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On this trekking adventure we explore Oman's remarkable natural beauty and contrasting landscapes. Discover spectacular canyons and deep wadis, on hiking trails through remote village oases in the oldest independent state of the Arab world.
Explore Tour Leader
3 nights simple camping
4 nights comfortable hotel
2 nights simple tented camp
Moderate and Challenging
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Muscat, the capital of Oman; a modern, clean and laid-back city that is less high-rise than most cities in the Gulf. Surrounded by the Gulf of Oman and dramatic mountains that naturally restricted its growth the modern city has spread out into neighbouring valleys and up the coast, and orientation can be confusing. Old Muscat is dominated by the Portuguese fortresses of Merani and Jalali built in 1587 and the Sultan's Palace.
For those arriving on time today our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 12pm for the welcome meeting and to take us on a guided tour of Muscat and our first walk. We start with the Bait Al Zubair Museum, proceeding to see Al Alam Sultan's Palace from the outside. To get our legs moving after the flight we plan a short and beautiful guided walk from Riyam Park to Muttrah with great views over the old town. We will also have the chance to visit the bustling souk in Muttrah.
If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Muscat International Airport (MCT), which is a 30-minute drive from the airport.
Please note that if you wish to join the tour of Muscat today, you must arrive at the hotel by 12pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least 90 minutes to clear the airport, so the latest your flight can arrive is 10am. Should you miss this, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
Today's easy 3 kilometre trek is expected to take around two hours with 200 metres of ascent and descent.
Ramee Guestline Hotel (or similar)
After an early start we visit the impressive, modern Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Photography is permitted. Woman are required to cover their arms, ankles and hair (head scarf required - not opaque). Men are required to cover their legs. We then leave Muscat and start our 3 hour scenic drive into the Western Hajar Mountains. The Al-Hajar Mountains run through the spine of north-eastern Oman, separating the high desert plateau from the coastal plain.
After a picnic lunch near Al Khatim village we start our trek along the spectacular balcony walk to the abandoned village of As Sab and return the same way. This dramatic introduction to Oman is probably the most famous hike in the country, winding around the cliffs high above the Wadi Ghul-Nakhar Valley (Oman's own Grand Canyon) a kilometre below. The path winds around the cliffs, with stunning views into the canyon and the little villages at the bottom. As Sab village is positioned under a large rock overhang, remains of the simple stone houses and crop terraces can be seen. We return the same way to our first campsite (about 1,900m) near Al Khatim village on the Al Qannah Plateau in time for dinner under a star-filled sky.
Tonight is our first wild camping experience and each time will be supported by a dedicated crew who will prepare our delicious food and make and break camp. The seating will be in traditional Omani style with cushions on the floor and toilets are al-fresco!
Today's moderate grade eight kilometre trek is expected to take around four hours with 100 metres of ascent and descent. On rocky terrain, the uneven rim path is narrow at times with drop offs on one side . Although these are never sheer and it is possible to keep away from edge, this hike is not recommended for vertigo sufferers.
Igloo Tent - Al Quwatt village (or similar)
Simple Tented Camp
This morning after breakfast, we meet our trusty 4WD vehicles that we will use over the following week to traverse the wild mountainous interior on a mixture of unsurfaced and surfaced roads. We head off towards Wadi Ghul Dam, leaving camp early allows us time to drive through the canyon, it's impressive to see from the bottom looking up, contemplating the sheer magnitude of the Wadi.
Today's hike will follow the OMAN by UTMB® (an international ultra-marathon running competition in the mountains) trail from the Wadi up to Hayl Al Shas. The ascent is quite steep for the first hour, with narrow sections, crossing Wadi Al Naqa to reach the plateau and village. Now on top we are rewarded with stunning panoramas of the surrounding valley. Continuing we pass near to The View Oman, a luxury eco resort and quite the contrast to the local goat keeper houses and traditional livelihoods we see along the way. Crossing the dry Al Mlah Wadi we will walk through Al Quwatt village to reach the camping spot (1,500m)
Today's moderate grade 12 kilometre trek is expected to take around six hours with 500 metres of ascent.
