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6 Things to see on your next trip to Oman

From the vast expanse of Sharqiya Sands to the bustling, historic port of Sur, here are 6 things you have to see on your next trip to Oman.

 

1. Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi

Following Oman's coastal road south from Muscat, the mountains meet the sea, and it is here that you can find the impressive canyons of Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi. Dramatic scenery provides ample opportunity for hiking and photography. Each canyon is home to startlingly blue pools of water - some of which you can swim in - and lush vegetation and palms scattered throughout steep canyon walls. While a moderately strenuous walk is required to reach the best pools for swimming, a peaceful dip in the water is well worth the effort. In Wadi Tiwi you’ll also find a handful of tiny hamlets dotted through the gorge.

2. Sharqiya Sands

Stretching 180 kilometres by 80 kilometres, the Sharqiya Sands is a vast and beautiful desert, home to the Bedu nomadic tribesmen. A landscape of seemingly endless undulating red and white sand dunes, it’s especially popular for exhilarating 4WD experiences. Whether you're exploring the coast and mountains or trekking Oman, you’ll enjoy a night wild camping amid this ocean of sand. Be sure to soak up the crystal-clear starry sky at night and, in the morning, you'll wake to find the intricate trails of desert creatures and insects.

3. Nizwa Fort

Built at the start of the 17th century, Nizwa Fort took 12 years to complete. Standing at 34 metres tall, this impressive fortress is a stunning example of old Omani architecture with a cylindrical tower and numerous viewpoints overlooking the surrounding palm plantations. While it was once a formidable fortress under siege you can now explore this historic landmark, complete with a museum inside the fort housing artefacts and folklore. 

4. Port of Sur

Once a major trading port, Sur is the centre of Oman’s seafaring history that sailed far and wide by the 6th century. Here, traditional dhow boats have been constructed for hundreds of years using the same technique, and they're still built today. As you explore the coast of Oman you’ll visit a Sur shipbuilding yard where expert craftsmen build these traditional wooden vessels. This port city also boasts a scenic lighthouse and a charming old town, as well as three ancient impressive fortresses.

5. Jebel Shams

Reaching an elevation of 3,009 metres, Jebel Shams - meaning Mountain of the Sun - is Oman’s highest mountain. While the highest elevation point is occupied as a military base, the South Summit - at 2,997 metres - is an iconic spot for sightseeing over Oman’s spectacular Grand Canyon. For those looking to explore further, the Jebel Shams Balcony Walk follows the canyon rim, with awe-inspiring scenery and ancient abandoned structures along the way.

Image credits: George Turner

6. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

A grand feat of modern Islamic architecture, Sultan Qaboos’ Grand Mosque can accommodate some 20,000 worshippers. While its main chandelier is no longer the largest in the world, it’s no less breathtaking, with 600,000 Swarovski crystals and 1,122 bulbs. The 21-tonne hand-loomed prayer carpet is also an impressive work of art, taking 600 individuals four years to complete. You’ll find the Grand Mosque in Oman’s capital city, Muscat.

Image credits: George Turner

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