I spent ten days in Oman and I'll probably chalk this up as one of the bets experiences I've had in my life. I'm dating a classic heliotrope, meaning each year on Boxing Day we migrate somewhere where's sun, leave blighty and it's endearing yet terminally awful weather behind.
We've had 2 fruitless excursions in the past couple of years. Last year was Cuba, modest sun and a beach rife with semi-dead man of war jelly fish. The year before that was Cyprus, equally mediocre.
This year there was no messing. We went to Oman where the temperatures never dropped below 22 degrees. We had a fully guided tour with Explore Muscat (not affiliated, just wanted to give them a shout) and in this article I want to share some tips and places worth visiting.
GET A VISA
Yep, we didn't bother. They introduced Visa requirements early last year and now you have to pay a small sum of £30-ish to get in. Only because we only got these last minute we had to pay double to fast track them. Very annoying.
DECENT SUNGLASSES A MUST
The streets are so shiny and reflective out there, that your eyes get no respite from the sun. I brought my Lacoste glasses but they weren't designed for this level of intensity. Of course plenty of tanning lotion and aftercare lotion will be required.
FLIP FLOPS & HIKING SHOES
You'll need to take your flip flops when traversing through the Wadi's. But be sure to pack both because you'll be doing a lot of walking, hiking and trudging through desert dunes.
THE LOST FOOTBALL PITCH
The Football pitch in the mountains. Firstly the 4x4 ride through the mountains is white knuckle enough. Then out of nowhere a football pitch appears over the crest of a hill. It looks entirely misplaced and abandoned, but the design is quite deliberate. The villages come and play of a late afternoon/evening when the air is cooler and it's beautifully maintained. Again, no tourists!
THE BIMAR SINKHOLE
This is where it's good to have a tour guide. We saw a dozen or so drivers making wrong turns, U-Turns; you'd think they were looking for the Holy Grail. The Sat Nav is not exact science out here and it's sometimes best to rely on local knowledge.
When the Bimah Sinkhole comes into view it's quite jaw dropping. Especially as it's so close from the coast. There will be a few people there but not too many to enjoy your swim should you choose.
You can sleep out in the desert. We stayed in a campsite called the Desert Wonders Camp for just under £90. It was very basic (I don't think we even had access to charge points) but it was perfect for our needs.
Again the thrill of running down those dunes in that 4X4 was just something else. Imagine your best Alton Towers ride, this experience squashes that like broken biscuits. Be warned the temperature drops massively at night and you'll need a few layers to sleep in. I actually got no sleep that night due to the cold.
SNAKE GORGE / WADI BANI
For this you'll need to have some dexterity, some balls, and a guide that can traverse all the slopes and hazards. Our guide Muhammed I coined Wadiman. He even gave me his flip flops halfway through as I had abandoned my gripless Kurt Geigers.
You can have accidents down in the gorge. In fact, if you Google Snake Gorge you'll come up with 'Snake Gorge Oman' followed by 'Snake Gorge Oman Deaths'. Luckily I only learnt about the horror stories after we had successfully negotiated this beautiful canyon.
My advice is leave your belongings, get a Go-Pro or a waterproof case for your mobile. It's not Mission Impossible, but not for snowflakes neither.
As part of our trip to Oman we caught a flight down to Salalah. This is where you'll find the better beaches. We were warned that there is not much else to do in Salalah.
However, I encourage you to make the trip. Either a 12 hour car ride or a short flight. It's the best way to decompress after what could be a vigorous few days in and around Oman.
But there are many things to see in Salalah. The Frankincense trees are UNESCO protected and only grow in this part of the world. There is a waterfall and some beautiful coastal views.
Lastly, you can drive down to the Fazayah Beach where you'll find the Raysut II wreck grounded during a cyclone in May 2018.
I have posted a full guide on my own YouTube site for people wanting to know more. If you have any questions on your upcoming tour of Oman then please get in touch by leaving a comment in one of the videos.
Blog Post Written by Peter Brooker from Human Research.