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AN OMAN DESERT WALKING HOLIDAY ACROSS ARABIAN SANDS
Location: Oman
Price: $ 1875
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Overview

The Sultanate of Oman has long captured the imagination of desert lovers. Under the guidance of our Arabian hosts, this desert discovery follows ancient trails of nomadic tribes and desert explorers. Arriving into the colourful city of Muscat, we visit the lively souks and fish markets before joining the Mutrah Trail to enjoy panoramic views of Muscat’s ancient port. Journeying south, we visit Wadi Shab and it’s swimmer’s cave before driving onwards to the Wahiba Sands, home to the Al-Wahiba Bedouin. Our well-paced desert exploration crosses unbroken dunes, some of them up to 100m high. When the sun is high we stop to enjoy the tranquillity of the desert environment before  following ancient trading routes to our desert camps and enjoy hot sweet tea the Omani way! Continuing our desert tracks we arrive at the white sugar dunes of Khaluf which roll down to the Indian Ocean where we hope to encounter the local Bedu fishermen, trading their catch of the day. Leaving the magic of the desert, we head for the former, ancient capital, Nizwa and explore the old fort or if you so wish, barter with local silversmiths in the Souk. With its renowned Arabian hospitality and dramatic desert environments, Oman is a welcoming destination for the intrepid traveller.

Highlights

2 nights hotels, 6 nights camping, 7 days walking
Max altitude – 1000 metres

MEAL PLAN: All breakfasts 7 lunches and 6 dinners included

Itinerary

Day 1 :  Arrive in Muscat

Rendezvous at the group hotel in Muscat. Majan Views package services begin with the group transfer to the hotel. This transfer it will be in the evening and a representative of our local agent will accompany the group on the short journey to the hotel. If you are arriving into Muscat during this day or prior to day 1 of the land only itinerary, your group will meet at breakfast the following morning (8am), where you will also meet your leader(s). Meals included: None.

Day 2 : Muscat tour and first wild camp

After breakfast we will take a tour of Muscat starting with the Grand Mosque. We will then visit the fish market, where every morning there are an array of fresh fish for sale including tuna, shrimps, octopus and other species. Our next stop will be Muttrah Souk, a great place to buy traditional items. We will finish our exploration of the city with a 2 hour walk overlooking the port along a path that linked Muscat with Muttrah before the roads were constructed. The path is waymarked and winds it’s way between low mountains. After finish walk we head out of the city. The drive will take about an hour and we’ll set up camp at Al Musnaah nwear wadi AL Abyad. Dinner will be taken at
camp. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (B,L,D)

Day 3  : Up to Jebel Shams

After breakfast setting off in our 4-wheel we drive north towards Nakhal Fort. Built on a large rock to help defend the
farms of the plain, the fort has been completely reconstructed and is well worth a short stop. We then continue to the Western Hajar Mountains and enter Wadi Bani Awf. Leaving the blacktop road we quickly engage 4- wheel-drive as we journey through this picturesque wadi, lined with date farms pools of water (the number of which depends on the volume of recent rain). This is a steep and fun offroading experience and after one hour we reach a narrow gorge that is the entrance to the pretty village of Bilad Sait. Here we will have lunch and then a short walk through the gorge and around the village where there will be plenty of opportunities for photos. Then we continue our off road winding drive up towards jebal Shams, the highest point in Oman at 2994 metres. We set up camp here at around 2000m. Approximately 1 – 2 hours walking on easy terrain. (B, L, D)

