Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Arabian Sands tour

Arabian Sands

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Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
96%
Travel Style: For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
8 days
From: $ 1,570 $ 196 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Muscat - See the impressive Forts, Royal Palace and Corniche of the capital
  • Finns Beach - Take a walk from Wadi Tiwi and relax on the sandy beach
  • Sur - Learn about Dhow building at the Ayega village and boat yard
  • Wahiba Sands - 4WD exploration and camp among spectacular sand dunes
  • Nizwa - Visit the impressive Jebel Shams 'Grand Canyon'
  • Dhow- Take an optional trip on a traditional wooden boat

Short Description

Oman is a land of contrasts waiting to be explored, from the soaring sand dunes to the rugged mountains all the way down to the turtle-nesting beaches. Eat with an Omani family and sleep under canvas on remote coastline.

Muscat - Explore impressive Forts, Royal Palace and Corniche of the capital
Wahiba Sands - 4WD exploration and camp among spectacular sand dunes
Nizwa - Visit the impressive Jebel Shams 'Grand Canyon'.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City Muscat
End City Muscat

Destinations

Oman

Cities & Attractions

Muscat

Activities

Cycling Hiking Trekking

Age Requirement

14

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1 Join tour in Muscat; afternoon sightseeing tour

Arrive in Muscat and join the tour at the hotel. Muscat is an old walled town, arguably the Gulf's most attractive city, surrounded by a horseshoe ring of mountains that naturally restricts its growth. The seaward face of Muscat is dominated by the Portuguese fortresses of Merani and Jalali (built in 1587) with their crenelated parapets. The city displays intermingling ancient cultural heritage and modern style; you will see houses, gates, old markets, small shops and winding roads redolent of authentic history, side by side with modern markets, shops, buildings and streets stamped with modern architecture. This allows Oman to preserve its historic character and at the same time enjoy its contemporary spirit. In the afternoon we will take a guided tour of the city including visiting the Bait Baranda Museum. We will also have the chance to take a stroll along the waterfront of Mutrah, Muscat's oldest quarter and onto the bustling souk.

Meals Provided : None

Day 2 Drive to Finns Beach via Wadi Tiwi

Before leaving Muscat we will visit the Grand Mosque. We then follow the coast down to Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi. A beautiful oasis of freshwater pools, Wadi Shab is an ideal place for a photo opportunity. We will then visit Wadi Tiwi where there is the option to walk in the wadi, following the pools up through a haven of lush vegetation and palms, before heading to our wild camp at Finns Beach. Tonight's wild camping experience is supported by the crew who will have the tents ready for the group's arrival and will take the camp down when we depart, as well as a camp chef. The sitting area will be traditional Omani style with cushions on the floor and toilets are al-fresco! There will hopefully be time for a swim in the Arabian Sea before we settle down for a night away from reality under a star-filled sky.

Meals Provided : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3 Visit dhow shipyard in Sur; Evening turtle walk

Continuing along the rugged coastline we head for Ras Al Hadd, pausing en-route to visit the Port of Sur. Once a major trading port with East Africa, Sur represents the seafaring origins of Oman. We will visit the dhow shipbuilding yard where traditional dhow boats, used throughout the 19th century, are still built today. We also visit the nearby small fishing village at Ayega, now a quiet community of old merchant houses but once a stronghold of rebellious sheikhs, where we will visit the lighthouse for a photo opportunity. This evening we'll be staying by the water's edge, in a perfect position to visit the turtle reserve at Ras Al Jinz. This coastline is an important nesting site for some 20,000 endangered Green Turtles annually and we will visit after dark this evening with a local guide. The Olive Ridley Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle and, the endangered, Hawksbill Turtle have also been spotted here. Please note: Although Explore's departures do not operate within the main nesting season during Oman's hottest summer months, it's estimated that at least one turtle comes ashore every night of the year and there is opportunity to enjoy this wonderful natural experience year-round but due to the wild nature of this activity we cannot guarantee a sighting.

