Oman Explorer

Self Drive Tailormade Tour

Oman Explorer – an 8 day tailor-made tour from £1395 per person, based on two people travelling and sharing a room.


Oman is an intoxicating mix of incredible scenery and fascinating culture. On this self drive tailor-made tour explore barren deserts and rugged coasts, as well as verdant oases and lush plantations all at your own pace.

Follow ancient spice trails, tackle the dunes of the Wahiba Sands, marvel at vast canyons and enjoy superb coastal scenery in this enigmatic corner of Arabia.

 

 

When referring to the Arab world, there’s a differentiation between the Middle East and North Africa, and the Gulf. The latter’s oil-rich states are often characterised by glittering high-rise developments, shopping malls, five-star hotels and industrial quantities of air-conditioning. Indigenous populations are often outnumbered by poorly paid guest workers, and little remains of traditional culture. Oman is an exception. The mostly benign absolute monarchy of the late Sultan Qaboos saw an insular conservative kingdom evolve to adopt a more modern outlook. However, as much as Oman has used its oil revenues for infrastructure development, it has retained its traditional culture and identity. This self-drive tour allows you to explore barren deserts and rugged coasts, as well as verdant oases and lush plantations all at your own pace. From remote mountain villages and vast spectacular canyons to desert forts, impressive mosques and modern cities, Oman displays its many faces. If you think you know the Gulf, prepare to think again.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture 
  • History 
  • Wildlife 

Tour pace

Moderate / Busy

Tour style

Traveller

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary

(Approximate overall driving time today is 45 minutes)

Arrive in Muscat and meet with our local representative who will brief you on the tour and the procedures with regard to the 4WD self-drive transportation you will be using (please see the tour notes after the itinerary for further information). After the briefing, continue to your accommodation and the rest of the day will be at leisure. No meals nor guided excursions are included today.  Overnight at Al Falaj Hotel.

Note – We can book a range of accommodation throughout Oman so please contact us if you are interested in staying in different properties.

(Approximate overall driving time today is 3.5 hours)

Today you start your adventure and drive through spectacular rugged mountains towards the coastal town of Sur. En route, stop at Bimmah Sink Hole, a rather unusual water filled structural depression, and Wadi Shab, an oasis of inviting pools where it may be possible to take a dip. Continue to Sur, in the past renowned for its dhow shipyards, before continuing to Ras al Jinz. After an early dinner, you will visit the green turtle sanctuary where, after a journey of thousands of kilometres, mature females come ashore to lay their eggs. Overnight Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve. (BD)

Note – The visiting of the turtle reserve is conducted in groups so this is not possible as a private excursion.

(Approximate overall driving time today is 3 hours)

This morning drive to Wadi Bani Khalid, an oasis in the middle of barren and dry mountain landscapes. It’s one of the most beautiful wadis in Oman, and its pools of clear deep blue water are a welcome opportunity for a swim. Thereafter, head into the Wahiba Sands, an undulating red and white spectacular sea of dunes. You will meet an escort car at a designated point who will safely navigate you into the dunes. After some exciting dune driving, you will arrive at your desert camp. Overnight 1000 Nights Camp. (BD)

Note – We recommend staying in the Sheikh tents for an atmospheric Arabian desert experience. These are comfortable and furnished with private bathrooms attached. They do not have air conditioning. If you prefer a room type in the desert with air conditioning please contact us to quote for an upgrade. Also note that alcohol is not served in the desert but you can take it with you.

Today is at leisure to relax. There are a number of optional activities that can be arranged from the camp such as lunch at a Bedouin house, camel trekking and hiking. The activities can either be arranged on the spot subject to availability or they can also be booked in advance so please advise us if you would like the full list), or just simply take in the views over the dunes and relax by the pool. Overnight 1000 Nights Camp.  (BLD)

(Approximate overall driving time today is 5.5 hours)

After breakfast depart the desert with your escort car and then continue unaccompanied to the historic town of Nizwa, Oman’s cultural capital. En route make stops at Ibra Old Houses and explore Jebel Akhdar. In Arabic Jebel Akhdar means Green Mountains and the area is justifiably famous for its gardens, farms and terraced plantations. Also call in at Wadi Habib to see one of the more remote villages and its nearby fruit plantations, before continuing to Nizwa. Overnight Al Falaj Daris Hotel. (BD)

(Approximate overall driving time today is 2 hours)