Day 4 : Oman’s Grand Canyon and Jebel Akhdar

After breakfast and a short 10 minute drive we enjoy breathtaking views of Oman’s Grand Canyon and Nakhr Village which is more than a kilomete below us. We should be able to spot the route of today’s classic walk along the edge of the canyon. Setting off from Al Kateen Village, we follow the ‘balcony trail’ along the mountain’s edge to an  bandoned village, which clings to the rocks and is completely hidden from view, both from above and from below. Just beyond the village, we can see the traditional farm terracing where locals used to produce their food and a short walk further takes us to the small lake that feeds the terracing. We stop and enjoy a few snacks before the walk back along the balcony trail with more breathtaking views of the canyon. We then set off in our 4WD vehicles down the mountain to Wadi Ghul and Nakhr Village where we will take lunch. This allows us to view the canyon in reverse – from the bottom up, which is equally as dramatic and stunning, as this journey takes us through more than half a billion years of geological time. After lunch we will drive up onto the slopes of Jebel Akhdar, and set up camp at around 2000m. Walking time today is approximately 5 hours on easy terrain. (B, L, D)

Day 5 : Jebel Akhdar – Wadi Bani Habib -Roses

Combining two beautiful short walks we trek across Oman’s beautiful “green mountain”, Jebel Akhdar to reach a superb vantage point, as we look down on the abandoned village of Bani Habib, taking lunch under the shade of the walnut trees. This village was the first village the SAS arrived at when they went to assist the Sultan’s forces in the 1950s war between the Sultanate of Oman and Saudi infiltrators. The war was mainly about disputes over petroleum rights and tribal conflict, and the British Army, particularly the SAS, were asked to arbitrate and assist. The Saudis, represented by Talib bin Ali Al Hinai who was from Nizwa, hid away on Jebel Akhdar, taking advantage of
the isolation of the mountain and the diffi cult terrain. Jebel Akhdar remained a stronghold for over 2 years until eventually in 1959 the SAS were deployed to surprise the rebels and they fled. After lunch we will walk for a further hour through terracing and farms before returning to our camp. Roses are grown for the production of rose water in this area. Around 4 hours walking with a small section of route-finding on a steep slope. (B,L,D)

Day 6 : Walk in Cleft Than to Nizwa

This morning we set off from the camp and walk to the edge of the mountain enjoying stunning views down to an
abandoned village. Walking through a cleft in the mountain, the trail then joins a village path where ancient steps lead to another village where we take lunch. After ascending again, we meet our 4×4 vehicles for the 1 – 2 hour drive to Nizwa, old capital noted for its 17th century fort and atmospheric souqs full of silversmiths. We’ll enjoy dinner in a local Arab restaurant and spend the night in a hotel. Approximately 5 hours walking.
(B,L,D)

Day 7 : Nizwa City  Tour

In the morning we’ll explore the historical city of Nizwa, including a visit to it’s commanding fort fort from where there are great views. After lunch we will drive out to the dramatic dunes of the Wahiba Sands for our overnight wild camp where we arrive in good time to take a sunset walk and watch the majesty of an Omani desert sunset. Returning to our camp there is the option to sleep out under the desert skies for a spot of star gazing. Dinner with buduien family. Driving time to the desert will be approximately 2 and half hours. (B,L,D)

Day 8 : Wahiba Sands -Wadi Bani Khalid

After breakfast start Walking to appreciate the ever changing colours of the desert, we break camp and take a short vehicle transfer to the start of todays walk. Heading into the rocky landscape of Wadi Bani Khlaid we embark on a 2-3 hour walk, as we weave our way through this most famous of wadi’s in the Sharqiyah region. We enjoy the palms and natural pools hidden around each corner of the wadi. Upon reaching one of the many vantage points we have glorious views back across the wadi before reconvening with our jeeps and transferring to our coastal camp for a beach . Approximately 2-3walking (B,L,D).

Day 9 Return to MUSCAT

Taking a seaview breakfast we return inland and finish our Oman experience with what is said to be one of the most gorgeous destinations in Oman, Wadi Shab. We walk up via the `Explorers Entrance` and followa rocky path to reach marine-green pools, waterfalls and if we are luckyWith time to rest and enjoy our surrounds, we take a two hours transfer back to Muscat where we will have the use of hotel facilities to freshen up before our last Omani dinner in a local restaurant. Majan Views package services end with a transfer to the airport. (B,L).