Meals Provided : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4 Drive into Wahiba Sands via Bedouin villages

After breakfast this morning we will begin the journey to our next wild camping spot in the desert. The coast of Oman is wild, rugged and beautiful; a place where deserted white beaches are interspersed with small, traditional villages. As we journey along here, the Wahiba Sands begin to rise before us, a vast sea of sand covering about 15,000 square kilometres. Laid out like a great ocean of sand the endless dunes are generally rusty red at the base and honey coloured on the top - an alluring landscape of changing contours and colours. The sands are home to the Bedu, nomadic tribesmen who roam the land with goats and camels, or live in small fishing villages. An exhilarating drive across the dunes brings us to our nightstop somehwere in the Wahiba Sands. Sunset promises stunning photo opportunities amidst the spectacular dunes, before we settle down for another night under the desert sky.

Meals Provided : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5 Drive across Wahiba Sands and onto Nizwa

Early mornings in the desert are a time of activity . Mists are a curious phenomena of the sands, spreading across the dunes and wadis at night, to disappear in the early mornings. The remarkable dew drinking beetle, living just below the surface of the normally scorching sands, utilizes this time to gain valuable sustenance. We continue through the desert this morning. In spite of its barren feel the sands contain a phenomenal amount of life. As well as the Bedu they are home to an exotic diversity of fauna including dragonflies, wolf, two species of Ruppell's fox, wild cats and white-tailed mongooses. Some 115 species of birds have also been recorded here and it is one of the few remaining refuges for the elusive Arabian and Sand Gazelles. Once out of the sands we continue through a market town that is a meeting point for Bedouin for miles around. From here it is a fairly easy drive along tarmac roads to Nizwa, the capital of Oman from 751 to 1154 AD and still regarded as the cultural capital.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 6 Nizwa Fort and Jebel Shams viewpoint; Lunch with local family

Today we spend a full day exploring some of the many highlights of the surrounding area. We begin in Nizwa itself, visiting the traditional Friday goat auction and the contrasting modern souks. We continue onto the 17th century fort, built to guard the Sumail Gap during the struggle between the Sultan and the radical Imams. Nizwa was the centre of Imam Resistance right up until the 1950s when the Sultan had to call upon the help of the British to quell the rebels. Once we've explored the town, we will head north through the Jebel Akhdar ('Green Mountain') mountain range, passing the dramatic craggy peaks. Despite its desolate and barren nature, small settlements cling to the plateau areas, nestling in the lunar like landscape. For thousands of years self-sufficient oases have flourished in the folds of rocks, using an ancient irrigation system known as falaj. These are water channels that never dry up, often contoured round wadis or tunnelled through the cliffs in order to tap the water table. Upkeep of the life-giving falaj is a community responsibility and contributes to maintaining harmony within a village. We will reach at 3,000m Jebel Shams (Mountain of the Sun), the highest peak in Oman. En-route to the summit of Jebel Shams, we encounter an astonishing view down a sheer drop of 1000m to the bottom of the 'Grand Canyon', Oman's very own (and equally spectacular) version of its American counterpart. At the bottom of this vast void, a wadi winds peacefully through the landscape. According to one theory, the canyon was once a huge cave and evidence of fossils and shells suggests that the canyon base was at one time covered by a shallow sea. Descending back towards Nizwa we will visit the mud village of Al Hamra, where we will enjoy a traditional lunch with a local family, before making our way back to Nizwa late in the afternoon.

Meals Provided : Breakfast & Lunch

Day 7 Drive via Wadi Bani Awf to Muscat; optional Dhow trip

Our route back to Muscat is through the stunning Wadi Bani Awf. We once again leave the smooth roads behind, and head into a narrow canyon with steep sided cliffs. The palm trees, scattered dwellings and interrupted streams create a peaceful atmosphere. Upon return to the capital city this afternoon, we have the opportunity to take an optional trip on a timeless dhow vessel. This optional sailing departs from the marina in Old Muscat and sails past the skyline in time for sunset. Dolphins can often be spotted in abundance in the waters just off Muscat's shores year-round.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Day 8 Tour ends Muscat

The trip ends today in Muscat.

