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A Guide to Road Tripping in Oman

Oman

A road trip around Oman is a truly adventurous experience. Here we talk to Flight Centre customer Jane McNicholas and her husband Pierre about the outstanding hospitality and ever-changing landscapes when they got behind the wheel in this Middle Eastern paradise.

Camels in Oman

Camels in Oman

Oman's Beautiful Scenery and Delicious Cuisine Awaits

At times it felt like driving on Mars, then we were on fabulous coastal routes, or travelling through stunning mountain scenery interspersed with wadis (valleys) and natural pools. We spent one whole day swimming and relaxing on the white rocks of Wadi Bani Khalid – we climbed past the first pool to one higher up and had it all to ourselves…

Our Journey began in Muscat, where we spent two days admiring the treasures in the glittering souk and exploring Omani history at the National Museum, and had perhaps our best meal at a low-key restaurant opposite the fish market in Muttrah, the old port. A friendly waiter served up the freshest barbecued whole fish, prawns, salad, rice and homemade hummus and bread, all for about £12 each.

Inside a souk, Muscat

Inside a souk, Muscat

Oman is Full of Friendly Locals

The city was very, very hot. But we found a refreshing breeze by the sea. We travelled 20 minutes down the coast to a locals’ beach with lovely water. Outside hotel grounds it’s expected that knees and shoulders are covered (which applies to both males and females), so it was here, while we were awkwardly changing in the car, that a man came running out of his house to talk to us… We weren’t sure what he was saying, so we drove off! When we parked up again, he came over to explain he was offering us a room in his house to get changed, as well as the use of a tap to wash our feet after being on the beach.

Omani beach at the Barr Al Jissah in Oman, east of Muscat

Omani beach at the Barr Al Jissah in Oman, east of Muscat

This sums up the welcoming nature of the Omani people. Wherever we went, from a motorway service station to a tent in the desert, a simple family-run guesthouse or five-star ‘palace’, we were treated like old friends and shown such kindness.

Omani woman

Omani woman

Extravagant Lodging in Oman

The Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort is the most luxurious place I have ever stayed. The rooms and infinity pool overlook a vast canyon, and the staff knew us by name as we wandered around. From here we explored the city of Nizwa – trying the most refreshing lime-mint drink in a tiny café behind the souk – and the surrounding mountain villages.

Peaceful Surroundings Fill the City

One day we walked for around two hours, passing terraces planted with roses and pomegranates, and visited three small villages. At the last, we found an unmanned museum with a roof terrace, where a flask of coffee and some dates had been left for visitors to enjoy. Another morning I woke up at 5.15am and curled up on an outdoor couch to watch the sunrise. There wasn’t a soul anywhere; it was just me and the sunrise. It was wonderful watching the world turn from inky blue to blush and gold.

Traditional Oman coffee, dates and sweets

Traditional Oman coffee, dates and sweets

Seeing Turtles in Oman

A highlight was seeing turtles lay their eggs in Ras Al Jinz. We crouched down on the beach in the dark to watch them slowly climb into the dunes (leaving tractor-tyre-sized tracks behind them) and start firing the sand into the air with their enormous flippers. It felt such a privilege to be there. Another special experience was in Salalah, where we were eating beside the water one night when we saw a huge ray feeding on the rocks next to us. We watched it for about half an hour. It felt as if even the wildlife was welcoming us to Oman.

Green sea turtle, Ras Al Jinz, Oman

Green sea turtle, Ras Al Jinz, Oman

Things You'll Love About Road Tripping in Oman

The atmosphere

“Nowhere felt off limits here. We were welcomed into local coffee houses, where people shared helpful insights and ideas about things to see and do.”

It's easy to get around

“The infrastructure is excellent. It’s easy to navigate and so dramatic seeing the roads cut through mountains and across desert.”

The food is delicious

“Cuisine is typically Middle Eastern, and very good. But alcohol is really expensive. A bottle of wine that costs £8 in a supermarket in the UK was £60 in one hotel.”

There are so many great places to stay

“Accommodation is out of this world. We spent a night in a luxurious desert camp (with air con!), and sitting in the dunes to watch the sunset was such a peaceful experience.”

The landscapes are postcard-worthy

“In just over a week we took in seaside, mountains and desert, as well as the less arid region of Salalah. Oman is an incredibly diverse country.”

Written by Flight Centre UK

At Flight Centre we are long-haul, tailor-made holiday specialists offering amazing travel experiences. Our lovely humans Travel Consultants have a real can-do attitude, and are passionate about sharing their stories and travel news with you on our blog!

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