- Category/Back to: Getaway updates
- Reads: 725
Oman may not be the first on the list when planning a holiday to a less common destination but think again! We are all familiar with holidays in the UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) well Oman is right next door and is a natural gem. The stunning Sultanate of Oman is one of the Middle East’s best-kept secrets.
Separated from its neighbours by the Al Hajar Mountains that also form a stunning backdrop to unspoilt coast line. This is not a holiday destination for mass tourism; it is for the discerning traveller. The country is full of history and culture that goes back to Roman times, the Queen of Sheba and the famous frankincense trails. Oman has been on major trading routes for millennia bringing influences from India and beyond. The Portuguese were resident during the 16th century and then the Ottomans in the 18th century, who were in turn driven out by the local Oman’s. There is also a close historical link with Britain.
Watch an Oman tourism video by clicking on the image above
For tourist there are top quality international hotels and loads to do. Oman is a great place for a family holiday with a difference. Ranked as one of the safest and most peaceful countries in the world, families can journey together here and explore a fascinating country and culture unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. Whether it is the beach you are looking for or something more adventurous. There are plenty of tour operators in the capital and other areas who provide comprehensive tours.
To find hotels and attractions in Oman and save up to 80% on your hotel deal !!
Oman has been ruled by Sultan Qaboos since the 1970’s. The Sultan has shaped the country into a quiet and discreet, yet thriving stable economy, where English is widely spoken in resort areas after their native Arabic.
Many are surprised at the size of the country. The capital, Muscat, is the largest city with a population of just over 700,000, and is situated in the northeast on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. There’s around 1700 km of coastline from the Strait of Hormuz in the north to the border in the south and Salalah, the capital of the Dhofar region. This is a colourful, subtropical city that owes much of its character to Oman’s former territories in East Africa. Flying into Salalah from Muscat, it is hard to believe that Oman’s first and second cities share the same continent. Where Muscat is surrounded by rocky mountains, Salalah by comparison is hilly with tropical vegetation. Year-round, Salalahs coconut-fringed beaches and plantations of bananas and papayas offer a flavour of Zanzibar in the heart of the Arabian Desert. The nearby giant Salalah Port at Raysut has brought wealth to the city, and with it thousands of visiting cruise-ship passengers in search of a glimpse of this exotic location.
The al-Hajar mountains were once the barrier, but are now the gateway, to Oman's interior. For centuries they separated Oman's hidden hinterland from the country's cosmopolitan coast – a physical and psychological obstacle between seafaring and mountain-dwelling Omanis. Today, newly asphalted roads wind up the mountains, linking the capital to its country.
The stunning mountains offer climbing, trekking, and hiking. Plus you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to take an exciting off road safari in a 4X4. You can explore the famous wadis (a wadi is a dry river bed). The drive will take you through the dramatic mountain landscape.
A trip up Wadi Bani Khalid will take you up to the famous water springs, underground caves and lush oasis of palm trees and shrubs. Organised safaris then continue on to the Wahiba Sands, where you will enjoy thundering up and down the sand dunes.
If you are an outdoors type you may consider visiting the highest mountain, Jebal Shams, which stands at some 3000m, where you can camp up to 2300 m, although be warned, it can get cold during the winter nights. Here you will see Juniper trees hanging on to life in its changeable climate.
Alternatively dive into the ocean. Oman also offers fantastic scuba divingconditions throughout the year with dive sites populated by a vibrant abundance of marine life. Richard Field’s, book ‘Reef Fishes of Oman’ says that there are probably between 1300 and 1500 different species of fish found in the coastal waters with great dive sites all along the Omani coast.
The best diving is between October and May when the seas are calm and the water is warming up. In the summer the sea in some locations can be like stepping into a bath!!! Perhaps it's time to take a diving holiday in Oman before the secret gets out.