After breakfast at the camp, we drive an hour to the beautiful village of Misfat al Abriyyin, notable for its traditional architecture and farming practices. A true mountain oasis, the village is a splash of green in the otherwise barren landscape, with terracing and gardens fed by ancient irrigation systems and mud houses built on solid rock. For thousands of years self-sufficient oases have flourished in the folds of rocks, using an ancient irrigation system known as falaj. These are water channels that never dry up, often contoured round wadis or tunnelled through the cliffs in order to tap the water table. Upkeep of the life-giving falaj is a community responsibility and contributes to maintaining harmony within a village.
Our hike today follows old donkey trails from the village at 900 metres, and we make our way steadily ascending stopping occasionally to take in the views behind us as the landscape opens up. As we reach the plateau at around 2,000m we gain spectacular views over Wadi Bani Awf and Balad Sait village a thousand metres below. The final four kilometres are towards the edge of the plateau and we are spoilt with dramatic views to the north and south. Finally, our hike ends at Sharaf al Alamayn (2,050m) where the trail intercepts the HAAT road and our 4WDs are waiting. We drive for around an hour to our hotel (with its welcoming shower and comfortable beds!) on the outskirts of Nizwa, the capital of Oman from 751 to 1154 AD and still regarded as the cultural capital.
Today's challenging grade 13 kilometre trek is expected to take around six to seven hours with 1,050 metres of ascent. The trail is steep in places on the initial ascent, with some sections climbing up old stone staircases.
Al Diyar Hotel (or similar)
We start the day with an exploration of Nizwa including the centuries-old Friday cattle auction, a fascinating insight into Omani rural life that draws villagers from all around. The souqs are also worth a visit and local craftsmanship is particularly famous for the khanjar - a curved dagger originating from Oman still worn by men for ceremonial occasions. We continue to the 17th century fort, built to guard the Sumail Gap during the struggle between the Sultan and the radical Imams. Nizwa was the centre of Imam Resistance right up until the 1950s when the Sultan had to call upon the help of the British to quell the rebels.
We then drive (1.5hrs) into the mountains for our hike in the spectacular limestone massif of the Jebel Akhdar. The trail starts at the top of a mountain in Al Jaria and leads us to the abandoned village of Bani Habib. We pick our route carefully descending into the wadi, keeping our eyes peeled for Gazelles. The mountain views are excellent and we finally reach the bottom of the wadi and our camp near the abandoned village.
Today's moderate grade 12 kilometre trek is expected to take around four hours with 250 metres of ascent and descent. The descent into the wadi is steep in places, navigating down old stone steps.
Igloo Tent - Jabala Akhdar (or similar)
A short drive after breakfast brings us to the start of today's short and easy hike. The Jebel Akhdar is centred on the Saiq Plateau - an extensive plateau ringed by craggy summits and cut by deep wadis. The temperate climate here allows the cultivation of crops that cannot survive the heat elsewhere: peaches, walnuts and pomegranates all flourish, along with scented Damask roses which are used to produce the region's celebrated rose water. From Saiq village we walk to Al Aqor, through a beautiful scenery of terraced farmlands, between traditional villages where we gain further insight into local life, with great views into Wadi Muhaydin. The trail leads uphill to a summit before descending. After an early lunch, we enjoy village walk through the traditional village of Bikat al Mouz. Wandering through the banana and palm plantations, entering the abandoned houses of the tribes that once lived in these mountains and seeing the traditional Flaj irrigation system.
This afternoon we drive south for three hours and gradually the Wahiba Sands begin to rise before us. A vast sea of sand stretching 180km by 80km, the Wahiba is an alluring landscape of undulating red and white dunes rising up to 200 metres, home to the Bedu nomadic tribesmen. Time permitting we plan a short trek through the dunes in the late afternoon light, the emv ver-changing patterns of the dunes are a photographer's delight. Finally we reach our camp and enjoy a night under an Arabian desert sky.
