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OMAN: PHOTOS AND TRIP REPORT
Here below some of the most
fascinating photos from Oman. Together with the photogallery, you will find a funny
and interesting trip report full of info and anecdotes describing the whole travel itinerary.
If you haven't read them yet, check out all travel info and precise itinerary here: www.wildtrips.net/oman.htm.
OMAN TRIP REPORT AND PHOTOS
We took our flight to Muscat, the capital of Oman. We landed in
the Omani capital at 3AM local time (which would be 11PM GMT).
We easily got our Visa.
We rented our shining Toyota
Prado (booked through Auto Europe).
We drove towards Muscat city center. It was late night so no
traffic at all. We wanted to reach some nice, isolated place
where we could take a nap. Instead - I don’t know why - we
parked our car on Mutrah seafront, in front of the souk, the
less quiet area of the whole Muscat.
6:30 AM it got quite hot and we woke up. Pedestrians were
looking at us with some curiosity. We took off our italian
clothes and we wore shorts and t-shirt. It was Christmas Eve.
Mutrah, the historic part of Muscat, was elegant and quite
clean. A few red mountains were a beautiful background for
buildings and Mosques. At half past seven the charming fish
market became lively. There were people working, buying
swordfish, talking and shouting.
you are not in a hurry, you should really spend some time at
Mutrah and surroundings. We also visited the rich quarter near
the sultan's palace.
we drove to Bandar Jissah beach - about 10 kms away. We took the
wrong turn and we got to Jissah village instead. It
wasn't a bad mistake: it was a nice little town on a beautiful
bay. Most houses were small and made of sand and stone, on the
beach there were several colourful boats. We were hoping that
one of the fishermen could give us a "lift" to some other
were lucky: one of the small boats was just leaving. We got
closer and we saw six people, two of which were clearly european.
We didn't have the courage to ask where they were going, but
one of the kind Omanis invited us to join them for a fishing and
beach trip. We accepted immediately.
Sailing on clear waters we passed through a natural stone arch.
The sea was warm and it was a pleasure to swim among coulourful,
half a meter long fish. One of the Omanis went spear-gun fishing
and got three kilos of fish, two squids and a lobster in half an
Among desert islands, rocks, red cliffs and wild nature,
we decided to stop on a nice beach in a little island one km
offshore. Our new friends created a BBQ in the sand and cooked
the fish. It was the best pic-nic ever: fish and lobster ... all for free!!
PM we were back from the trip. It was almost sunset. We drove
towards the Al Shiraa Apartments hotel (which we had booked from
Italy). The hotel was in Qurm, a part of Muscat about 30km away
from Mutrah: the Omani capital is an insanely long town. Along
the road we stopped at a very modern commercial center. At
the Carrefour ipermarket we bought the camping gear for the
Muscat traffic was terrible after dusk - the commercial city
centre shares the same pros and cons with european capitals. By
using our Gps we arrived at the hotel at 10 PM. It was
clean, nice and cheap - 45 euros for a double room. The
next day at 7 AM we were already at Seeb Intl Airport to pick up
our friends. We wished each other "Merry Christmas" and we
loaded the Toyota Prado so much that if we had brought one more
pair of socks we would have had to leave it at the airport. We
drove inland through a boring, flat road. The landscape became
more interesting when we started to see the first mountains. We
arrived at Nakhl, our first destination, and we really
liked it: in the middle of a beautiful oasis an impressive
fort was standing among palm trees and small houses.
we got lost a little bit, but finally we found our way: the
70-km long gravel road that runs through Wadi Bani Auf. A
4x4 is necessary for this adventurous itinerary, but the trail isn’t too
difficult. The only important thing is not to get distracted
by the amazing landscapes while driving on the edge of a
200-metre deep canyon. At the side of the road there were
palm trees, red cliffs, mountains and small villages inhabited
mostly by goats.
The dirt road climbed up through a canyon
until it got to the mountain top. From there we followed a paved
and less interesting road towards Wadi Ghul. We started looking
for a nice place where to camp. We ventured into some side streets and
finally we found a fairly isolated place at the bottom of a
valley at the foot of the Wadi Ghul canyon. It was a
barren land, among rocks and mountains, with a few dead trees
that supplied us enough wood for the evening campfire. Oman
vegetation isn’t lush at all, but there is almost always
something to burn. We
mounted table and tents, we built a small oven of stones and we
enjoyed the evening. In the morning we were drinking tea when we were approached by a
man holding a shotgun. The end of the holiday? Luckily, no, he was a very nice
person who was hunting foxes. He let us try to shoot (to a bush)
and then he invited us to drink a coffee in his house, where we sat on the carpet in an empty room permeated by the incense smoke, we
drank a cup of coffee and tasted dates and oranges. We
continued our trip to Wadi Ghul and then on Jebel Shams
(the highest mountain in Oman). They were all very beautiful
views, even if they didn’t hit us as much as Wadi Bani Auf,
perhaps because they were too similar.
Then we went to Nizwa.
We explored the city center and the beautiful fort, a bit
similar to Nakhl’s one. Then we drove to Ibra along a good road
– only in Muscat we met some traffic - that ran through some
beautiful and arid landscapes.
