Things to do in Oman

Things to do in Oman


Our top activities in Oman

The wonders of wadis

Wadi is an Arabic term for a valley, and comes in two extreme forms usually. Dry as a bone, or flooded. Oman is, therefore, a place to hire a 4X4, as the roads suddenly end and you wander into a dry wadi, taking in all its curves and caves, either by some dusty, daredevil driving , hardcore but heavenly hiking or, if it is water filled, leave the car behind and take in some of the most wonderful wild swimming. Wadi Shab, for example, has secret emerald green caves and waterfalls all year round, leading down to the coastal village of Tiwi, where the mouth of the wadi enters the Arabian Sea. Or head to Wadi Bani Auf where old houses are built into its slopes, and terraces are cultivated with date and pomegranate plantations using the ancient falaj system. No matter where you go, you are never far from a wadi and nearly all tours include a visit to one.

Hiking

With expert guides, the right season and plenty of stamina, this is one of the most exhilarating (and empty) countries to hike in. Walk through Oman’s wilderness, stomp along dry wadis, ramble across the rugged Hajar Mountains or through Jebel Shams, Oman’s ‘Grand Canyon’. Hikers can even retrace the steps of the SAS who ran an expedition up to Jebal Akhdar in the 1950’s.

Always have desert

The desert is a must on the Omani menu, the most famous area known as, quite simply, The Empty Quarter, or 'Rub Al Khali', which is part of the world's largest sand desert. Explore by 4X4 but always with an expert guide, and ideally a Bedouin, one who knows every dune or when a mirage is not a mirage. Al Sharqiya Sands is also amazing and closer to Muscat but, whichever desert you choose, they are places to ponder peace, camp under an explosion of stars, join a Bedouin caravan of camels at moonlight when it is cooler, or take tea with them in their reed dwellings. They’ll share stories of desert life and humble you with their innate sense of hospitality, leaving you with the sweetest and most lasting flavour of real Oman. For an appetizer, read Wilfred Thesiger’s 1959 classic travelogue, Arabian Sands.

Who doesn’t love a souk?

You are spoilt with souks in Oman. So, for starters, Muttrah is great for hand carved silver and gold jewellery although you might need to check for real Omani origins. The Wednesday souk at Buraimi is run only by women and specialises in handicrafts and pottery. The Sinaw Souk specialises in Bedouin crafts and for Oman's fine frankincense and frankincense burners, head to Al Husn Souk in Salalah, while Nizwa is also famous for its silver, khanjars (daggers) and rifles.
Photo credits: [Photos: Oman Ministry of Tourism]
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