Wild wadis, desert safaris and magical mountains
Welcome to the wilds of Oman, where you’ll explore the rich heritage and bustling souks of Muscat, swim in strikingly beautiful wadis, sleep under the desert sky and hike through abandoned villages from your luxurious mountain resort. If you love off-the-beaten-track adventure, this is the tour for you.
10 - 18 November 2019
15 - 23 March 2020
17 - 25 May 2020
18 - 26 October 2020
8 nights' twin share accommodation in good quality hotels
7 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners
English speaking local tour guide
All activities from dolphin watching to wild wadi swimming, included
Airport transfers on day one, private air-conditioned transport throughout
Maximum 14 fellow travellers
Welcome to your Unmapped adventure in Oman. After you collect your bags, you’ll be met at the airport by your Unmapped guide. Our Muscat hotel has beautiful views of the city, so why not take a swim and settle in before we get together later in the day.
At around 5pm, we’ll meet at the hotel bar for sunset cocktails where you’ll meet the rest of the group. Then, we’re all in for a culinary treat as we make our way through the city to a beautiful restaurant set in a lush garden for our first taste of Omani cuisine. Sharing plates of fresh salads, homemade breads and grilled meats will provide the perfect setting for getting to know each other.
Culture and cooking
After breakfast, we’ll start our tour of Muscat with a visit to the majestic Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. One of the largest Mosques in the world, it can accommodate 20,000 worshippers and is adorned with intricate works of art and twinkling chandeliers.
Next, we’ll make our way to Old Muscat to the Bait Al Zubair Museum, Al Alam Palace, Jalali Fort and finally to the complex network of narrow streets and alleyways which make up the Muttrah Souk. You’ll have time to explore, shop and chat to locals while taking in the buzzing atmosphere and fragrant scent of sandalwood.
All that exploration must have worked up an appetite, so our next stop is the National Hospitality Institute where we’ll meet a group of up and coming Omani chefs over dates and coffee before they put us through our paces in the kitchen. Together, we’ll make a typical Arabic dessert before sitting down for a local lunch.
Back at the hotel, the rest of the day is yours to relax or explore more of Muscat.
Dolphins and snorkelling
Pack your swimmers today as we’re heading out for an aquatic adventure! After breakfast, we’ll make our way to Muscat’s main boat jetty where we’ll board our private boat and set sail. Our journey will take us to see pods of dolphins swimming in the Gulf Sea, then we’ll take to the water ourselves for some swimming and snorkelling. After a picnic-style lunch at sea, we’ll head back to the hotel and the rest of the day is your own.
Wild swimming in wadis
After breakfast, we say farewell to Muscat and make our way towards Oman’s wild interior. After passing through the fishing village of Quriyat, located between the lagoon and the sea, we’ll have our first taste of off-road driving as we steer off the main road and enter Wadi Al Arbaeen. Once we reach the closest village to the wadi, we’ll hike the rest of the way before jumping in for a cooling swim and picnic lunch. As we walk through the village, we may also be invited in for coffee by the friendly locals.
The next stop today will be the Bimah Sinkhole, a spectacular limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom. We’ll have some time to swim and explore the area. Then, we’ll take a short drive to our final wadi of the day, Wadi Tiwi, which is surrounded by small villages and fruit plantations. Here we’ll learn about the falaj system which distributes water from the mountains to these farms.
Continuing our drive along the coast, we’ll reach the fishing town of Sur where we’ll spend the night. It’s been a long day, so after a panoramic tour of the city, the evening is yours to relax.
Wadi by day, desert by night
This morning, after we’ve loaded up on coffee and carbs, we’ll make our way out of Sur and towards the desert. Before we hit the dunes, we’ll weave through the eastern Al Hajar Mountains towards Wadi Bani Khalid. Here we’ll stop to enjoy spectacular views of the fertile valley below and swim in the emerald pools surrounded by rugged ravines and vibrant date palms.
Relaxed and refreshed, we’ll jump back into our vehicles and start our journey into the stunning desert of Wahiba Sands. Along the way, we’ll take in this impressive desert-scape, with some dunes reaching over 100 metres in height.
Our experienced drivers will take you on a thrilling drive through the undulating dunes until we reach a local Bedouin house where we’ll spend some time with the friendly inhabitants and get to know more about desert life.
As the evening starts to set in, we’ll watch the spectacular sunset from the top of a nearby sand dune. Our day ends as we arrive at our home for the night, a beautiful camp in the middle of the desert. We’ll enjoy dinner together before sitting around the fire and taking in the blanket of stars visible in the dark desert sky.
Your mountain escape awaits!
Wake up early and see the sunrise over the dunes or have a lie in and join the rest of the group for a hearty breakfast before we make our way out of Wahiba Sands and head for the mountains.
On our way to Jabel Akhdar, we’ll make a few stops along the way, at Jabreen Castle which dates back to 1670, then at the city of Nizwa which is famous for its history and culture, including the Nizwa Souk which is located within the old walls of the Nizwa Fort.
After exploring the souk and climbing to the top of the fort’s tower for a spectacular view of the entire city, we’ll start the steep and winding drive up Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain).
We’re in for a treat tonight as we’re staying at one of Oman’s most exclusive hotels, located at the top of the mountain and with stunning views of the villages below. We should arrive just in time to enjoy the sunset with a cocktail in hand. What a day!
Exploring the Green Mountain
Make sure you fill up at breakfast, because we’re off for a challenging hike this morning. Our hike will begin at Sogra Village, a 30-minute drive from the resort. As we descend towards the wadi, we’ll pass several abandoned villages of the Ashureq tribe. Then, after passing through the Old Al Ma’awil Cave, we’ll reach the wadi which is alive with nature – singing birds, butterflies and wild blackberry trees. After a picnic lunch, we’ll return to the resort where you can enjoy a swim while taking in the mountain view or treat yourself to a revitalising spa treatment.
Today we’ll set off for one of the most adventurous drives in Oman. The road, which crosses Wadi Bani Awf, is a journey of hairpin bends accompanied by extraordinary mountain views. In parts, it’s just five metres wide and 100-metres high!
Our first stop today is Nakhl, where we’ll visit the fort which lies amidst pretty palm orchards. Then, we’ll make the short journey to the Ain Towarah hot springs where we’ll have time to relax and fill up on a delicious picnic-style lunch.
We’ll continue our drive back to Muscat and later this evening we’ll meet for our final dinner together.
So long, Oman!
Today we say goodbye to Oman, and what an adventure it’s been!