The interior of Oman offers little choice in
terms of tourist accommodation. Luckily, we found two rooms at
the simple Ibra Motel: they were not worthy thirty euros each,
but they could have been worse. Ibra, which is close to
the huge Al Sharqiya Sands desert, looks like a frontier town:
there are fuel stations and modern buildings and shacks and lots
of 4x4s, plus a quite lively market, particularly for fruit and
vegetables. It has its own charm. We
had a very good and abundant dinner in the restaurant just
opposite the Ibra Motel: vegetable appetizers, sauces, rice,
spices and excellent chicken and lamb kebab. We spent 10 euros
each, but only because we were very hungry. The
next day we headed towards the dunes of Al Sharqiya Sands, a must-visit destination along a travel itinerary in Oman.
We drove up and down the dunes following the main sandy
track, which led to a couple of campsites (the directions were
for the "1000 Nights Camp") and then to Masirah Island and the
south of Oman. Along this track there was some passage of 4x4s
now and then, so we felt safe enough: someone could help us in
case of any problems.
We were also tempted by the idea of
crossing the whole desert with an adventurous French family we
met along the way. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for that.
Therefore we contented to go dune bashing without getting too
far from the main track. We stopped to camp in the middle of Al Sharqiya Sands. We
walked over the dunes to a position where we could enjoy the
beautiful sunset. Back to our camp, we lit the fire and cooked
next stop along our ideal travel itinerary was Wadi Bani Khalid. Among white and red
mountains and palm trees, some small lakes created a beautiful
environment for swimming or sunbathing. There were several
Omani families on a day trip. We had lunch in the restaurant
that overlooked the green waters of the Wadi. We didn’t spend
much and the food was decent and copious. Then
we drove towards the Indian Ocean. Ras-Al-Hadd was our
destination. There was a strong wind that often raised clouds of
sand. The sea was white with foam. To the south of Ras-al-Hadd
the coast was flat and sandy, with some lifeless villages and colourful fishing
boats, white waves and blue sea.
Ras-Al-Hadd, we looked for a hotel. The Turtle Beach Resort
should have been a deluxe hotel, but the only available rooms
were horrible and too expensive bungalows. Instead we found a
room for 4 persons at Ras-al-Hadd Beach Hotel. It was nice, but
not too expensive, about 40 euros per person including
the evening we tried to see the famous birth of the turtles on
the beach of Ras-Al-Jinz. It is necessary to go there with a
guided tour, which I recommend to book in advance, because we
were lucky to find a place for us. However, that night the
turtles didn’t show up, because of the wind. The
next day we drove along the coast
towards Muscat. Our first destination along this itinerary was the amazing Wadi Shab.
The breeze was still strong, but it got lighter during the day;
moreover, canyons are well protected against the wind.
we reached the Wadi we were immediately hit by the impressive
entrance, with a green river that flowed into the sea between
red vertical cliffs. Unfortunately the bridge of the nearby
highway spoiled the view. A taxi-boat for few cents crossed the
river to allow travellers to venture into the canyon. We trekked
along a path for 45 minutes between the cliffs. There were palm
trees, rocks and clear, green waters: we were enraptured by the
Finally we arrived at a sequence of
natural pools closed by rocky walls. Here people swam and
relaxed. We sun-bathed and dipped in the water, that was quite
hot. By swimming in the pools we reached a narrow underground
passage between the rocks. There was room just for the hands
and the head. We swam through that natural minitunnel and we
arrived in an underground lake. There was also a small
underground waterfall. Amazing!
Exploration, dips, photos, we did all we had to do. We went back
to the jeep and we ventured into the nearby Wadi Tiwi,
another impressive canyon. Its beauty was less dazzling, but
still special. The rocky road, the huge boulders, the vertical
walls, the perched quaint villages with goats and farmers had a
We decided to drive towards Muscat untilwe reached a nice beach where we
set up our camp two meters away from the sea. We had dinner around the
bonfire, we contemplated the sea illuminated by the full moon
and the stars and we fell asleep, exhausted.
we woke up we were happy to admire the long beach, the cliffs
that closed the bay, the clean sea…
breakfast we drove to an immense beach near As Sifah. The scenery along the road was amazing.
Then we changed again and, driving towards Muscat, we found a
beautiful bay where two fishermen for a few Rials offered us a
ride to an even more fascinating beach. Walking on the rocks
and doing a bit of snorkeling we noticed corals, large crabs,
colorful fish and some disturbing oddities, such as long chains
of gelatinous mollusks, sort of small jellyfish floating in
was sunset when we went back to the jeep. We reached Muscat
and we walked around the buzzing souk. We avoided the most
obvious tourist traps and instead we entered a secluded store
where we bought hookah and dates for a total cost of twelve
dined rather well in a restaurant in a nice location at the souk,
then we calmly headed to the airport. We dropped off the Toyota
Prado. It had lost a small, insignificant piece of the bumper,
but at the Hertz desk they were so kind that they didn’t ask us
for a cent (seriously, the Omanis’ gentleness is incredible). The flight back home was uneventful, except
for one huge problem: the holiday was over.
Wishing for a longer travel itinerary in Oman, we were eager to come back.
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