahiba Sands with its golden dunes rolling as far as the eye can sea. Here you'll live the life of a nomad—in WT style!—with camel rides atop the towering sands (the dunes reach to 650 feet), visits to Bedouin tribes in their homes and camps, and an unforgettable evening under the stars at Desert Nights, Oman's most luxurious tented camp. We'll watch the sun set, feast on spice-infused Omani fare, and celebrate our adventures around the fire, with the hypnotic sounds of Bedouin musicians transporting us back in time.

Days 7-8
Desert-to-Sea Crossing, Turtle Watching by Moonlight, and a Dhow Cruise

A thrilling 4WD expedition carries us across the desert, ending at the tranquil shores and traditional fishing villages of the Arabian Sea coast. Our base is Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve, where you'll watch in wonder as giant green sea turtles lay their eggs by moonlight, and newly hatched babies scramble to the ocean. The following day we'll enjoy a refreshing dip in one of Oman's many natural pools, a walk along a pristine beach, a lesson in traditional boatmaking, and a coastal cruise aboard a wooden dhow, the elegant sailing vessels that once carried prized Frankincense as far as India and Africa.

Days 9-11
Salalah, Al Baleed, Job's Tomb, and the The Frankincense Trail

The province of Dhofar is Oman's south is a different world, with a strong Yemeni influence and a climate, language and culture all its own, and a rich history of commerce along the Frankincense Trail, Oman's ancient trade route. In the unhurried capital of Salalah, you'll explore among herds of camels that laze below coconut palms (and take over the local roads!), visit white sand beaches and pictureque fishing villages, then join expert archeologists for in-depth discoveries of the mythical ruins nearby, including the ancient port of Al Baleed—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and the trading capital of Samhuram, whose ruins date to 1000BC and overlook a beautiful estuary. We'll end our seaside adventures witn visits to mesmerizing Al Husn Souk, the limestone blowholes at Mugshail Beach, and mountain-perched Nabi Ayub, storied resting place of the prophet Job.

Day 12
Depart

We transfer for a return flight to Muscat to connect with onward flights.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated Level 2+, Easy to Moderate, according to our trip grading system. It combines cultural exploration with walking tours and light hiking, and opportunities for desert camel riding and swimming. Our expedition includes several half-days of rugged road travel in the Western Hajar mountains and an adventurous off-road crossing of the Wahiba desert dunes by 4WD vehicle. We'll overnight in a variety of accommodations, from deluxe seaside hotels and chic bungalows perched high in the mountains, to a simple accommodation with incredible access to the turtle nesting beach, and of course Desert Nights, Oman’s finest tented camp. Each participant should be in excellent health and physical condition. Daily walking or hiking, jogging, or stair-climbing are excellent for preparing for the trip.

Note: Oman is a Muslim country whose  friendly people are anchored firmly in their traditions. As guests of the country, we will be welcomed warmly and asked to respect the local customs, dress modestly, avoid alcohol consumption outside of authorized premises (alcohol will be available in hotels and restaurants), and adhere to Omani codes of etiquette for greeting others, taking photographs, swimming, and visiting mosques. More information will be provided in your confirmation materials.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2015
Oct 19-30, 2015  Annie Hawkins

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$7395 (13-15 members)
$7695 (10-12 members)
$7995 (6-9 members)
Single supplement: $1650
Forced single supplement: $1450
Internal airfare: $240 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations as noted (9 nights in hotels, 1 night in a simple eco-lodge, 1 night in a deluxe desert camp)
  • All meals included
  • Sightseeing and activites as noted in the itinerary
  • Land transportation and airport transfers as noted

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare, visa, meals not specified at the end of each itinerary day, travel insurance, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, cost of medical immunizations (if any), and other expenses of a personal nature (laundry, etc.)

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20% of trip cost
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $250 per person
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Annie Hawkins

Annie Hawkins, born and raised in a small village in Burgundy, is a passionate world traveler and one of our most enchanting Trip Leaders. After studying art history in Provence, Annie moved to California, where she led adventure tours in the American Southwest and realized that leading adventure trips was her vocation—nothing would keep her inside an office again! She has led exclusively for Wilderness Travel since 1995 and has helped us create journeys in France, Spain, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Niger, and Angola, and is thrilled to be leading our first-ever trip to the Desert Kingdom of Oman. “As a Trip Leader, I see myself as the personal ambassador to a place. In France, I love introducing the products of the “terroir” such as wine or cheese, or in southern Spain, taking the group to my home to share a paella with them. And in the Sahara, I have a passion for the wind-created landscape I call “the yellow circle” and the ingenuity of the people who live in this place of extremes. I'm also fascinated by the friendships that people forge while traveling together day after day. I remember how six guests become lifetime friends after our trip in Niger—this warms my heart!” While scouting our trip in southern Spain in 1999, Annie bought a 300-year-old house in a village clinging on the flanks of the highest mountains in Spain. It took her three years to transform it into the home she calls La Casa del Milagro. She married in 2006 and now divides her time between Europe and San Francisco, where she lives with her husband.

