- Tour Operator
- Travel Experiences
After some month of waiting, today was the day of our departure.
A flight of about six hours took us to Muscat, Oman - the country of frankincense. This time we choose Oman Air and we were very satisfied. Excellent service, amazing food and ample space to the seat in front of you made our night flight with the A330-200 quite cozy.
Just in time for the sunset we arrived at the Seeb Airport in Muscat, where you can buy the Omani Visa (20 OMR, validity of 30 days). At the exit zone, we were welcomed very friendly by the driver of our Hotels .
After check-in and refreshment in our beautiful hotel in Ruwi district, we took a taxi for small money to the Muttrah Souq. Taxis in Oman don’t have a taxometer, so be sure to bargain the price before entering the car.
In Muttrah you’ll find one of the oldest souqs in the country. Beside gold and frankincense there were fake football tricots and other things you don’t really need. No spices and other things, that we were used to from other souqs. Next to the Souq, right in front of the sea, you’ll find the bus station for the Big Bus, a lot of small street food restaurant with incredible delicious kebab and exotic fruit juices. We had lunch in the Gulf Fast Food & Juice Centre and were very satisfied for small money.
After that we decided to join a city tour with Big Bus (Hop on Hop off), because our experiences with this kind of exploring cities were always positive in other cities. The bus is very expensive in Muscat with about 60€ and the frequency is with 2 hours very low. At the main station of Big Bus at Muttrah Souq, there are a lot of taxi drivers which offer city tours at significantly lower costs. Unfortunately we booked Big Bus online previously and couldn´t join the taxi drivers. So we got in the bus and after two stations we left it again at Qurum Beach. Once arrived, we took a walk beachside and relaxed in a cafe with coffee and juice. After two hours we wanted to board the bus again and continue our tour. But we´ve been waiting vain and after three more hours we decided to take a taxi back to the hotel. So we´ve paid 60 € per person for the bus, had to pay for the taxi and didn´t see a thing from the city. Thank You for this lost day of vacation, Big Bus.
This day we had to get up very early.
Alarmclock at 4:30 am. Taxi to the Airport at 05:00 am. Departure to Khasab at 07:35 am.
Again we choose Oman Air and had one of the best flights ever. The flight towards Khasab over the fjords of the Musandam peninsula is gorgeous (Take the left row of the plane). Arrived in Khasab, Musandam Sea Adventure (MSA) welcomed us very heartily and took us to their office.
After a short chat with the lovely staff, we started our two-day-tour through the fjords of Musandam. In the port of Musandam, we entered the lovely Dhow and after half an hour we cast out our lines and tried to catch a fish. Surprisingly it didn´t take long until we the first fishes tasted our calamari bait und we could land some beautiful hamour fishes.
After this great success we absolutely deserved our delicious omani-style lunch. We spent the afternoon swimming, snorkeling and relaxing. The only negative point we can say about the two days in Musandam is the amount of plastic washed on the beaches. This really brings tears to our eyes. But this is definitely not the fault of MSA. Our guides were very aware of the correct handling of trash on and off the boat. Always be sure to have take your trash with you and don´t throw anything over board a boat or pollute the environment anyways.
In the late afternoon they took us to our campsite on a lonely white beach in the Strait of Hormuz, where Mohin - another employee of MSA - welcomed us. We moved into our new home for the night - a small 2-person-tent. Really adventurous and amazing to experience. Mohin read every wish from our eyes and pleased us with Omani-tea, Softdrinks and snacks. The Omani-tea consists of black tea, oregano, sugar, cumin and rose water. The beach is only accessible by boat except you are a goat, because these little guys were everywhere around. Even a fox strayed arounf our camp in the dawn.
After sunset Mohin grilled our self caught fishes for us - a culinary feast with delicious sides omani-style. Later in the evening our guide Emad and the owner of MSA Mr. Abdulfattah visited us in the camp for a nice chat at the campfire. They told us stories about Oman in general, the art of building a dhow and the establishment of MSA. We never experienced hospitality like that before. Really a lovely and remarkable experience, which we are not used to.
We spent the night quite calm only with the silence only disturbed by the sound of fighting desert foxes.
We saw a few remote villages only accessible by boat along the kilometers long fjord. We were accompanied by lovely dolphins almost all the time. These amazing mammals surfed the bow waves of our boat. Unbelievable how much fun they had. We couldn´t check out which dolphin species it was. Maybe one of you can help? Have a look on the pictures or videos.
We stopped for snorkeling twice and spotted some colourful fish. Also tea and lunch were great this day.
We arrived back in port at about 16:30 and the guys from MSA took us to the amazing Atana Hotel Musandam , where we spent our last night in the omani exclave in the far north. For dinner we ordered an amazing arabian mezzeh plate to our room and slept heavenly.