This morning visit Nizwa’s souk, its busy livestock market and its atmospheric fort. Afterwards continue to the 17th century Yaruba dynasty castle of Jabrin, where magnificent plasterwork, painted wooden beams, and carved doors make it unique in Oman. Continue on to Bahla, one of the oldest towns in Oman and a 12th century tribal capital. Admire views of the town and its magnificent fort before continuing to Jebel Shams. Overnight Jebel Shams Resort. (BD)

(Approximate overall driving time today is 5 hours)

This morning take in spectacular views of Jebel Shams, the ‘Grand Canyon of Oman’. Afterwards drive to Al Hamra and Misfah, to see one of the region’s oldest villages. Here traditional mud houses over 400-years-old are still occupied. Then take an incredibly scenic mountain drive to Wadi Bani Awf, the end point of the canyon, to see the ‘snake gorge’ in the middle of steep mountain cliffs. Continue to Nakhl and visit its restored fort, perched on a rocky outcrop, before returning to Muscat. Overnight Al Falaj Hotel. (B)

This morning we visit the magnificent Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, one of the largest in the Middle East. Afterwards we drive through Muscat’s old, walled district and visit Bait Al Zubai Museum for its Omani cultural displays. Later we head to Muttrah Souk where it’s possible to bargain for handicrafts and silverware. Later this afternoon drive back to the airport where you will drop off your vehicle before checking in for your evening onward flight. (B)

Note – Contact is if you wish to extend your stay in Oman. Perhaps to fly north to the Musandam Peninsular for snorkelling or dolphin watching or south to the interesting region of Salalah. Alternatively, we can book one of the man beach hotels for you in Muscat for some relaxation.

Dates & Price.

We offer this tour for private departures only.

Prices start from £1395 per person, based on two people travelling and sharing a room.

We can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please contact us to discuss your travel plans.

Tour Notes

This is a tailor-made tour and can be arranged for any group size.

Return flights from London to Muscat start at £350. Contact us for a quotation.

Airport transfers are included on arrival and departure.

Solo occupancy room supplement from £475.

Please contact us for a quote for extra nights accommodation pre and/or post tour in Oman.

Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.

Type of vehicle: 4X4 Car (Toyota Land Cruiser or similar)

Rental Agreement Requirements: Passport, Valid driving license with an IDP (International Driving Permit) and a valid Credit Card.

Insurance: All vehicles will be covered with full comprehensive insurance. Only applicable expense from the clients in the event of an accident would be insurance service charges which is approximately US$ 150.00. A police report is mandatory after an accident for necessary paper work.

Support: You will be provided with a Rent-A-Car support call centre number as the emergency 24-hour contact details of our local management team.

Daily navigation: Google Maps works very well in Oman so if you have international data plan that is ideal.  Alternatively, you can purchase a local sim card from the airport with enough data. Our local representative would be happy to assist where required.

Driving times: The driving times stated in the itinerary are given in the best of faith. Driving times may on occasion be longer due to unforeseen circumstances such as poor weather, road construction activity, mechanical problems etc. Most of the roads in Oman are in good condition and well maintained although on you will be driving in off road conditions into and out of the Wahiba Sands (with an escort car) and also on Day 7 through the mountains to Wadi Bani Awf.

Contact is if you wish to extend your stay in Oman. Perhaps to fly north to the Musandam Peninsular for snorkelling or dolphin watching or south to the interesting region of Salalah. Alternatively, we can book one of the man beach hotels for you in Muscat for some relaxation.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Meet and greet with briefing of the tour and the self-drive protocols
  • All accommodation as per the itinerary (many other properties can be booked)
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Transport in private air conditioned 4WD vehicle excluding fuel
  • Escort vehicle into and back from the Wahiba Sands
  • Entrance fees for sites as listed as part of the itinerary
  • Insurance for your self-drive vehicle (see tour notes)

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visa if applicable
  • Drinks
  • Entrance fees (allow approx GBP £25 per person)
  • Fuel
  • Tips (discretionary)

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour…seeing Oman and meeting with locals was an amazing experience. It is a country of such differences….mountains one minute…desert the next. The local people are so friendly and welcoming and eager to speak about their country and culture. With a private guide we went to places that we never would have on our own…including some great places to eat…where the locals go..always a good sign. We also had a great time in the desert..what an experience. We would highly recommend this tour. Chilling for five days in a lovely hotel was the perfect end!

 

Mrs. J Rees, UK