Trekking in Oman Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Oman
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TXM
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging

You are moderately fit and have an interest in remote or challenging environments. Some previous experience is required for activity based trips.

10 Days Flight Inclusive
9 Days Land only
16 Min age

Trip Overview

Oman, the most beautiful of the Gulf States, boasts a rugged landscape with a mountain range whose rock formations are both spectacular and of immense geological interest. In the wild Hajar mountains we'll walk through huge wadis and soaring valleys, passing occasional abandoned villages. By contrast we finish with a stunning cliff-top coastal walk, with incredible views back to the Eastern Hajar mountains. There is also time to explore Muscat old town, and witness the weekly cattle market at Nizwa , a fort town and the former capital of Oman.

At a Glance

  • 2 nights hotels and 6 nights wild camping (without facilities)
  • 4 days walking and 2 half-day walks 
  • Group normally 6 to 16 , plus leader. Min age 16
  • Low altitude throughout
  • Travel by 4WD 

Trip Highlights

  • Remote trekking in the Western Hajar Mountains Jebel Shams
  • The incredible 'Grand Canyon' of Oman
  • Stunning coastal walk Nizwa Fort-the historic capital of Oman
  • Witness Nizwa's famous weekly cattle market

Is This Trip for You?

Grade 4 This trip has been graded as moderate/challenging and is suitable for those  with a good level of fitness. Previous trekking experience is desirable but not vital as long as you are confident of your physical condition. Whilst trekking the facilities are very basic so please take this into consideration in assessing whether this trip is right for you. On trek there are no showers or toilets, but a certainm amount of water is set aside for hand washing before meals etc. A bowl of water can be provided on request. We will mainly be walking on well trodden paths but most sections involve walking over rocky, uneven terrain. At times this can be relatively steep. You should make sure you have decent lightweight walking boots that will support you on uneven ground. Every day your main luggage will be transported by jeeps. You will only need to carry your day pack.

Oman is hot during the day so care should be taken to drink lots of water. This will be provided whilst on trek. Temperatures at night in the desert can drop to just above freezing. Please come prepared for this. 

Group

There will be either one or two (depending on group size) local leader/drivers who will escort you for the whole tour

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive Muscat

    Arrive Muscat

  • Day 2

    Morning visit Grand Mosque and souks; walk to city view point; afternoon drive to camp site.

    After breakfast we will have our group briefing. 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. 
    Basic Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 3

    Walk Oman's Grand Canyon Balcony

    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 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 return to the campsite and relax there. There is an optional short walk later that day . (4 hours walking) 1 hour optional extra
    Basic Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 6 km / 3 miles
  • Day 4

    Al Khitaym walk; transfer to Jebel Akhdar camp.

    This morning after breakfast we will pack up camp and have a short drive to the start of the day's walk at Al Khitaym. This walk is a marked route with fantastic views of the wadi Ghul- Nkhar valley and abundant green terraces below. The terrain is rocky and uneven but the views rewarding. We will descend 1000m into the abandoned village where we will have our picnic lunch at the end of the walk. After lunch we will drive up to to Jebal Akhdar and camp there at 2000m. (5 hours walking)
    Basic Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 9 km / 5 miles
  • Day 5

    Hike across Jebel Akhdar; afternoon walk through terraces.

    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. If we are lucky gazelles are seen in this area. There are some descents and the views are excellent. We will finally drop into the wadi via some old steps (over 400) 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 local life. We have a short drive back to camp to collect wood before darkness falls. Approx. 4 hours walking morning, 1.5 hours afternoon.
    Basic Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 9 km / 5 miles
  • Day 6

    Trek through mountainous terrain passing abandoned villages and dry canyons; transfer to Nizwa; traditional dinner at local restaurant.

    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 built. There are some steps from about 2300m which take us down into the wadi with great panoramic views. The walk's terrain varies and we have time to explore an abandoned village. Here we will rest before walking through a cleft in the mountain to view our final destination in the distance. Finally there is a short slog up to our waiting transport which will take us to the picnic lunch spot. The walk will take about 5 hours followed by 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 Omani restaurant and overnight at a hotel. Time for a shower! Approx. 5 to 6 hours walking
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
    Distance covered: 5 km / 3 miles
  • Day 7

    Explore Nizwa including the cattle market and fort; to camp.