Thank you very much, MSA, you guys did everything to make our trip to Musandam an unforgettable time to us. The flight back to Muscat was really great again. Don´t miss mighty Musandam in the far north of Oman. MSA organizes transfers from Dubai and other Emirates to Musandam. They really make it easy to enjoy the whole thing.
At noon we got our rental car at Muscat airport. Luckily we received a brand new Nissan Sunny. We hit the road in direction of the small oasis village Misfat al Abryeen (2,5 hours). Basically driving a car in Oman is quite relaxed. The local are driving very considerately and even in the Muscat rush hour no stress is showing up. But be careful - Oman is full of radar controll - especially on the highways. Maximum speed at the brand new Omani streets is 120 km/h
Once arrived in Misfat, we took the upper parking lot in front of the main gate. The lower one in the centre is for the locals. We packed a daypack, because no one wants to carry big luggage on a hot day up and down the stairs of this lovely hillside oasis village.
Our bed for this night was in Misfah Old House . The owner welcomed us very heartly und we could immediately check into our simple but authentic room equiped with nothing more than matresses on the floor.
In this authentic Guesthouse the delicious dinner is served at 19:00 in buffetform on the amazing rooftop. All day long the staff serves sensational drinks and juices , but the true highlight is the stunning view from the roof of Misfah Old House.
Make sure to do the walk through the oasis valley of Misfat, where all imaginable kinds of fruit, that you know from supermarkets in best case, hang from the trees: bananas, dates, figs, pomegranates and limes. Thats paradise for me. This possible because of a sophisticated system of irrigation the has it origin in a source miles away.
Visiting Misfah means to obey some rules - just like everywhere in Oman: No pictures of locals without permit, covering your shoulders and wearing long trousers and of course no alcohol. Contrary to our expectations we spent a very calm night in this very old house.
Distance: 197 km
After having a good breakfast and informative talks to other guests and the owner, we started our cruise perfectly rested via Nizwa to Birkat Al Mauz. Our destination for today is Al Jabal al Akhdar - the green mountain.
After the end of the village in direction of the mountain, there is a parking lot right before the police checkpoint. Police doesn´t let you pass except you have got a 4WD vehicle, even though the road is perfectly paved though very steep. The transfer offered by the hotel from foot to top of the mountain was with 80 OMR way to expensive for us, so we got to the police check on the off chance. Immediately a local driver offered us to bring us to the top for the half price and after some hard negotiations we got a deal. The distance to the top is about 30 km and takes half an hour. You are rewarded with gorgeous views of the Hadschar-mountains.
After checking-in in the highest located luxury hotel in Arabia, our rage about the outrageous transfer price offered by the hotel was gone very quickly. The hotel is really awesome. We´ve seen a lot of cool hotels all over the world, but Anantara Jabal al Akhdar with its unbelievable Infinitypool at the rim of the Grand Canyon of Oman tops all others. The welcome with macarons and dates and the SPA as well are above all expectations.
The hotel is located 2000 m above sea level, so you can escape the heat of the desert.
Distance: 105 km
The opulent Breakfast buffet in Anantara is without doubt the best, we ever had. Enormous selection of selfmade baked delicacies, great coffee and an unbelievable amount of fruits.
At 09:00 our driver Salem picked us up on time (what we were not expecting caused by communication problems) and drove us down the hill to our car.
Immediately we hit the road in direction of Wahiba desert, where we arrived in Alreem Desert Camps in early afternoon. The staff welcomed us very kindly and we check-in our orient style room before our driver Masood picked us up for a dune crossing tour in the endless sand desert. Looking in Masood´s eyes, we could see the fun he had bashing up and down the dunes.
In the middle of nowhere we met a group of beduins, which invited us and Masood in the their camp for Pepsi and crisps. Unfortunately we were in a hurry not to miss the sunset in the epic desert camp „The Legend of Dunes“ Enjoying Omani tea we had this romantic moment for us. In this camp it is also possible to spend a night under the crystal clear sky.
Back in Alreem Desert camp, we were served fire-grilled chicken with delicious sides, salads and bread. Awesome. Later we chatted with the other guests and the staff at the campfire sitting on traditional omani carpets.
Distance: 270 km
After always getting up before sunrise the days before, today we let the sun rise alone slept until 08:00 just in time for breakfast.
Masood picked us up and took us to his house and his lovely wife served another breakfast in omani style for us. Rhey spoilt us with coffee, tea, dates, pomegranate, honey melone and sweet baked cookies called Lugemat. Everywhere in Masood and Obia´s house were the gentle smell of frankincense, yasmine and patchouli. Masood showed us his house, what made us feel very honored. Insight in the life of the locals is what makes a journey really spezial. Additionally they had a gift for us: An annual ration of dates. This amount of hospitality made us feel very happy. Thank You, Masood.
