Meet at the hotel in Muscat in the evening.
After breakfast we will have our group briefing before we check out at 9:30am. Our first stop is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, this is an Islamic cultural centre where we have the opportunity to understand more about Islam specifically in Oman. Photography is permitted. Ladies are required to cover their hair, so a scarf (not opaque) is required. Arms and ankles should also be covered. The mosque is typically Omani in style, understated but elegant. Building commenced in 1995 and inside a huge 154 metre chandeleir hangs over the world's second largest hand woven carpet. There is time to explore the mosque before exploring Old Muttrah souk, where all kinds of souvenirs including oils and jewellery can be purchased. We then follow the corniche passing the port with the Sultan's ship moored in full view. Today's walk then picks up an old path connecting the city's surrounding villages. The path is an uneven track and ascends 200m. Please remember to bring water as we'll be walking for more than an hour. We arrive back near the souq. Our lunch will be a picnic overlooking the ocean. In the afternoon we will drive out of Muscat (approx 1.5hours) and set up camp at the foot of the mountains. At dinner we will have our briefing for the following day. Approximately 1.5 hours walking.
After a morning briefing and packing our tents away we will walk out from camp for about one hour. The walk is especially interesting due to many geological features being exposed. This is a moderate flat walk through the foot hills of the world famous Semail ophiolite, which is part of the earth's oceanic crust. We have a brief stop at Nakhal Fort whose original purpose was to protect the area's date palms. We will hve time to explore the fort before our off road drive through Wadi Bani Auf. This gorge contains several villages and date palms line the road. We'll stop to walk through the small steep-sided canyon before entering the beautiful lush mountain village of Bilad Sait. There are some steps to climb on the mountainside and if it has been raining we may need to wade in shallow water. We will explore the village and its surrounding fields before winding our way back through the gorge. We now have a steep drive up the mountain to 1900m. From here we will have a stunning view of both sides of the mountain. After a picnic lunch the driving continues to Jebal Shams where we set up camp for the night at 2000m. On the way we will pass through Al Hamrah, a fertile area also known for good bird spotting. Tonight temperatures can drop to 5 degrees, but we should be rewarded with wonderfully clear night skies. Approx. walking 3 hours.
We enjoy the breathtaking views of Oman's Grand Canyon with Nakhr village more than a kilometre below us. You will even be able to spot today's balcony walk along the edge of the canyon. Setting off from Al Kateen village we follow the balcony trail along the mountain edge to an abandoned village, which clings to the rocks and is completely hidden from view. Just beyond the village there is traditional farm terracing and a small lake that irrigates the area. The walk back along the balcony trail offers more breathtaking views of the canyon. This will take us about 4 hours in total. We then drive to Wadi Ghul and Nakhr village where we can view the canyon in reverse. This is an equally dramatic and stunning view, as we witness half a billion years of geological effects on the landscape - a perfect picnic spot! In the afternoon we will drive to Wadi Tanuf to explore the old falaj (irrigation) systems that used to feed the fields of the area. The next stop is the top of Jebal Akhdar. Tonight will be cold as our wild campsite is situated at 2000m. We will stop to collect wood during the day so we can make a fire tonight.Approx. 4 hours walking (additional optional 1 hour afternoon walk).
After breakfast we begin our 3 hour trek across the heart of the Western Hajar mountains. The walk starts from Jarira, which is situated at the top of a mountain, and leads us to the abandoned village of Bani Habib. The walk has a tricky descent so we will pick our route carefully to the bottom of the wadi. Gazelles are seen in this area and if we are lucky we might even spot wolves. Though mostly flat there are some descents and the mountain views are excellent. We will finally drop into the wadi via some old steps and make our way to the village under the cover of trees and shrubs. We will have time to explore the buildings of the old village, providing a great insight into how people once lived. After lunch we will walk amongst the mountain side terracing and farms. The roses in these fields are still used to make rose water. Watch out as the path is flat but can be slippery. Lunch will be at a local restaurant and is a great spot to watch the local people go about their daily life. We have a short drive back to camp to collect wood before darkness falls. Approx. 4 hours walking morning, 1.5 hours afternoon.
This morning we leave our campsite following an old water course which resembles a goat path. This once connected the villages before the roads were put in. There are some steps from about 2300m which lead us down into the wadi with great panoramic views. The walk's terrain varies and we have time to explore an abandoned village where we will take a rest stop before walking through a cleft in the mountain to view our final destination in the distance. Finally a small slog up to our waiting transport which will take us to the picnic lunch spot with great views of the base of the mountain. The walk will take about 5 hours before and an hour's drive to the old town of Nizwa, the former capital of Oman. This evening we will make a stop for some deserved refreshments and have our briefing in the bar before going on for dinner at a local Arabic restaurant and overnight at a hotel. Time for a shower! Approx 5 to 6 hours walking
After a lie in and breakfast we set off to explore Nizwa. Originally the old capital of Oman, Nizwa is most famous for its fort but the small museum is very interesting and should not be missed. The town retains many examples of Omani architecture with carved wooden doorways and window frames, although the fort has recently undergone restoration and now has a contemporary feel. You will be free to explore the fort and the meandering back streets of the souk. Bartering for goods is expected but remember this is a fun game. Lunch will be in a local restaurant before setting off to our beach camp. We need a little time this afternoon to prepare for the next day's walk. Take a dip in the sea and enjoy sunset as dinner is prepared for you ..
Setting off around 8am we follow the coast line along the cliffs whose old paths are well defined in parts. This part of the trip has a totally different feel as the fantastic views of the ocean ahead combine with the mountains behind us. The route is demanding in parts with steep descents into small wadis but its mostly at sea level. We will stop for a picnic lunch en route. The terrain is rocky as we follow a track that includes a couple of steep short ascents but the ocean and mountain views are a great contrast to our previous walks. Our destination is a secluded beach where we will make camp for the night. Our luggage will be delivered by boat, James Bond style. Tonight we will have a fish barbeque on the beach. Approx. 7 to 8 hours walking.
Walking from camp we finish in the fishing town of Quriyat. This will be a 2 to 3 hour walk. If the tide is low we will walk along the beach. If not we follow the cliff tops along a goat path. Please note if the tide is high it will mean getting our feet wet. In Quriyat our bus will be waiting to take us to a restaurant for lunch. We will head back to Muscat later that afternoon. Those on Land Only arrangements will leave us in Muscat. For those booked on the group flights there will be a few day rooms and showers for the group's use. After showering and packing we will go to Seeb on the coast. This is where Omanis shop for every day things. After a light supper we'll pick up our bags and head to the airport to check in for the overnight flight to London. Approx. 4 hours walking.