The Sultanate of Oman is a wonderful combination of nature and culture. This tour will take you on a world of discovery such as the Green Turtle Natural Reserve where it will be possible to enjoy the natural spectacle of egg laying on the shore, visits to the largest mosques in the Middle East, and explorations to traditional souqs (open-air marketplace), where the local men do their daily shopping.
Later on in the afternoon, visit the Bait Zubair Museum. A rich merchant, who had a hobby of collecting antiques and doing photography, initially built the museum as a house. Later, he converted his house to a museum in 1998, showcasing the culture and artefacts of Oman. The tour then arrives at the official palace of His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos. Two Portuguese forts, Jalal and Mirani, flank Al Alam Palace. Jalali Fort has been completely refurbished and now used as a museum for guests of State and Royal Family. This will be an outside photo-stop only as visit to the palace and fort is not possible due to security reasons. Later, the tour will take you on a drive along the corniche side and to arrive at Muttrah Souq. Muttrah Souq is one of the oldest souqs in Oman, and the narrow alleys of souq with mystic smell of sandalwood makes for a great atmosphere. It is a place where you can communicate with local people and can buy souvenirs for friends and family. After spending sometime at the souq, embark your vehicle and return to the hotel.
After breakfast at the hotel, meet your guide at the lobby to leave for the Grand Mosque. The Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world, and at one time, it could accommodate 20,000 worshippers. The Grand Mosque has beautiful artwork, chandeliers and a one-piece carpet covering the entire prayer hall. To visit the mosque, one has to be dressed in a conservative manner. One should not wear revealing or transparent clothes and should be covered from head to toe. Ladies must cover their head with a scarf. The Grand Mosque is open for the tourists from Saturday to Thursday from 08:00 hrs to 11:00 hrs. After the tour of the Grand Mosque, embark your vehicle and leave for Jebel Akhtar. En route, visit Birkat Al-Mawz, a place where locals grow date palm trees. Here, your guide will explain the complete cultivation process and the old irrigation system called the Falaj system. Jebel Akhtar in Arabic means ‘green mountains’, once at the top of the mountains you may take some time to enjoy the walk and take in the scenic views. Later on arrival to the Jebel Akhdhar hotel, you may check in.
After breakfast, we take an early departure to Sur, passing by a souq/dhow building yard, Jalal Bani Bu, Hassan Bani Bu and finally the Al Hamooda Mosque for photos. Jalan Bani Bu Ali Mosque traces its origin to the Omayyad Dynasty 661-750 AD and is most famous for over 50 multi-dome structures and its fine race horses. After the visit, we proceed to Bani Bu Ali Souq for a short walk. Then on to Bani Bu Hassan to visit the fort (subject to permission). The fort of Jalan Bani Bu Hassan was built as part of a defence system that was originally part of a vast protective barricade for the city. The city itself is famous for its Arabian horses and skilful equestrians that perform on special occasions such as weddings, festivals and other ceremonial occasions. After the visit, continue your drive to Wadi Bani Khaled. Wadi Bani Khalid stands out like an oasis in the desert with clear green natural spring water pools. You can walk inside the wadi as it is full of greenery and if you wish, you can also swim in the natural oasis (no towels provided). Later will be the packed picnic lunch at Wadi Bani Khaled before leaving for the desert of Oman, Wahiba. On arrival you get to see this wonderful example of Sand Sea consisting of a large range of dunes running from north to south, some attaining a height of about 100 metres and orange in colour. Our experienced drivers will take you on a dune bashing tour through the undulating sand dunes to experience the thrills of dune driving before reaching the campsite. Later at around 16:30 we will leave for another round of dune driving with a visit to a Bedouin house to learn about their life and enjoy Omani coffee with dates.
After breakfast at the campsite, meet your guide to embark on a short goodbye tour of the dunes before leaving for Jabrin Castle. Jabrin is one of the finest of Oman’s castles. Built in the late 17th century, it became a seat of Omani learning, with extremely well-planned layouts containing a room for the wali, the ladies room, the kitchen and the majlis. Most of the ceilings are decorated with beautiful paintings of Islamic motifs and has a mesmerizing view from the top of the castle. After the visit of Jabrin Castle you will leave for the village of Al Hamra. The villagers of Al Hamra have set up a small Museum ‘Bait Al Safa’ to showcase the local way of life. On the visit to the museum you will even be able to witness a few women doing household work. We will have a short walk inside the village and farms before leaving for the cultural city of Oman, Nizwa. En route will be an opportunity to stop for photos at Bahla Fort. Bahla Fort is a World Heritage Site and is presently closed for renovation.
After breakfast will begin the tour of Nizwa. The oasis city of Nizwa was once the capital of Julanda Dynasty in the 6th and 7th century. Today it remains as a popular tourist attractions with many historical buildings and an imposing fort. The Nizwa Fort has an enormous round tower built in the 17th century by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya’ Aruba to defend the interior. The fort dominates the entire area, with the town having grown around the edifice. Access to the top is only by means of a narrow twisting staircase barred by heavy wooden doors, studded with metal. From the top of the tower, one can get a bird’s eye view of Nizwa city. After the visit of Nizwa Fort, drive towards Misfah and then to Jebel Shams. Jebel Shams in Arabic means ‘mountain of the sun’. The Grand Canyon of Jebel Shams is the third highest in the world and the highest in Oman, with a height of 3,009m. Enjoy lunch at Jebel Sham Motel as well as a short walk on the mountain before returning to Nizwa with a drive to Wadi Nakher.
After breakfast, we proceed to Nakhl via Fanja. We will drive through some villages and then reach to Nakhal Fort. This fort once served the Imams of Bani Kharous and the Ya’arubah dynasty. After recent restoration it has been refurbished with the traditional furniture, handicrafts and historic relics. The ceilings, the doors and windows are decorated with beautiful carvings, the view from the rooftop is very impressive and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. After the tour of Nakhl Fort, we drive towards Muscat passing the Nakhl Village and Nakhl Springs. On arrive at Muscat International Airport, check in for your connecting flight.