Oman walking

Exploring Oman, an Adventurous Walking Tour of the Mountains, Deserts and Forts


Until recently the Sultanate of Oman remained closed to travellers, preferring to retain its cultural traditions intact, with intriguing reports circulated of stark mountain ranges, dramatic mediaeval forts, the vast expanses of the Empty Quarter and a pristine 1,500 km coastline with offshore island archipelagos.

We spend two weeks exploring this fascinating, still relatively unknown country, where camels, dhows and colourful markets trading in gold, goats and frankincense are very much part of daily life. High in the Jebel Akhdhar (Green) range, we walk on mountain paths offering incredible views. A boat takes us out into the Gulf of Oman in search of dolphins. We explore photogenic forts with their richly decorated interiors. 4WD vehicles carry us into the dunes of the Wahiba Sands to encounter the Bedouin and to the fringes of the Empty Quarter to see frankincense trees. On our last night, we stay in an award winning 5-star hotel in Muscat, with spa facilities and a private beach.

HIGHLIGHTS of our Oman walking tour include:  

  • Superbly scenic mountain walking in the Jebel Akhdhar range and exploring date palm oases on foot  
  • 3 nights in the tropical south of Oman to see frankincense trees, camel herds, archaeology and giant baobabs  
  • A boat trip to find dolphins and visits to coastal lagoons and wooded wadis for excellent bird watching - eagles galore!  
  • Visits to carefully restored, very photogenic, forts; interesting museums; and exotic souqs
  • 4WD trip into the great dunes of the Wahiba Sands to encounter the Bedouin and experience the desert

 

Guests' comments on this trip:

‘It would be difficult to find anything to compete with the rich variety of experiences on this trip.The birds and mammals along the coast, inland, in the mountains and the deserts, the culture and history of Oman, the scenery, the walking, the social and the royal context - variously interesting, beautiful, enjoyable.’

'Oman is a hidden gem.'

DAY 1  
L, D included
After arriving at Muscat international airport in the morning, a half hour road transfer, with a visit to the magnificent Grand Mosque en route, brings us to our ocean-facing 4-star hotel, set in 10 acres of gardens, with a swimming pool and a private beach.

DAY 2 
B, L, D included 
This morning we view the 16th century Portuguese forts which guard the harbour entrances of Muscat and the Sultan’s Alam Palace, a striking example of contemporary Omani architecture. We visit the Bait al Zubair museum with its excellent displays on all aspects of Omani culture and stroll through the fascinating souq (traditional market) in Muttrah, before a late lunch and an afternoon relaxing back in our hotel.

DAY 3
B, L, D included
A boat takes us out into the Gulf of Oman in search of dolphins, sooty gulls and swift terns. With luck, we may also find the rare red-billed tropicbirds. After lunch in the yacht marina, we travel (3 hours with photo stops) by 4WD (airconditioned, with a maximum of 4 guests per vehicle) deep into the dunes of the Wahiba Sands. We encounter the Bedouin with their camel herds, climb a dune to watch the sunset and spend a memorable, and reasonably comfortable, night under the desert stars in a modified traditional Bedouin encampment, with proper beds and private bathroom facilities.

DAY 4
B, L, D included
Some exhilarating dune driving or an early morning walk start the day before we drive (2.5 hrs) to Birkat al Mawz, where the picturesque fort has been taken by force on only 2 occasions: firstly, in 973 AD, by the invading Persian army and then in 1959 by Sultan Said bin Taimur with the assistance of the British SAS. On foot we explore the traditional falaj systems which irrigate the date palm oasis, then drive 2,100 m/7,000 ft up into the mountains, enjoying magnificent views as we ascend. Our destination is a new 4-star hotel, a sustainable tourism initiative of the mountain tribes. The night stars are marvellously clear and the hot jacuzzi has a dramatic setting on the escarpment edge.