Upcoming Trips:

Sri Lanka, February 2-14, 2015
Southern Spain to Morocco, May 1-12, 2015
Granada to Sevilla, May 16-23, 2015
Medieval France: The Lot Valley, May 30-June 7, 2015
Normandy and Brittany, June 8-18, 2015
Hiking the French Pyrenees, July 2-10, 2015
Mont Blanc to the Mediterranean, July 12-25, 2015
Great Alpine Traverse, July 28-August 11, 2015
Tour du Mont Blanc, August 23-30, 2015
Hiking the French Pyrenees, September 7-15, 2015
Desert Kingdom of Oman, October 19-30, 2015

Client Testimonials:


Once again Annie proved her competence with graciousness and charm. You are so lucky to have her. We will travel with Annie again! Julie R., Bainbridge Island WA Annie is everything a guide should be and even more. She is your best ‘advertisement!" Emond D., Claymont DE Annie was incredibly excellent! Bill U., Mechanicsville, VA
Hiking the Haute Route
Annie is a great leader, a great person to be with. She was always able to convey a complete understanding of the place in its physical sense as well as its culture, which made it even more interesting. Maria A., New York NY
Hiking the Haute Route
Annie took my breath away. She could not have been more caring, fun, concerned. What a joy she is to everyone. Pamela R., LA Jolla CA
Great Alpine Traverse
Annie was by far the best leader we’ve ever had, and we’ve had a lot of excellent leaders with Wilderness Travel Hugh and Wendy K., Anacortes WA
Great Alpine Traverse
Annie was first rate. She charmed everyone, her knowledge of the area was superb, and she handled all the logistics and contributed to a very enjoyable trip. Larry S., Boise ID
Great Alpine Traverse
Annie was such a superb guide. Her love of the places we visited was evident in her enthusiastic nightly briefings. Angela S., Wrightsville Beach NC
Great Alpine Traverse
Annie Hawkins was terrific, outstanding in every way. She is so lovely and we had total confidence in her leadership. We hope to do another trip with her some day. Linda and Ira G., West Hartford, CT
Hiking in the Cortina Dolomites
Annie Hawkins is a marvelous Trip Leader in every way. She is a delightful personality and charming company. She oversaw all the details and added her own special touches that made our adventure really superb. Hala A., Oakland, CA
Niger: The Wodabe Gerewol Festival
Annie is better than excellent! She is professional, competent, and absolutely enchanting. We will plan another WT trip with her schedule in mind. Julie R., Bainbridge Island WA
Tour du Mont Blanc
Annie was terrific! A key part of the wonderful memory I have of this trip. Marrie C.l, Marblehead MA
Tour du Mont Blanc
Annie was terrific. She adapted her itinerary to the group beautifully and managed to cater to all levels of fitness and interest. She did a great job. Elaine H., Verona WI
Hiking in the Pyrenees
We loved Annie. She is obviously a very experienced leader. She was always enthusiastic and knew the area very well. Steve H., Verona WI
Hiking in the Pyrenees
Annie is a very resourceful leader, a professional who loves her job and shows it. Marwan B., San Jose CA
Mont Blanc to the Mediterranean
Annie Hawkins was one of the most attentive, sincere, and enjoyable guides we’ve ever had. She was spontaneous and up for any opportunity that presented itself. Craig & Debbie D., Nichols Hills, OK
Southern Spain to Morocco
Annie Hawkins is a treasure. She’s an amazing person and superb Trip Leader. I can’t wait to travel with her again. Judith K., South Portland ME
Medieval France: The Lot Valley
Annie Hawkins is the best—she is warm, engaging, caring, enhthusiastic, humorous, knowledgeable, and just a super person. Steve T., Santa Rosa, CA
Medieval France: The Lot Valley
Annie's 'eating, drinking and exploring old France' trip was just as wonderful as we expected! Jack H., Cockeysville, MD
Medieval France: The Lot Valley
Annie lives up to her fabulous reputation. She is charming, friendly, engaging, knowledgeable, completely in tune with everything going on, and totally devoted to all travelers having the best possible experience. Susan W., Albuquerque, NM
Bilbao and the Picos de Europa
Annie MADE the trip. Her enthusiasm, knowledge, and over the top attention to customer needs is unsurpassed. Lesly H., Mill Valley, CA
Mont Blanc to the Mediterranean
Annie is an ACE. I don't think you could find a better guide. Tom L., Hanalei, HI
Southern Spain to Morocco
Experienced, enthusiastic, highly knowledgeable about the Lot Valley, including the history and culture of the area. She constantly worked to enhance the experience for all of us. Tom M., Arden Hills, MN
Medieval France: The Lot Valley
Annie is fantastic, a very warm, engaging person with an exceptional knowledge of the area. And wow does she know restaurants! Linda H., La Canada, CA
Medieval France: The Lot Valley
Annie was amazing and it would be hard to top her for knowledge and charm Jeanne S., Mill Valley, CA
Granada to Sevilla
Annie is outstanding! What a special lady. You have a real gem here! Fantastic people and organizationl skills, great sense of humor. I didn't want the trip to end. Janice G., Edmonton, Canada
Granada to Sevilla
Annie's reputation as the best of the best is well deserved. One of the reasons we were treated so well, I believe, is every guide, driver, hotel and restaurant proprietor—man or woman—is totally in love with her. She is a treasure! Suzy M., Pittsburgh, PA
Medieval France: The Lot Valley
Annie was a breath of fresh air and has a subtle, fantastic sense of humor. Her coordination of picnics, meals, treats, etc. was outstanding. She has a unique talent to gauge each participant and address needs with compassion. Alan S., Oakton, VA
Heart of Switzerland