This morning's easy grade four kilometre trek is expected to take around two hours. The four kilometre walk around Bikat al Mouz is expected to take around one-and-a-half hours.
Igloo Tents - Wahiba Sands (or similar)
Despite its barren appearance, the desert is actually home to a rich variety of life that is sustained by heavy mists that descend at night. At first light you should be able to see myriad tracks of dung beetles, snakes, birds and other small mammals. Fauna found in the Sands includes dragonflies, wolf, two species of Ruppell's fox, wild cats and white-tailed mongooses. Some 115 species of birds have been recorded here and it is one of the few remaining refuges for the elusive Arabian and Sand Gazelles.
At first light (approx. 7am) we leave the desert and drive for an hour to Wadi Bani Khalid where we start our 2-day classic traverse of the Salma Plateau to the Gulf of Oman. Located deep in the Eastern Hajar mountain range, Wadi Bani Khalid is one of the largest and most picturesque wadis in Oman. Today is our longest and most challenging hike as we are mostly ascending to our wild camp on the 2200m Salma Plateau. We start the hike from 650m, walking through the mighty wadi, picking our way along the canyon above the rock pools and watercourse fed year-round by spring water. As we gain height the gradient becomes steeper reaching the high point at 2,157m. Setting out across the Selma Plateau we take in the views of of Wahiba Sands to the south and the Gulf of Oman to the north. We are meet by the 4WDs once we reach the road and drive to the camp location (800m) Tonight we enjoy our last night under the stars.
Today's challenging grade 18 kilometre trek is expected to take around nine hours with 1,650 metres ascent and 275 metres descent. The terrain is rocky underfoot, gradually ascending for the majority of the day. Once on the plateau there is little shade.
Igloo Mobile Tents - Majlis Al Jin (or similar)
Early this morning we leave the rugged high plateau and start our descent along ancient donkey tracks into the stunning Wadi Tiwi. At first we wind our way, gradually descending the upper slopes and the welcoming sight of the deep blue sea should come into sight. The wadi then opens up beneath you, 1,000m deep, and we carefully pick our way zig-zagging through the upper reaches down into the canyon. At the wadi bottom the spring water flows year round, from pool to pool, feeding the verdant vegetation and crops of mangos, bananas, date palms and figs. Finally we meet our 4WDs at the village of Al Aqur and drive the short distance to Wadi Shab or Sur and our hotel for tonight. We bid farewell to our 4WD drivers.
Today's challenging grade 14 kilometre trek is expected to take around eight hours with 150 metres ascent and 1,550 metres descent, which is steep in places.
Tiwi Sunrise Hotel (or similar)
After breakfast we travel by bus to the start of our last walk; a beautiful hike up the Wadi Shab gorge where we discover an oasis with natural swimming pools, turquoise rock pools and caves - all surrounded by steep canyon walls. To complete the final section (optional) you need to swim through several pools to reach a peaceful cavern dramatically lit from above. We return the same way.
A two hour drive on the coastal highway brings us back to Muscat. Upon return to the city this afternoon, we have the opportunity to take an optional trip on a timeless dhow vessel, thus appreciating the beauty of Muscat's coastline from the sea. Departing from the marina in Old Muscat the dhow returns after a glorious sunset. Dolphins can often be spotted in abundance in the waters just off Muscat's shores year-round.
Today's easy grade eight kilometre trek is expected to take around four hours with 200 metres ascent and descent.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Muscat.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Muscat at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Muscat International Airport (MCT), which is a 30-minute drive from the hotel.
Total distance : 55 miles
The annual rainfall in most parts of Oman does not usually exceed 125mm, although in the north (the Jebel Akhdar mountain area), it can exceed 20-25mm per month in the December to February period. The coastal areas have a hot and humid season from May to September (up to 38 degrees C), although temperatures remain high throughout the year. Inland the humidity is lower, and nights are cooler in winter when there can be frost in the desert. There is perpetual sunshine throughout the year.