    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 more contemporary feel. Our trips are timed to witness Nizwa's weekly cattle market. On Fridays, Omanis come from many miles away to buy livestock here. In addition to cows, you’ll see flat-bed trucks filled with camels, and plenty of goats. You can also explore the fort and the meandering back streets of the souk. Lunch will be in a local restaurant before setting off to our beach camp. Once at the beach camp time will be needed to prepare for the following day's walk- take a dip in the sea and enjoy sunset as dinner is prepared for you.
    Basic Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 14 km / 8 miles
  • Day 8

    Full day coastal walk along cliffs and into wadis.

    Setting off around 8am we follow the coast line along the cliffs whose old paths are well defined to begin with. The walking on this day has a totally different feel as the fantastic ocean views combine with the mountains behind us. The route is demanding in parts with steep descents into small wadis but it's mostly at sea level. We will stop for a picnic lunch en route. In the afternoon 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 stark 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.
    Basic Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 10 km / 6 miles
  • Day 9

    Morning walk to Muscat port;end Muscat.

    Walking from camp we finish in the fishing village 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 late 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 at a nearby guest house. After showering and packing we will go to Seeb on the coast. This is where Omanis shop for everyday 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.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch

Accommodation

Hotels & Wild Camping

2 nights hotels and 6 nights wild camping.
You will spend 2 nights in standard hotels with en suite facilities. 6 nights will be spent wild camping. There are no washing facilities or toilets and you will need to erect and dismantle tents. A bowl of water for personal washing will be provided every day. Mattresses will be provided. You will need to bring a sleeping bag suitable for freezing temperatures.

Single supplement available from GBP195 (includes single tent)

Single supplement from £195.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 6 dinners

While camping dinners will include chicken, fish or meat with rice, pasta or potatoes followed by fruit or cake. There will always be a vegetarian choice served at dinner. Picnic lunches usually consist of Arabic bread, mixed salad, meat or fish plus fruit. When in towns we eat at local restaurants serving Omani food. If you have any specific dietary requirements please advise the office prior to your trip. Tea and coffee are also served at the camp sites. Water is provided on trek free of charge. You will need to buy mineral water whilst in Muscat and Nizwa.

Transportation

4WD vehicles are used on the off road sections. These take 4 to 5 passengers. A private bus is also used for road transfers.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

Temperatures and humidity are high throughout the year on the coast. From May to September is the hottest and most unpleasant season, so we avoid scheduling trips at this time of year. Temperatures rise even higher inland towards the Rub' al Khali, but here humidity is lower so that the higher temperatures are more tolerable and the nights cooler. In Spring and Autumn expect sunny weather throughout, with warm to hot days (maximum around 35degC) and pleasant nights. There is little chance of any rain, except from December to February. February will be about 5 to 10degC cooler. The December trip will have warm days (20-25degC). Plesae note on some nights on the trek the temperatures can approcah freezing. There is a chance of rain in the Jebel Akhdar

Weather Information

Temperatures and humidity are high throughout the year on the coast. From May to September is the hottest season, so we avoid scheduling trips at this time of year. Temperatures rise even higher inland towards the Rub' al Khali, but here humidity is lower so that the higher temperatures are more tolerable and the nights cooler. In Spring and Autumn expect sunny weather throughout, with warm to hot days (maximum around 35 C) and pleasant night time temperatures. There is little chance of any rain, except from December to February. February will be about 5 to 10 degrees cooler.  In December days are warm (20-25 C ). Please note on some nights on the trek the temperatures can approach freezing. There is a chance of rain in the Jebel Akhdar

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 10 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Qatar Airways (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 9 days starting and ending in Muscat

If you are not arriving on the group flight we suugest you take a taxi from the airport to the joining hotel. Taxis can be booked for a fixed price of approximately £12. (8 OMR)

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it. 