After that experience Massod drove us to Alreem Chalet in Al Starqiyah - a very nice camp with some oriental styled rooms. Only separated from the Indian Ocean by a street, the is situated about 500 m off the beach.
The beach was quite covered with plastic trash. There were workers that tried to clean up the beach, but it was a lot of trash. Mankind must change ist consumption patterns, otherwise most beaches in the world will look like this one.
After getting back to Alreem Desert Camp, we made our way to the coast in Ras Al Jinz, where Oman runs a turtle reserve and science centre.
In the waters around Oman live five species of sea turtles: Green Turtle, Olive Ridley Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle und Leatherback Turtle.
At 21:00 we went to the beach in the light of the full moon. Our guide told us interesting facts about the life and the egg-laying process of turtles. Only green turtles come to the beach in Ras Al Jinz to lay their eggs. 25 - 35 years after hatching the turtles come back to the beach of their birth to lay their eggs. And that was what we satt his night.
I was very excited.
A huge was sitting in a hole and press the small white eggs out of ist body and covered them with sand. While covering the eggs with a one meter layer of sand, it digged a camouflage hole to fool predators like foxes.
After the eggs are laid, the turtle crawled back to the sea under greatest exertion. After every Stepp the heavy turtle had to make a break and ist head sank to the and ist eyes closed for a few seconds before it made the next step.
From this time, mama turtle has no more influence on its nest. The only factor that decides upon the sex of the baby turtles. If the sand has more than 28 degrees celsius, the babies will be female. Below 28 degrees they will be male.
Peakseason for turtles laying their eggs is from June to August, when only a few tourists are in Oman, but also now in November the whole beach is covered with turtles´ wholes. What an experience.
Distance: 116 km
The next day our the alarm waked us up at 4:30 und we went to the beach again in hope for seeing more turtles. On our way we saw two foxes waiting for the turtles.
Just in the moment we arrived at the beach, we could see a turtle making ist way back to the Ocean. At this time it was still completely dark. Unfortunately this seemed to be the only turtle on the beach. So we decided to wait for the sunset and this was good.
The guide let us watch the sunrise on the beach or go back to the hotel. At sunrise you normally don't have to ask us twice and that was a good decision.
As the sun began to slowely colour the sky lika a rainbow, suddenly the whole beach was full of baby turtles. They appeared directly out of the sand behind us.
We accompanied the babies in the water to protect them from crabs, foxes and birds. Despite our help, only a few of them will survive and grow to an adult turtle, which will in in two or three decades return to Ras Al Jinz to lay their own eggs on this beach.
Later this morning, we hit the road again in northern direction to Wadi Al Shab. Next to the parking lot there is small river, which you can pass by boat (1 OMR).
From here an easy hike starts and lasts about 45 minutes through the lovely green valley along a small creek.
Be sure to have plenty of water and sun protection with you, as it is very hot inside the Wadi.
At the end of the hike, it only continues through the water. Here, non-slip shoes and a drybag for your valuables or an anti-theft backpack like our Loctote are an advantage. But barefoot is not a problem either. From here it goes swimming and walking alternately until you get to the end of the wadi. There is a deep pool again, which you have to swim through until there is a small crack in the rock. You can only get through here because it's so narrow. Then a cave opens into which a waterfall flows. Really very spectacular.
On our way back to Muscat we stopped at the Bimmah sinkhole. A hole in the ground about 50 meters deep filled with crystal clear sea water. Presumably it is an underground cave, the ceiling of which has collapsed - just like the cenotes in Mexico. The water is teeming with small fish that nibble off dandruff. Really funny the little guys trying to eat you up. A free beauty treatment for us humans. A real highlight in this Oman travel report.
Shortly before Muscat the highway leads up a mountain and down on the other side. It's really cool to cruise down here in the sunset with a view of the city. After a long day we finally arrived at the Centara Hotel, treated ourselves to a great dinner on the rooftop of the hotel and ended our road trip.
Distance: 254 km
Today the alarm clock rings one last time before 6 a.m., then it's time to sleep in.
Pack things up, clear out the car, have a quick breakfast and off to the airport. We return the car without any problems and board the plane to Salalah. With that, the adventurous part of our trip and with it our Oman travel report is over and we indulge in well-deserved doing nothing.
After arriving at the Rotana Salalah Resort, where we will spend our first all-inclusive stay, the question arises relatively quickly whether this is really our way of vacationing.
The beach is clean, white and the water ist emerald green. Every noon, 20-30 dolphins visit the beach and impress the visitors with their elegant jumps.
The beach is clean, white and the water ist emerald green. Every noon, 20-30 dolphins visit the beach and impress the visitors with their elegant jumps.
All in all another amazing journey was over too fast and everyday life has us back.
Return flight from Salalah to Muscat and from Muscat to Munich.
Hopefully our Oman travel report inspired you a little or answered your questions.