3 Square Pin (as in the UK)
Badi Islam, Sunni Islam, Shiite Islam, Hindu.
Arabic, English, Farsi, Baluchi, Urdu.
Dhow sunset cruise in Muscat - 26 Rials per person (approx US$70)
As Oman is an Islamic country, modest dress is preferable in the towns and cities - women are advised not to wear shorts or dresses that are too revealing as this can attract unwelcome attention. Shoulders should be kept covered, and full length trouserskirts that cover the knee are necessary for men and women respectively. Bare shoulders and legs can also cause offence in the traditional villages, therefore you should be ready to cover these up when visiting or passing through on a trek. When visiting the Grand Mosque ladies should have long sleeves, long trousers and a headscarf. Men should wear long trousers but can wear short sleeved tops/t-shirts. It is acceptable to wear sandals for ladies and men. Bring light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. The sun can be especially strong and we advise to cover up. The weather conditions in the mountains can be changeable, and it can become cold, especially at night, so bring warmer layers. Quick wicking materials are always recommended for hiking. For winter departures the temperature at night can drop below zero so we recommend a down or insulated jacket at this time of year. The chance of rain is minimal. -Lightweight breathable waterproof jacket (you may also wish to bring waterproof overtrousers) - a good outer shell even if it doesn't rain -T-shirts -Long sleeved tops (a collar is useful for guarding against the sun) -Midlayer Fleece/pullover -Thick sweater/fleece jacket: A thick sweater or fleece jacket is necessary as nights can be cold. -Sunhat -Long trousers -Shorts (if you prefer to walk in them) -Thermal underwear: Comfortable around camp and much more practical (and warmer) to sleep in than pyjamas -Swimwear (optional) -Walking socks -Buff to protect neck from sun and face from sand/dust -Gloves, scarf and warm hat
We recommend you bring walking boots with ankle support. Make sure that your boots are worn-in and comfortable before the start of the trip. Also trainers or comfortable footwear for relaxing around camp and general wear. The walk on day 9 may encounter some water so we recommend waterproof boots or walking sandals for this day. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
One main piece of luggage and a daypack. Main Baggage For convenience at camping locations a soft holdall style trek bag is recommended, ideally lockable, but you can also bring a hard shell case. Luggage is likely to become dusty whilst travelling on the 4WD so you may consider bringing a dust cover. Daypack Your daypack should be at least 30 litres capacity. During the course of a trekking day, you will not have access to your trek kit bag, which is being transferred on the 4WD. In any mountain region the weather can change rapidly and you must be equipped for this eventuality. Your daypack should be large enough to carry your day things including: waterproofs, fleece, long trousers (if walking in shorts), sun hat, suncream, water bottle (at least 1 litre bottle), camera, tissues, hand gel and your packed lunch.