DAY 5
B, L, D included
High on the remote Sayq plateau we take 2 contrasted walks (2.5 hrs, 1.5 hrs), enjoying superb views across the Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain) range and marvelling at the steep terraces, irrigated by the ancient falaj system, where pomegranates, roses, olives and almonds have been grown for centuries. Yellow-vented bulbuls sing from any prominent post, Hume’s wheatears perch on boulders and rock martins swoop around the cliff faces. Architecturally, the villages we walk through resemble those of Yemen, with their ruined watchtowers and fortified merchant houses.

DAY 6
B, L, D included
Our walk today (4 hrs) traces the footsteps of the SAS, including the now famous Sir Peter de la Billière, who fought a number of military skirmishes here during the Jebel War in the 1950s. Old ammunition boxes and shell fragments are still occasionally found scattered on the ground. We encounter huge ancient juniper trees, soaring eagles and vultures overhead (lappet-faced and Egyptian vultures nest on the cliffs in this area) and small flocks of goats tended by the mountain tribesmen, as we cross a vast plateau with superb long views.

DAY 7
B, L, D included
Descending from the mountains, we visit the lively camel, goat and cattle market in the town of Nizwa, the mediaeval seat of power. We also visit the magnificent fort and have the opportunity to bargain for Bedouin silver jewellery, spices, traditional curved khanjars (daggers) and tribal rugs in the souq. We sample a traditional Omani lunch (fish with rice in a spiced coconut sauce, or lamb biriyani, are Omani staples) before an afternoon relaxing by the swimming pool of our colonial-style hotel in Nizwa.

DAY 8
B, L, D included
Early in the morning we visit the beautifully restored 17th century palace fort of Jabrin, where weapons, household items, the prison and gunpowder store, plus richly decorated ceilings, all combine to create a vivid sense of its heyday. We travel by 4WD (1.5 hrs) up to almost 10,000 feet, below Jebel Shams, the highest points in Oman, and take a marvellous walk (4 hours round trip) along a fairly level balcony just inside the canyon rim (a less vertiginous option is also available). The scenery is incredible, with ancient terraces and an abandoned village perched dramatically below the towering cliffs and views of the mountains stretching into infinity.

DAY 9
B, L, D included
Returning to Muscat by road (1.5 hrs), we catch the morning flight (1.5 hrs) south to Salalah, capital of Dhofar province. After settling into our 5-star hotel, set right on the coconut palm-backed beach, we travel west (40 minutes) towards the Yemen border for a walk and a swim (2 hrs) on a superb unspoilt beach. A seafood supper in the elegant restaurant on the beach at our hotel completes the day.

DAY 10
B, L, D included
As we travel east along the coast, we encounter herds of wandering camels, then walk and birdwatch at Khor Rawri, an inlet of the sea, which was for centuries an important staging port for the frankincense trade. The archaeological site here is often referred to as the ‘Queen of Sheba’s palace’. Proceeding inland, we walk in the wooded Wadi Darbat. Our final short walk takes us into the incredible baobab forest.

DAY 11
B, L, D included
4WDs take us (1.5 hrs) into the Qara mountains and the fringes of the Rub’al Khali, the Empty Quarter, for a walk (1.5 hrs) amidst dramatic scenery to see frankincense trees, Boswellia sacra, still harvested traditionally and exported worldwide. Returning to Salalah, we visit the informative Museum of the Frankincense Land on the archaeological site of Al Balid, including finds of Persian soapstone chess sets, Ming porcelain from China and pottery from Rome, Syria and Greece discovered at Ubar, ‘The Atlantis of the Sands’, a trading emporium which flourished between 500 and 300 BC and was then lost in the sands for centuries. The afternoon is free to enjoy the white sand beach at our hotel (dolphins are often just offshore) or relax in the gardens.

DAY 12
B, L, D included
After visiting the frankincense souq in Salalah town, we catch the domestic flight north to the capital, Muscat, have lunch and then a brief road transfer to our 5-star hotel, recently voted one of the best in the world. Set in beautiful gardens with a private beach, it offers every amenity. Our farewell dinner provides a memorable finale to our explorations of this fascinating and rewarding country.

