If, a few years ago, you would asked me if I wanted to drive in Oman for a country tour, I would have said, “No Way”.
But guess what, after watching a few videos on YouTube, talking with people who did it, I changed my mind, and it is easy to drive in Oman. See below the “driving in Oman” template
After talking with a few epacts who live here, life is cool, here, slow pace….. because life start at sunset. It is so hot during the day, everyone stays inside. Based on that the stores stay open very late, until midnight, so it’s night shopping in Oman!!
I was afraid about language barrier, but, all “the labor positions” at the hotels, restaurants, gas stations, stores are held by immigrants, mostly Indus, and they all speak English, so, no communication issue. On top of that, the “educated” Omanis speak English.
I bought a local SIM card, and I had phone connection in the middle of the mountains, that was great!!
In General Oman is a clean and safe country, unfortunately, like almost all trails you see in the desert, you can see plastic trashes….
If I had phone connection in the mountains, I did not have connection in the desert. Why? The government put antennas in the mountains, because people live in the mountains, but no one any more live in the desert, so connection while you are in the desert…
I was warned by a few people who went to Oman that it is not a cheap country, and I can confirm that…
traffic is not too congested, so driving is Muscat is not difficult.
Muscat Sultan Qaboos (the big photo) like any big mosque is simply impressive!!
* The view of the town from the Al Ayjah Watch Tower (the big photo) was absolutely amazing!
* We visited the last Dhow (typical Omani wooden boats made by hand) shipyard, and, you have to admit: Those guys building by hand those boats are very talented!!!
* Wanted to Visit Sur’s Fort, but, unfortunately it was holiday, so it was closed. Only saw the outside.
* The Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve.
This is one of the rare place in the world where you can see, if you are lucky, see sea turtles nesting year around. This area is obviously protected, so you can visit it only during the 22.00 (night tour) or 5.00 (dawn tour) tour.
We decided to go to the dawn tour, because at least, you can see a nice sunrise over the ocean.
50 miles south of Sur, there is a small town, Al shkharah, nothing to see, not a touristic place, but, they have the best hotel we had on this trip, the Atana Stay. All rooms are suite with ocean view, the staff is so nice, the price is more than reasonable… Like everything about this hotel
Unfortunately it was not the Sea Turtle nesting season, so we did not see any “big mother turtle”, but, our guide found 2 small turtles that were leaving the beach for the sea
Locals come to the Wadis, for picnic, swim, or just hang out with families. There are all over the territory of Oman, some are big, some are small, some are wonderful, some not so much…. A combination of everything.
This said, it was good to take a bath while the outside temperature was around 30C
Unfortunately, a few of them were completely dried out…
Nizwa is “Oman pottery town” with a large display at the Souq. All kind of potteries, painted in a lot of different colors, in different styles… Very nice.
The Souq is a typical souq, with its local jelly, the Halwa.Alsaifi (last photo). I am not a fan of jelly, but, I can eat the Halwa…..
I can recommend Falaj Daris Hotel, very good quality/price
It was hot, but it was hot during all our Omani tour…..
* Desert Night Camp: (the first 3 photos)
If you want to be in the desert, and have all your home comfort, that is the right place to be…. The breakfast buffet and dinner buffet are amazing! So much variety and so good!!
* Bader’s camp:
If you want the “Berber experience” and have a taste of what living in the desert is, this camp is the right place.
The tent was very comfortable, see photo above, the toilet and shower…. was “Typical desert one”… see the last photo….
Only one dish for dinner, plate of rice with chicken, and it was good, see photo.
Bader and his family are all very nice.
To access both camps, you need a 4×4, if you don’t have one, you can park your car in the city, and they will pick you up.
From both camps, if you go to the top of the sand dunes, on foot or by 4×4, you will see a wonderful sunset or/and sunrise….
If you don’t have a 4×4 they will pick you up at a cost 25 $ PER person!!!!
Night in the white sand desert
Bader and one of his friend were our guide to this part of South Oman where the sand is white along the beach.
Had lunch, camel meat for dinner under the starts (BTW very good meat) and breakfast in the desert.
Had a swim in the Arabic Sea, the beach was, approximately 7km/5mil long, and we were the only ones on the beach and in the water…..
I woke up at midnight, got out of the tent, and saw a fox “that was finishing our dinner”…
Bader is a former Berber who run his own desert camp and can organize desert camp tours. He is reachable only by WhatsApp’s at: +968 9225 3882
It was very, very expensive for just one day ($650), each extra day is only is $150, so, better stay longer….
The Jebel Shams Mountains
With an elevation of 3000m/9850ft it is really impressive.
I wanted to drive “deep in the mountains”, but, unfortunately a 4×4 vehicle is required, and I had a 2 wheels drive, so I could not drive over the mountains and see Oman grand canyon… . The roads are graveled, of course, very narrow, but, what make them very dangerous, they are very, very steep
The Omani houses
Omani houses are… interesting…. Big, and have a tall (3m/9ft) wall all around the house. We were lucky, sometime, the front gate was open so we could see better the house…. Some of them are built really in the middle of nowhere… whay do you want to have your house in those remote locations??
Driving in Oman
If you plan to drive in Oman, a few people will tell you to rent a 4×4, some will tell you it is not necessary. There is not right or wrong answer, it all depends on if you want to drive off road, in the mountains and desert.
Traffic signs are in Arabic and English, so no problem to understand…
Gas stations are everywhere, with a small grocery store, no problem to find gas, water, cookies…
I was able to figure out why, sometime, you see an old junk tire standing on the side of the road, see photo above. It is to indicate the beginning of a dirt road, so it is easier to find..
In Oman, speed radars (second photo) are everywhere, every 5km/3mil on the highway, even in the towns. I am sur I overspeed several times…
Wild camels and wild goats are everywhere, so, they may cross the road in from of you….
Speed bumps are also everywhere, so MANY!! even more than Mexico…. sometime there is a sign, see photo, sometime not. And when you see it, it is too late….