A real exploration
Excursions
Sultanate of Oman

Central Oman

When you stay at a hotel in Muscat, we suggest the following interesting day excursions. We also tailor-make longer round trips according to your interests.

Half Day Muscat Tour
Duration: 4 hours; Distance: 100 km

First highlight of the day is the visit of the world's 5th biggest mosque, Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. It impresses with a 14 m long Swarovski chandelier and the largest hand-woven carpet on earth (please adhere to the dress code). You pass the diplomatic quarter on your way to Old Muscat with its colourful Al Alam Palace which is flanked by two Portuguese forts: Al Mirani and Al Jalali. Visit Bait Al Zubair Museum with ethnologic exhibits from private collections. Afterwards drive along the panoramic corniche to Muttrah Souk, the oldest market in Oman. Here you find time to stroll around and hunt some bargains. Tour in a saloon or minibus inc. entrance fees.

Muscat by Night
Duration: 4 hours; Distance: 100 km

You explore the same highlights as in the Half Day Muscat Tour with exception of the Grand Mosque which is only open in the morning. Get to know the most beautiful places in Muscat by night. An authentic dinner in the gardens of a popular local restaurant rounds off this special trip. Tour in a saloon or minibus inc. entrance fees.

Oman’s Most Beautiful Forts
Duration: 9 hours; Distance: 450 km

You visit Nizwa, the former capital and religious centre of Oman. If your stay falls on a Friday, the first highlight is the animal market. Thereafter stroll through the vegetable-, silver- and general markets before you enter the round tower fort, Oman's most visited national monument. Passing by Bahla and the biggest fortress of the country, a UNESCO World Heritage site, you arrive at Jabrin Castle. It is said to be the most beautiful building with its rich engravings and mural paintings. Occasion to eat en route. Tour in a saloon or minibus inc. entrance fees.

Wahiba Sands
Duration: 10 hours; Distance: 550 km

Enter the dune landscape of the Sharqiyah region where you visit the old city of Ibra where on Wednesday mornings a special event takes place: the women souk. It is the only market in Oman where merchants and clients are women. Men are "banned" from the scene and meet at a nearby coffee shop to enjoy a chat. The tour continues to Al Minzafah, one of the Sultan's favourite villages. This part of Ibra is a good example of the old architectural style. The houses are close to 300 years old and are said to be the oldest in the country.In the Wahiba desert you visit a Bedouin family where you are invited for tea and dates. Here you have the possibility to ride a camel (optional). Enjoy the drive through the elevations whose shapes are changing as the wind blows. Not only the shape of the dunes changes; their colors change with the hours as well: from white in the morning to ocher, almost red in the afternoon. Thereafter you picnic in the evergreen Wadi Bani Khalid, where you have the chance to swim or walk. Tour in 4WD inc. picnic.

Wadis and Coast
Duration: 8 hours; Distance: 340 km

Today's adventure begins in Wadi Arbiyeen, where the karst plateau of the Eastern Hajar towers 1500 m above the coastal plain. Drive through the wadi and visit the idyllic waterfalls followed by a halt at Bimah sinkhole with its azure saltwater pool. Continue to the green Wadi Tiwi with its inviting oases where you have a bite and the chance to walk. Thereafter you stop by Bibi Maryam, the remains of the ancient city Qualhat. On your return you follow the trail, transformed into a panoramic road, touching the sea from time to time and overlooking magnificent white beaches and the Indian Ocean. Tour in 4WD, including picnic.

Grand Canyon
Duration: 10 hours; Distance: 560 km

Depart to Nizwa where you visit the silver souk and the round tower fort followed by a walk through Al Hamra. This is an old village, restored by the government to depict how Oman's population lived in previous centuries. You have the opportunity to admire the noble houses with their three storeys. Some of them are several hundred years old. To the west of Al Hamra lies the road winding up Jebel Shams, the mountain of the sun. It is the highest mountain of the Arabic world and reaches 3075 m above sea level. The drive to the peak is adventurous, you pass the old village Ghul with its green terrace fields. The inhabitants of this wadi are known for their artistic weaving of goat hair rugs. The hand made blankets are in high demand in Oman and range from beige via red and brown to black. Some kilometers further you reach the abyss of the Omani Grand Canyon. Enjoy the breathtaking views before you return to Muscat. Tour in 4WD, including picnic and entrance fees.