Meals Provided : Breakfast

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 1,570
Price Per Day: $ 196 per day
Check Availability
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Oct-13-2019Oct-20-2019$ 1,570Yes12 Spaces Left Reserve
Nov-03-2019Nov-10-2019$ 1,630Yes17 Spaces Left Reserve
Nov-17-2019Nov-24-2019$ 1,630Yes10 Spaces Left Reserve
Dec-22-2019Dec-29-2019$ 1,630Yes11 Spaces Left Reserve
Feb-02-2020Feb-09-2020$ 1,660Yes14 Spaces Left Reserve
Feb-16-2020Feb-23-2020$ 1,660Yes18 Spaces Left Reserve
Mar-08-2020Mar-15-2020$ 1,660Yes18 Spaces Left Reserve
Apr-12-2020Apr-19-2020$ 1,660Yes18 Spaces Left Reserve
Oct-11-2020Oct-18-2020$ 1,660No18 Spaces Left Reserve
Oct-25-2020Nov-01-2020$ 1,660No18 Spaces Left Reserve
Nov-08-2020Nov-15-2020$ 1,660No18 Spaces Left Reserve
Nov-15-2020Nov-22-2020$ 1,660No18 Spaces Left Reserve
Nov-29-2020Dec-06-2020$ 1,660No18 Spaces Left Reserve
Dec-20-2020Dec-27-2020$ 1,660No18 Spaces Left Reserve
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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

73 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

96%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 55
Great 11
Average 3
Disappointing 3
Terrible 1
Value
4.5
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.3
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.4

Arabian Sands

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Company Reviews

Trip of a lifetime seeing the Arctic in a week

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I travelled as a solo traveller and was relieved to find that about half the boat was also solo travellers. It was a great adventure - on a ferry board for a week with the most amazing panoramic views around us every day. We were regularly out on smaller boats to see the bird cliffs up close, or to go onto land to walk around. We saw lots of amazing wildlife including walrus, blue whales, beluga whales, endless species of birds, and of course Polar Bears! The week went by too quickly. It was a great mix of wildlife and landscapes. Each day there was a different guide giving a presentation of everything from the biology of a polar bear, to the fauna found in the arctic circle. You could join in for as little or as much as you wanted. Definitely recommended.
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Super good tour guide, but the itinerary was rushed

5.0
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Junk on Halong Bay, Homestay in Mekong Delta. Hoi An Our tour guide, Long, was excellent and did a super job of mixing history and political context with what we were seeing. He went out of his way to add to the tour, actually taking us to favorite restaurant on his night off. The children loved him and we enjoyed his professionalism and his personal narrative of Vietnam. I felt that the itinerary was very rushed for a family tour. I understand the non family tour is longer and actually that would have been better for the family too. In particular a very busy day in Hue followed a mostly sleepless night on the train. We could have done with more time in Hue, or different activities. Hue was a bad day as the kite making was dull, crowded, and hot, then we didn't get to fly kites as we had not made them. In the end we had little time at the Citadel as we had to transfer into a small bus to navigate the streets.
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Excellent

5.0
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Guide5.0
Activities5.0
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Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Mohammed was excellent!

Enjoy the trip

5.0
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Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The highlight of this trip was seeing Machu Picchu, which I loved it.

Great Tour Leader will come back in 2017

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
A great tour leader - friendly, personable, approachable, knowledgeable of the local area, sights and people. We plan to come back and cycle with Andrew again in 2017.

Pleasant surprise experience

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation4.0
Meals5.0
It is hard to say because each outing was a pleasant surprise. The best experience was a workshop on feltmaking in Kazbegi town Georgia) where, as a group, we made the felt from scratch and created our own design. A great opportunity to discover a local craft. It is also an excellent example how this diverse group got along like a house on fire. In Armenia my fqvourite outing was the walk along the Garni river gorge with a local guide. The scenery was breathtaking.
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Details

Guides

Explore Tour Leader, Boat Crew, Camp Crew, Cook, Driver(s)

Age Notes

Min. Age: 14

Trip ID#:

explore_new-OM

Meals Included:

  • Breakfast : 7
  • Dinner : 3
  • Lunch : 4
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