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Location start:
Muscat
Location end:
Muscat

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Please remember that Oman is a Muslim country and so modest dress is required (i.e. legs, shoulders and upper arms to be covered). For women we suggest you wear full-length trousers/ skirts and that your shoulders are covered when in cities and passing through towns or villages on the trek. Men should not wear shorts in the towns. T shirts with offensive logos should be avoided.
It is acceptable to wear a swimming costume when swimming and in some places you will be able to wear shorts.The leader can advise you at any time if you are unsure.
Women visiting The Sultan Qaboos Mosque must wear a head scarf and cover their legs to the ankles and arms to the wrists.
It is advisable to bring something to adequately protect your camera from sand.
Please bring your main luggage in a soft sided bag as this is easier for loading and unloading the vehicles.

4-season sleeping bag
Lightweight trekking boots with good a quality sole and ankle support for uneven terrain
Fleece and a jacket suitable for nights when the temperature drops in the desert
Daypack
Hat
Sun cream
Sunglasses
Torch
antisceptic handwashing gel
tissues
wet wipes
Water bottles
Any luggage not required on trek can be left in Muscat.

Optional Equipment

Walking poles

If you book this trip, we provide an Exodus kitbag to pack your luggage in whilst on trek. If you book via an agent, it is at the agent’s discretion and you should speak directly to them to arrange delivery. Please note that if you book less than three weeks before the departure date we cannot guarantee that your kitbag will arrive before your trip starts, so if this is the case please contact us on [email protected] to let us know. For full T&Cs see www.exodus.co.uk/kitbags.

Practical Information

Passport

Oman

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Oman

Visas are required by all non-Arab nationalities. Most nationalities can obtain a ten day visa on arrival at Seeb International Airport (Muscat) for for 5 Rials (OMR) (approx. . GBP8). A longer stay visa costs 20 Rials (approx. . GBP40). As this information may change we advise you to check with the Embassy before travel. The costs are the same should you decide to obtain your visa before departure.

To obtain your visa before you arrive the address of the Oman Embassy in London is 167 Queen's Gate, London SW7 5HE. If you apply for your visa through Travcour, the visa service we recommend, the service charge is GBP25 plus postage and packing on top of the visa fee of GBP43.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

Oman

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for Oman. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Typhoid,
Hepatitis A.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will ask to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Oman's Timezone:
Asia/Muscat GST (GMT +04:00)

Electricity

Oman's Electricity:
 

240 Volts. Plug types C & G; establishments can often take two round pin plugs and/or UK style plugs.

240v 50 Hz

Money

Oman's Currency

The national currency of Oman is the Omani Rial (OMR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (June 2017) of approximately 0.49 to the GBP,  0.39 to the USD, 0.29 to the CAD, 0.43 to the EUR, 0.29 to the AUD and 0.28 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

ATMs are available in the main towns and at the airport. Visa / Mastercard or American Express are the most widely used cards at ATMs. These will incur a charge. It  is useful to bring a small amount in cash US dollars or Pounds are fine. Credit cards are not widely used except in the main towns.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

We recommend bringing Sterling pounds or US dollars. Money can be changed at the airport , in larger hotels in Muscat and in Muscat. Your leader will advise on the best places.

Although some tourist restaurants are expensive in Oman, most meals on this trip are included. Where they are not we will be eating in very 'local' places that are not expensive. We suggest allowing approximately £30 in total for meals that are not included. Alcohol is not readily available but can be purchased in Muscat at some hotels: it is likely to be quite expensive. (It is worth making use of your duty free allowance - non-Moslem travellers are allowed to import 2 litres of alcoholic drinks.)
For souvenirs that you may wish to purchase in the souks etc we recommend about £100. This may vary considerably if you wish to buy large pieces of pottery or hand-woven carpets.
Mineral water costs 50 pence

Nizwa Fort Museum approx £1

Tipping

Tipping is a way of life in this part of the world. This is discretionary but we suggest you allow £40 to £45 in total to tip the leader and staff.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

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In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

 

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Advice Service advises British tourists on the potential dangers they might experience when travelling overseas. We liaise closely with them and adhere to their travel advice. For up-to-date advice on all countries, please visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. Should there be any change to advice prior to or during travel, we may have to cancel or curtail a tour at short notice, or re-route an itinerary part way through.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.