Jebel Akhdar
Duration: 8 hours; Distance: 560 km

Today's first halt is Nizwa where you visit the silver market and the round tower fort. Afterwards you stop by Birkat al Mauz, an abandoned village, surrounded by date palm plantations and an ancient irrigation system called "Falaj" (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Continue your exploration upwards onto Jebel Akhdar, the green mountain. The name derives from the fact that the area is one of the most fertile in the country. In the plantations grow apricots, pomegranates, peaches, grapes, almonds, walnuts and of course the roses that are the base of the popular Omani rose water. In spring, when the roses bloom, the visit of a rosewater factory is a special experience. You stop at the Saiq Plateau with the Diana Point. It is named after the late Princess of Wales, who landed here in 1990 with a helicopter to marvel the extraordinary vista. Your guide will show you some beautiful traditional villages where you can take a walk. Reach Wadi Bani Habib, a deserted ruined mud village, which demonstrates how the local people lived until approximately 1960. Tour in 4WD, including picnic and entrace fees.

The Batinah
Duration: 10 hours; Distance: 400 km

First stop is Barka, a small town with its own fort dating back to the 18th century. It was built by the third Imam of the Al Bu Said dynasty who established Muscat as the new capital of Oman. Today Barka is known for its lively fish market and the popular sweet "Halwa". Next you explore the 350 year old fortress of Nakhel, built on a 200 m hill which is surrounded by a mountain exclave. In 1990 Sultan Qaboos ordered the restoration of the building. Close by are a number of hot springs - one of them feeds a bathhouse in a pricturesque oasis. These springs are important water suppliers for approx. 90% of the surrounding farmland. In Wadi Bani Awf and Wadi Sahtan you have the possibility to walk and eat your picnic lunch. Tour in 4WD, including picnic and entrance fees.

East Hajjar Crossing
Duration: 9 hours; Distance: 340 km

Today you go on an adventurous drive across the Hajjar mountain range. You cross deep wadis and pass small villages, where people still live in ancient buildings as they did before the discovery of oil. If your excursion falls on a Wednesday, you have the opportunity to visit the women souk. It is the only market in Oman where merchants and clients are women. Men are "banned" from the scene and meet at a nearby coffee shop to enjoy a chat. The highlight of the day are the well preserved beehive tombs of "Al Jaylah", 2,000 m above sea level. They are approximately 5 m high and 3 m wide. Only quite recently, in 1991, a helicopter pilot discovered them by chance. In the meantime they are listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Archeologists estimate that the cylindrical towers date back to 3,000 B.C. They were used for secular and ceremonial purposes. Before you leave the mountains, to reach the panoramic coastal road, you have a breathtaking view over the Gulf of Oman and the beautiful white beaches. You continue driving to the Bimah sinkhole. This karst crater was created thousands of years ago by the collapsed roof of a subterranean river. It is filled with turquoise salt water. Tour in 4WD, inc. picnic.

Dolphin Watching
Duration: 2 hours

Enjoy this experience during the early morning in Omani waters. This is a scheduled group tour.

Dolphin Watching with Snorkelling
Duration: 3 hours

As above, snorkelling equipment is provided. This is a scheduled group tour.

Sunset Dhow Cruise
Duration: 2 hours (excluding transfer time)

View Muscat with the eyes of Sinbad the Sailor and watch the landscapes change its colours during sunset. Kahwa and dates are served during the cruise. This is a scheduled group tour.

  • Only on Thursday and Sunday
  • On Friday dinner is served on board
Private Boating / Fishing
Duration/Distance: on request

Board a boat and take a break from daily routine. This is your time on the Indian Ocean.


