Desert Kingdom of Oman route-map

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.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

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 sunbaked 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 (9,858'), 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

We reach Wahiba Sands with its golden dunes rolling as far as the eye can see. 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 9-12
Salalah, Al Baleed, Job's Tomb, and 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 picturesque fishing villages, then join expert archaeologists 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 with visits to mesmerizing Al Husn Souk, the limestone blowholes at Mugshail Beach, and mountain-perched Nabi Ayub, storied resting place of the prophet Job. Depart on Day 12 via Muscat.

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
2016
Jan 18-29, 2016  Mark Gordon
Oct 24-Nov 4, 2016  Annie Hawkins
2017
Jan 23-Feb 3, 2017  Mark Gordon
Oct 30-Nov 10, 2017  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 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
90-46 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.

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.)

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Mark Gordon

Departure Dates: January 18-29, 2016, January 23-February 3, 2017

Having lived in Marrakesh, Morocco, since 1982, Mark Gordon has led numerous expeditions and journeys for us throughout West and North Africa, and we’re excited to have him lead our expedition to Oman in 2016. Originally from America, Mark fell in love with Morocco after serving in the ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Annie Hawkins

Departure Dates: October 19-30, 2015, October 24-November 4, 2016, October 30-November 10, 2017

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 ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips