Oman is a country in the Arabian Peninsula and is considered one of the richest Arab countries. It is considered as undiscovered pearl, which is not yet flooded with the crowd of tourists. In any case, Oman is gaining more and more popularity and recognition from year to year. Oman offers everything from natural beauty, a different culture, extremely friendly people, everything from the spacious beaches to the mighty mountains, from deserts to green wadis, luxurious resorts and wild camping. We wrote a 13 days itinerary for Oman roadtrip.
Some information about the trip itself:
- travel time: start of November
- moving around: rented 4×4 car (Renault Duster)
- days in Oman: 13 days, mostly wild camping (legal)
- kilometers driven: 2100 km
- weather: mostly sunny, with some heavy rain in the mountains
- temperature: up to 30 degrees during the day, 25 at night, in the mountains during the day 25 degrees, between 5-10 degrees at night
- travel cost: 900 eur / person
Day 1: Arriving in Muscat
Arriving in Oman. Arrange your visa and pick up your car at the airport. Spend the day buying camping equipment and groceries that you will need while traveling. You can find everything you need at major supermarkets such as Carefour and LuLu. There is no need to do food supplies for the whole trip, as there are supermarkets or smaller shops in all major cities where you get everything you need to make a meal.
Overnight stay: camping near Muscat (Yiti Beach, coordinates N46.30807 E15.34538) or at the AL Shorouq Hotel
Day 2: Exploring Muscat
Muscat is a very stretched city without some typical city centre. In the morning, visit the magnificent Sultan Qaboos Mosque, which is the only mosque in Oman opened for non-Muslims. It is open for sightseeing every day of the week between 8am and 11am, with the exception of Friday when the mosque is closed for viewing due to prayers. Also, don’t forget the dress code. Shoulders, ankles, women’s head should also be covered. After seeing the mosque, check out the Rojal Opera House (€ 3 interior tour, outdoor tour free).
In the afternoon, head to the oldest part of Muscat – Muttrah, where you climb the Fort Muttrah, visit the oldest Arab market – Matrah Souq, and take a walk along the Corniche coastal promenade.
Overnight stay: camping at Yiti Beach or stay at the AL Shorouq Hotel
Day 3: Muscat – Bimmah
From Muscat, head to the Wadi Dayqah Dam, which is the largest dam in Oman. Take the offroad route (4×4 only) to the less-known Al Arbeieen Wadi, where you can also swim. The sightseeing is followed by a return to the coast to Bimmah Sinkhole, which is a huge hole into which the ceiling collapsed. You can also swim in Bimmah. Be sure to wear suitable clothing if there are locals nearby (T-shirt).
Overnight stay: on the beach near Bimmah (coordinates N23.06436 E59.06258)
Day 4: Bimmah – Wadi Shab
Head to the starting point for the hike to Wadi Shab in the morning. Leave the car in the parking lot and head to the boats waiting on the river bank. Remember to bring your swimsuit, towels and enough water with you. You start the journey by the river where you will be taken on the other side of the river by boat (payment of 1 OMR). Wadi Shab is the most famous wadi in which you can swim and refresh. A 45-minute walk takes you to the pools, where you can then start to swim and see the cave with a waterfall at the end. After wadi Shab, head to Fins for lunch and return to the Wadi Tiwi Gorge in the afternoon.
Overnight: on the beach near Fins (under resort, coordinates N22.84835 E59.23969)
Day 5: Fins – Sur – Ras al Jins
After breakfast, continue towards the coastal town of Sur, which is known primarily for making traditional Dhow ships. Take a look at the city, take a walk along the promenade and enjoy lunch. In Sur you also have a larger LuLu shopping center where you can refresh your food supply.
Continue on to Ras Al Jins, which is famous for its sea turtle reserve. In the evening, the turtles come to the beach to hatch their eggs. If you are lucky, you will be able to see it with your own eyes.
Overnight: near the reserve, coordinates N22.42819 E59.83439 (camping is not allowed directly on the beach).
