Experience Oman’s deserts and mountains by staying in a luxury desert camp under the stars, taking in the fresh air by the coast at Nizwa, seeing turtles on the beaches of Ras al Jinz, and visiting Wadi Ghul – Oman’s answer to the Grand Canyon.
For a real ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ experience, Wahiba Sands is where to head. Tear up the towering sand dunes on 4x4 or quad bike and trek Bedouin-style on a camel, before sitting back and taking in a crystal-clear view of the stars after dark. The nomadic Bedouin are the only people who make their home in this harsh environment, and will sometimes guide you on horse and camel treks. Top it all off by spending the night under the stars in an atmospheric luxury desert camp for a taste of a little exotic 'glamping' - there's nothing quite like the Sands' complete silence to ensure an excellent night's sleep. Stay in luxurious, traditionally-styled tents in the desert and enjoy traditional Bedouin musical performances.
For a breath of fresh air after the heat of Muscat, head to the oasis town of Nizwa, which is known for its hillside fort, sprawling palm groves, and beautiful turquoise wadis where you can take a refreshing dip. Nizwa is known as the ‘Pearl of Islam’, and rich, traditional Arabian culture is everywhere you look.
Venture into the surrounding Hajar Mountains, whose highest peak is Jebel Shams at over 3,000m, while Jebel Akhdar (‘Green Mountain’) is home to traditional mountain villages, fruit orchards and pretty rose gardens producing Oman’s coveted rosewater. This vast natural playground offers a wealth of activities from mountain biking to rock climbing and canyoning, or explore on a scenic 4WD drive. See historic towns of mud-brick houses and visit the archaeological sites dotted around the area, such as ancient forts and UNESCO World Heritage-listed prehistoric settlements. In the evening, stargazing in these vast, unpolluted skies is a must.
Also up in the mountains, Wadi Ghul is Oman’s answer to the Grand Canyon – magnificent views, and heaven for trekkers. Ghul itself is an atmospheric sight in its own right, a collection of crumbling ruins all that is left of a long-since abandoned village. Hide away here for far-reaching vistas over Al-Hamra and the mountains, and head to the coast for a spot of turtle-watching at Ras al Jinz. Watching green turtles emerge from the sea to nest here is a truly iconic and unforgettable nature experience.