Half Day Salalah Tour
Duration: 4 hours; Distance: 70 km

Today's excursion leads you through Salalah, the biggest city in Dhofar, also called the "perfume capital of Arabia". In 1940 Sultan Qaboos was born here. He owns a beautiful palace, which you pass during the morning. It was here where the first large free trade zone of Oman was built accelerating the economic growth of the region. For those who have not seen the Grand Mosque in Muscat, the journey starts with a visit to the Sultan Qaboos Mosque (please adhere to the dress code). Next stop is the archaeological park with the ruined city of Al Baleed, a UNESCO world heritage site. It was the famous second port of dispatch of frankincense and myrrh between the 7th and 14th century. The attached Salalah Museum houses many artifacts of that period. On your way to Haffa souk, where the fragrances of the orient come together, you pass His Majesty's palace. Visit the gold souk with its variety of oriental 24 carat gold and silver handicrafts. A visit to the food souk is interesting; the meat souk is more for the brave. End of the tour is a scenic drive through the garden-like fruit plantations. We stop at a fruit stall for a refreshing coconut milk, sipped with a straw directly from the nut. Or try the small sweet local bananas or papayas and guavas. Tour in a saloon or minibus inc. entrance fees.

West Salalah
Duration: 4 hours; Distance: 180 km

At the beginning you visit the Qara mountains and the Old Testamentary prophet Job's tomb, known in these parts as Nabi Ayoub. Here the remains of the prophet can be found. Next stop is the magnificent sandy beach of Mughsayl which is outlined by sculptured cliffs and blow holes, formed into the limestone rocks. The fountains of water coming through these holes can reach a height of 30 meters. Also have a look at the Marnif cave and en-route, visit the nearby lagoon which is home to flamingos, pelicans and storks. Now you will follow one of the roads, leading up the mountains to the Yemeni border. Enjoy the breathtaking view of the lime stone, volcanic mountains and gnarled frankincense trees before returning to Salalah. Tour in a saloon or minibus inc. entrance fees.

East Salalah
Duration: 4 hours; Distance: 150 km

Along a scenic road lined with palm trees, you reach Taqa. In former times, incense and horses were exported from its harbour which was guarded by Qasbar fort at the top of the cliff. Taqa castle is well worth a visit. It dates from the 19th century and illustrates the skills of the architects in those days. Before proceeding to Sumhuram we will stop on top of the hill from where you have a stunning view over the village and the Indian Ocean. On the cliff of Khor Rouri, the biggest of the Dhofar bays, you will find the ruins of the fortress and the palace of Sumhuram which might be the remains of the palace of the Queen Sheba. It is on the list of UNESCO world heritage sites and its port was one of the main hubs to dispatch frankincense, myrrh and slaves from the 1st to the 7th century. Before reaching Mirbat, you can see Bin Ali's tomb with its white double domes. The tomb is surrounded by a large, unusually shaped cemetery with engraved headstones. The last stop before reaching Salalah will be at the Ayn Razat beautiful natural springs. Tour in a saloon or minibus inc. entrance fees.

The Lost City
Duration: 8 hours; Distance: 480 km

The Rub Al Khali is the biggest sand desert on earth that Oman shares with Saudi Arabia. You leave Salalah northwards with a four wheel drive and head into the stone- and sand steppe. Today's highlight is the visit of alleged village of Ubar, which was located by the infrared cameras of space shuttle Challenger. Ubar, romanticised in the stories of 1001 Nights, and in the Koran being named as punished and sunken in the sands by God for its godless behaviour, most likely lost its importance because of the desertification of the area. Never-the-less the 'Atlantis of the Sands' remains a mystery to date. On the way back to Salalah you pass by some frankincense tree plantations, where the valuable resin is harvested by hand. Today incense cannot come near to the importance it had between 1000 and 1700 A.D., however it is as famous as ever. Trip in 4WD, including picnic and entrance fees.