Day 6: Ras al Jins – Wadi Bani Khalid – Wahiba Sands
Head to the beach in the morning to see if the turtles have come to the beach and left any traces. After breakfast continue to the most famous wadi Bani Khalid, where you can cool down and swim. Do not forget the appropriate clothing that is mandatory here (women’s T-shirts and at least shorts to the knees – they will warn you in the case of inappropriate clothing).
After refreshing, continue on to town Bidiah, which is the starting point for seeing the desert. Head inside the desert to the Desert Camps or find your own space in the mighty desert. See the sunset on the high dunes.
Overnight: in the desert (N22.43860 E58.67661 coordinates)
Day 7: Wahiba Sands – Ibra – Nizwa
Set your alarm clock before sunrise and expect it at the top of the dunes. Believe me, despite your premature alarm, you won’t be sorry. Return to your campsite, make breakfast and head for Nizwa. Check out goat and other animal trading (Friday), Nizwa Souq, Al Hotta cave, Nizwa Fort …
Overnight stay: somewhere on the outskirts of Nizwa (coordinates N22.92313 E57.48264)
Day 8: Nizwa – Jebel Akhdar
If you’re in Nizwa on a Friday morning, be sure to check out the goat market, which is a special experience that should not be missed. Then head for Jebel Akhdar, which means green mountain in Arabic. You will need a 4×4 drive car to climb, otherwise the police will not let you through at control point. Find one of the many view points on the terraced fields and take a walk through the ancient villages of Al Ayn and Al Aqur. The route between the villages is called a ‘village walk’ and will take you about an hour and a half. If time permits, check out wadi Bani Habib in the afternoon.
Overnight accommodation: somewhere in Akhdar Mountains (coordinates N22.84835 E59.23969)
Day 9: Jebel Akhdar – Bahla Fort – Jebel Shams
After descending into the valley, you can continue to Bahla, where you stop to see the famous fortress. From here, continue towards the highest peak in Oman, Jebel Shams. You do not need a 4×4 drive vehicle, but definitely recommend it. Check out wadi Ghul, also known as the Grand Canyon of Oman. Find a place somewhere above the canyon, set up a tent and light a camp fire. Collect firewood somewhere in the valley along the way, as you won’t find much burning material on the mountain.
Overnight stay: Above Jebel Shams Canyon (N23.20104 E57.20148)
Day 10: Jebel Shams – Al Hajar Mountains – Bilad Said
After an early breakfast, head to the so-called ‘Balcony walk’ – a path that runs along the edge of the canyon. Your destination is the abandoned village of As Shab, which is built under the canyon cliff. The return trip will take you about 2 – 2.5 hours. On the way from Jebel Shams, grab a lunch at one of the many coffee shopps. After lunch, head to the most beautiful village in Oman Billad Said, where more challenging off-road terrain across the Al Hajar Mountains awaits you. Here is a mandatory 4×4 vehicle.
Overnight stay: surroundings of Bilad Said
Day 11: Bilad Said – Snake Canyon – Rustaq
After breakfast, check out the picturesque village of Bilad Said, then continue on to Snake Canyon. Take the afternoon off at Rustaq to see the Rustaq Fort.
Overnight stay: Rustaq area
Day 12: Rustaq – Nakhla – Muscat
Visit the local market in Rustaq in the morning, then head to Nakhla to see the Nakhal Fort (check if it is open at the time of our visit, it has just been renovated). After the tour, head towards Muscat. Spend the evening in the Muttrah area.
Overnight stay: Yiti beach or at Al Shorouq Hotel
Day 13: Return home
If you have a flight in the evening, you can spend the day at Yiti Beach or go snorkeling on Damaniyat island (half day trip 60-65 €).
… some more information and tips
- if you have more time on your trip, head south to explore Salalah and its surroundings
you can also combine your trip with a visit to Masirah Island (2-3 days)
- our 13-day road trip through Oman covers all the major sights you should not overlook, but without too much rush. If you do not have that much time, you can left out some day in Muscat
- the itinerary covers some offroad routes that are driveable by 4×4 transport only. If you rent a regular car, you will have to miss some things (climbing Jebel Akhdar, driving through the desert, driving over the Al Hajar Mountains, etc.) Find more information about driving in Oman and renting a car here