Remember to bring: torch, water bottle, insect repellent, suncream (at least factor 30), lip salve and sun block, wet wipes, antibacterial handwash, good quality sunglasses and sunhat. Camping equipment is provided locally including a tent, sleeping mat, bed sheet, sleeping bag and pillow. However if you prefer you can bring your own sleeping bag (we suggest a 3 season bag but in winter months a 4 season bag is necessary as temperatures can drop below zero). You may also consider bringing an additional sleeping mat for comfort and a sleeping bag liner. Please note during the camping nights there are no showers or toilets so you may wish to bring wetwipes. Personal Equipment On Trek Trekking poles: Trekking poles are recommended if you are used to walking with them, good for taking the weight off the knees on descents and using the upper body on ascents. Water Bottle: Water along the trail and tap water throughout must never be considered as drinkable. The camp staff provide water each day with which to fill your bottle or camelback. Any 2-litre plastic bottles taken should be given back to crew for recycling later. The climate is hot and dry during the treks. Your bottle should hold at least two litres, ideally three for longer days. Metal water bottles can also double up as hot water bottles when hot water is available. Torch/flashlight/Batteries: A small torch is essential for finding things in your tent, visiting the 'toilet' in the night etc. Often a head torch is the most practical option as it allows you to have both hands free. Remember to bring spare batteries. Toiletries: Only bring essential toiletries such as toothbrush/paste, soap, toilet roll, face cloth and a trek/quick dry towel. Personal First Aid Kit: On each trek a first aid kit is carried but you should have your own blister kit, supply of plasters, pain relief etc. for you own use. Cloth bag: Useful for avoiding single use plastic bags when shopping Personal First Aid Kit: On each trek a first aid kit is carried but you should have a blister kit, supply of plasters, pain relief etc. for you own use. The following equipment list is provided by Explore for the trek: 2-person tents (those clients that have paid for a single room option will get their own tent) Sleeping mat Blankets Equipment Hire and Trek Training Days - Trek Hire UK hire out a wide range of kit including quality sleeping bags, down jackets, therm-a-rest sleeping mats and walking poles http://www.trekhireuk.com. They also run regular trek training and preparation days from their base in the Surrey Hills, ideal for getting an indication of your overall fitness level and also covering advice on kit and altitude. Please note that flying drones or remote controlled flying devices without a valid licence is against the law. Further information can be found at www.paca.gov.om Please note it is illegal to import and/or use E-cigarettes in Oman. Please do not travel with your vape or e-cigarette as this may lead to being fined and/or detained.
Bus, 4WD, On Foot
During this trip you will experience wild camping in five different locations. This camping is simple with no shower or bathroom facilities. Toilet arrangements are 'al fresco', a shovel is provided and the Tour Leader will brief you on the routine in each location. Tents with sleeping mat, sleeping bag, blankets and pillows are all provided and the camp is set up and broken down for you. For added comfort you could bring an additional roll matt and/or sleeping bag. There is a 'kitchen truck' where you can get hot water in the morning for drinking and freshening up. The bright star-filled nights at altitude with little light pollution should outweigh any worries you may have about the lack of everyday amenities. If you are travelling by yourself, you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. A guaranteed single hotel room and single tent are available for a supplementary cost.
While camping the chef and crew will prepare meals. Breakfasts on trek typically consist of bread, eggs, cheese, sausage, honey, jams, yoghurt, fruit, tea and coffee. Lunch will either be sandwiches or a light cooked lunch with pasta, salads, hummus and bread. Dinner will usually be barbeque or pan-fried meat and vegetables with plenty of bread. Mineral water is provided. Vegetarians and vegans can be catered for but please advise us at time of booking. People that require other special dietary requirements should enquire to see if possible before booking. Alcohol will only be available in hotels or restaurants in Muscat and Nizwa. You are allowed to take 2 litres of alcohol into the country. There is a Duty Free shop upon arrival in Muscat airport.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Oman: A free visa on arrival is available for UK and US citizens as long as your stay is less than 14 days, you have evidence of a confirmed hotel booking, health insurance to cover your stay and a return ticket. On arrival, head to the immigration counter to get a free visa stamped in your passport. All other passport holders please consult your local consulate for full information. Alternatively, an e-visa can be obtained at a cost prior to departure following this link: https://evisa.rop.gov.om/apply-for-a-visa. It can take up to 4 working days for the visa application to be processed. Please note your passport must have a minimum of 6 months validity from your entry date into Oman. You should confirm all visa related questions with the relevant Embassy prior to departure.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the optional water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against Tetanus, Infectious Hepatitis, Typhoid and Polio. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on different prophylaxis available against Malaria. Please note that all travellers aged over 9 months old will be required to supply a yellow fever certificate if you have travelled from or have transited via a country with a risk of yellow fever transmission. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
In 2023, Ramadan runs from the 22nd of March to 2th April. Read more about travelling during Ramadan.
The following 2023 departures of Oman Trekking will coincide with Ramadan.
March 13 2023