Small Group Tour of Oman exploring this ancient sultanate

Oman’s charms worked their magic on a Small Group Tour of Oman I lead on a tour through the Sultanate, to delve into some of its well-known and not so well known features.

Chedi Hotel Muscat
Chedi Hotel Muscat

In Muscat we were based at The Chedi with its extensive beachfront and what is often called a Zen-like ambience, it’s one of Oman’s classic hotels.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque Oman
Badar talks about Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque Oman

We set off from the hotel on a short drive to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, where it was great to have a private tour and explanations by Badar Al Dhuhli. The quality of work in the mosque is astounding, and the creation of the mosque made use of both traditional skills and modern techniques.

Royal Opera House Muscat
Royal Opera House Muscat

From the mosque we visited The Royal Opera House with its ‘Omanesque’ style of architecture, for a short tour to learn about this remarkable building and its place in developing Oman’s culture.

National Museum Muscat
National Museum Muscat

Following lunch at Al Bustan, we enjoyed a visit into the National Museum, learning about the highlights in the exhibits.

Al Alam Palace Muscat
Al Alam Palace Muscat

Almost as a finale, we took to the sea for a Dhow cruise along the coast to Al Alam Palace in Muscat.

Al Hazm Fort Ar Rustaq Oman
Issa in Al Hazm Fort Ar Rustaq Oman

Leaving Muscat, the next day, in 4×4 vehicles, we explored Al Hazm Fort before plunging into Wadi bani Awf’s, deep canyon.

Wadi Bani Awf Ar Rustaq Oman
Wadi Bani Awf Ar Rustaq Oman

Lunch was waiting for us, in a wonderful location and shaded from the noon sun.

Bilad Sait Wadi Bani Awf Oman
Issa leads us through Bilad Sait Wadi Bani Awf Oman

We explored Bilad Sayt, a small village in a vast mountain bowl, with its surrounding date oasis, before arriving at Al Hamra’s Bait Al Safa, for an insight into old Oman, complete with Coffee & Dates.

Bait Al Safa Al Hamra
Bait Al Safa Al Hamra

After a restful night & breakfast at The View, we ascended to the heights of Oman’s Grand Canyon – for a very scenic trek.

Jabrin Castle Bahla Oman
Jabrin Castle Bahla Oman

Before reaching Alila Jabal Akhdar, where we would overnight, we visited the atmospheric Jabrin Castle.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Oman
Alila Jabal Akhdar Oman

High in the Al Jabal Al Akhdar mountains, we enjoyed a cooking demonstration at Alila hotel and walked through the ancient rose terraces, at 2,000metres.

Nizwa Fort Oman
Nizwa Fort Oman

Taking advantage of the following day being Friday, we visited Nizwa’s suq. Near the suq, Nizwa Fort was open and we received a welcome from a traditional art form of a processional group chant.

Wihibah Sands
Enjoying the Wihibah Sands

Our trusty 4×4 vehicles took us from the plains, into Oman’s beautiful Wihibah Sands. Issa Al Radini, our guide found our hideaway hotel, the Desert Nights Hotel, and took us to the highest dunes to enjoy sunset.

Wihibah Sands - Small Group Tour of Oman team
Wihibah Sands – Small Group Tour of Oman team

After our desert night, our return route to Muscat is via Sur, one of Oman’s ports that traded with Zanzibar for centuries.

Lunch Sur Oman
Roast Goat Lunch Sur Oman

Our lunch was a special request of whole, roasted goat. Once again, we slept at The Chedi for our final night in northern Oman.

Oman Air Wadi Andhur Dhofar
Oman Air Wadi Andhur Dhofar

From Muscat, we took Oman Air to the southern coastal city of Salalah.

Moonlight dip in my pool at Anantara Salalah
Moonlight dip in my pool at Anantara Salalah

We stayed in Anantara Al Baleed’s Pool Villa’s, making a highlight for the group’s final days in Oman.

Sardines Dhofar Oman
Sardines Dhofar Oman

Samharam, the ancient frankincense town, provided us with a highlight of our time in Dhofar. This, in origin, is over 2,000 years old and traded with Rome and India. We also had time in Taqah, where vast quantities of Sardines were being landed.

Land of Frankincense Museum Dhofar Oman
Dr Santini in Land of Frankincense Museum Dhofar Oman

Close to Anantara is the UNESCO site of Al Balid, where we had an insightful tour with explanations of the region’s history, by Dr Santini.

Frankincense Tree - Dhofar - Oman
Mohammed Said talks about the Frankincense Tree – Dhofar – Oman

Naturally, in Salalah we were delighted to get up close to Frankincense Trees, allowing Mohammed Said, our guide, to explain about the tree.

Oman was the first Arab country that some of this group had visited, and I’m delighted they found so much to enjoy in the Sultanate.
Plan your own tour and guide yourself through Oman with my updated Bradt Guide to Oman.

Bradt Guide to Oman
Bradt Guide to Oman

Author: Tony Walsh

Book author including the current Bradt guide to Oman – edition 4