DAY 13
B included
After a last morning relaxing and enjoying the hotel’s facilities, including an award-winning spa, we transfer to Muscat airport for flights home.

Per person sharing:
£5,818.25 until 1st February 2019
£5,975.50 until 1st May 2019
£6,132.75 until 1st August 2019
£6,290 after 1st August 2019
https://www.kudutravel.com/faq#discounts

£1,200 deposit per person 
£1,200 double for single room supplement 

Please note that the double room for single use supplement is imposed by the hotels and lodges and not by Kudu Travel. If you are willing to share but no other suitable guest books on the trip, we regret that the supplement will be payable.

Price includes
  • Accommodation for Days 1 to 13, based on 2 people sharing
  • Meals (with beer/soft drinks at lunches and wine/beer at dinners) as listed in the daily notation (please note that alcohol is not always available at lunch, nor at the Bedouin camp)
  • 2 domestic flights: Muscat/Salalah/Muscat
  • Land transportation in private airconditioned 4WD vehicles, or private airconditioned minibus, except during free periods
  • Boat trip as described in the itinerary
  • Entrance and sightseeing fees, except during free periods
  • Services of Kudu tour leader and local guides and drivers
  • Gratuities for hotel and restaurant staff plus local guides and drivers (appreciation for your Kudu tour leader is at your discretion)
 
Price does not include
  • Flights to and from Muscat
  • Trip cancellation, medical or other insurance
  • Immunisations, prescriptions or other medical requirements
  • Passport, visa and health documentation
  • Personal expenses (laundry, alcohol other than beer with group lunches and wine with group dinners, free time activities, etc.)
  • Meals noted as excepted in the daily notation
  • Transport and transfer of excess baggage
  • Omani departure tax, if any
 
VALUE FOR MONEY - SO MUCH IS INCLUDED

On Kudu trips, you will only need money for postcards, presents to take home, the odd G & T or an irresistible ice cream. Festival and opera tickets, museum and gallery entrances, National Park fees, all meals (with a very few exceptions specified in individual itineraries), wine with lunch and dinner, access to specialist books carried by the guides, gratuities for porters and hotel and restaurant staff, boat rides, train trips, internal flights, wine tastings, 4WDs with drivers, the services of skilled local guides and trackers etc are ALL INCLUDED in the cost of your holiday. 

We are confident that, like previous very satisfied guests, you will discover that our tours give you excellent value for money.

  • 2 nights in Muscat, in an ocean-facing 4-star hotel, set in 10 acres of gardens, with a swimming pool and a private beach

  • 1 night in a modified traditional Bedouin encampment (with proper beds and private bathroom facilities)

  • 3 nights in the mountains, in a stylish new 4-star hotel, a sustainable tourism initiative of the mountain tribes

  • 2 nights in a colonial-style hotel in Nizwa

  • 3 nights in a 5-star hotel on Salalah beach

  • 1 night in the 5-star Chedi in Muscat

Visa and Health Requirements

Visitors from EU countries, USA, Australia and New Zealand currently require a valid passport and a visa for entry to Oman. The simplest way to obtain a visa is to apply online on https://evisa.rop.gov.om/en/apply-for-a-visa. Costs start at 20 Omani Riyals (approx. £ 40).

If you are a national of any other country, please check visa regulations with your nearest Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman.

At present, there are no compulsory health requirements for entry to Oman. Please consult your doctor at least 6 weeks before departure about updating your immunisation against Hepatitis A, polio, tetanus and typhoid, or anything else they consider advisable. A dental check up is also a sensible idea. You may also wish to check the advice given to travellers by the Department of Health and the FCO.

Insurance
It is essential, and a condition of booking, that you protect yourself with a suitable travel insurance policy as soon as you book a trip. We can arrange comprehensive cover for UK residents. Follow this link for a quote for a policy available to UK residents.

If you are already insured or a non-UK resident, please inform us of your policy at the time of booking.

Size of party
This trip will run with a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 14 guests.


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