From the Desert to the Coast

Oman – From the Desert to the Coast Tour – a 8 day Small Group Tour.

Oman is an intoxicating mix of incredible scenery and fascinating culture. On this short group tour we take in the very best of the country, visiting the towns of Muscat and Nizwa, packed full of history before heading further inland.

Follow ancient spice trails, tackle the dunes of the Wahiba Sands, meet traditional communities and enjoy superb coastal scenery in this enigmatic corner of Arabia.



Discover the real Oman on Undiscovered Destinations tour of this Middle Eastern gem!

Travelling in comfortable air conditioned 4WD vehicles and mini buses, we will explore the Sultanate of Oman from the ‘Desert to the Coast’. This action packed tour includes a stay in the desert at Wahiba Sands, named after the Wahiba tribe, the region is home to Bedouin who manage to eke out an existence around the few oases. It is also home to a surprising amount of wildlife. Immortalised by the travels of Wilfred Thesiger, a journey into the sands offers a superb opportunity to experience desert wilderness.

Tour ratings.

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

Tour pace


Tour style


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.


Discover the South of Oman on this extension to the main tour.

Arrive in Salalah and transfer to the hotel. No meals or guided arrangements are included today. Overnight at Salalah Garden Residences or similar.

Exploring Salalah and surrounds

This morning we head east to the Dhofar region. Our first destination is Taqa where we visit the fort and the impressive ruins at Sumhuram which give an insight on life 2000-years-ago. The adjoining port of Khor Rori was once an important trade centre and the main conduit for the export of frankincense. Just before Mirbat we reach Bin Ali’s Tomb, marked by a twin-domed mosque and adjoining cemetery. In Mirbat, the former capital of Dhofar, we visit the old merchant houses, built in traditional Omani-style. Returning to Salalah we call in at Ayn Razat Gardens, a quiet place at the foot of the lush Qara Mountains. In the afternoon we drive west towards Al-Mughsail Beach passing scattered stands of frankincense trees. At the beach we witness the surprisingly spectacular blow holes before visiting the Tomb of Prophet Ayub (Job), located in the mountains north of Salalah. Overnight Salalah Garden Residences or similar. (BL)

4WD to the Empty Quarter (Rub Al Khali)

Today we take 4WD vehicles and drive into the Qara mountain range from where there are spectacular views of the Salalah plains, dotted with thick shrubs and woodland. We continue west on a graded road, crossing the huge gravel desert of Al Nejd. After almost 175km we reach the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the ‘Lost City of Ubar’. The legendary ancient kingdom of Ubar was said to have existed in one of the most inhospitable places on earth – the vast and forbidding Rub’ Al Khali desert, or Empty Quarter. According to myth the desert swallowed Ubar. Quite literally, it sank without a trace, becoming the fabled ‘Atlantis of the Sands’. The buried city was spotted by satellite and in 1992 benefited from work carried out by a team of explorers led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Afterwards we drive into the Empty Quarter to experience the ‘world’s largest sand desert’. From the top of the dunes breathtaking views over the vast sea of sand await. Later we head back to Salalah, stopping at the Bedouin settlement of Thumrait for lunch at a local restaurant. Overnight Salalah Garden Residences or similar. (BL)

Please note: Lunch will be around 1400hrs on this day.

City tour – Depart Salalah – Fly to Muscatthis is then Day 1 of the main group tour

This morning we visit Al Balid Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to ‘The Museum of the Frankincense Land’. The museum’s displays focus on the geography and history of the Frankincense trail, and Oman’s rich marine heritage. Afterwards we drive through lush green plantations of vegetables and fruits, stopping to taste a fresh coconut water at a street stall. We also stop briefly at the impressive Sultan Qaboos Mosque and Al Husn Palace. At Al Hafa souk, famous for the sale of high-quality Frankincense, we follow fragrant, winding alleys populated by stalls offering incense boxes, decorated clay incense burners, and bags of incense. There’s plenty of time to explore before we return to the hotel. Later we drive to Salalah Airport to catch an afternoon flight to Muscat. On arrival transfer to the hotel. Overnight Al Falaj Hotel or similar. (B)

(Approximate driving time: forty-five minutes)

Arrive in Muscat and transfer to hotel accommodation. Depending upon flight schedules there may be time to explore the city independently. No meals or guided arrangements are included today. Overnight at Al Falaj Hotel or similar.

(Approximate driving time: three-and-a-half-hours)

Today we drive through spectacular rugged mountains towards Sur. En we route we stop at Bimmah Sink Hole and Wadi Shab, an oasis of inviting pools where it may be possible to take a dip. After lunch we explore Sur, in the past renowned for its dhow shipyards, before continuing to Ras al Jinz. After an early dinner we 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 or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: three-hours)

This morning we 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. After lunch we head into the Wahiba Sands, an undulating red and white sea of dunes. After some exciting dune driving, we arrive at our desert camp. Overnight 1000 Nights Camp or similar. (BLD)

Today is free to relax. There’s lunch at a Bedouin house, and a range of activities are available from the desert camp (which may be booked in advance – please advise if you would like the full list), or just take in the views over the dunes. Overnight 1000 Nights Camp or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: five-and-a-half-hours)

After breakfast we drive to the historic town of Nizwa, Oman’s cultural capital. En route we visit 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. We call in at Wadi Habib to see one of the more remote villages and its nearby fruit plantations, before continuing to Nizwa. Overnight Intercity Hotel or similar. (BLD)

(Approximate driving time: two-hours)

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

(Approximate driving time: five-hours)

Today we take in spectacular views of Jebel Shams, the ‘Grand Canyon of Oman’. Afterwards we 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. After an early lunch we head to Wadi Bani Awf, the end point of the canyon, to see the ‘snake gorge’ in the middle of steep mountain cliffs. Later we drive to Nakhl and visit its restored fort, perched on a rocky outcrop, before arriving in Muscat. Overnight Al Falaj Hotel or similar. (BLD)

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. In the late afternoon we take a sunset cruise, before transferring to Muscat airport to meet onward flights. (BL)

Extend your tour with a visit to the Musandam Peninsular

After the sunset cruise transfer to the airport and stay overnight at a hotel next to the airport. Overnight Hotel Sundus Rotana (Novotel) or similar. (B)

Note: Due to timings of domestic flights it is not possible to fly same day up to Musandam Peninsular.

Today we board a flight to Khasab and on arrival transfer to hotel accommodation. In the afternoon we take a 4WD safari to Jebel Harim, the highest point of the Musandam Peninsula, where we are rewarded by impressive views of the wadis. Afterwards we visit the lagoon of Khor Al Najd before returning to the hotel via Al Khalidiya park, an acacia woodland home to a variety of butterflies and birds.  Overnight Atana Khasab Hotel or similar. (BD)

This morning we board a traditional Arab dhow to enjoy a full-day’s cruise to Khor Sham. We sail through the majestic fjord, surrounded by spectacular mountains and white sand beaches, passing the occasional tiny fishing villages. Scanning the water’s surface, we look out for dolphins riding the dhow’s bow wave and wake. We anchor at Telegraph and Seebi Island, excellent places for swimming and snorkelling where pristine waters teem with colourful marine life. After a relaxed lunch aboard, we sail back to the harbour of Khasab and return to the hotel. Overnight Atana Khasab Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Transfer to the airport for our flight back to Muscat. If you have an evening flight out of Muscat then the tour ends here or alternatively you can book extra accommodation in Muscat (please contact us for prices). (B)

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

Single Supplement from £555 on the main 8 day small group tour.

Single Supplement from £195 on the Salalah extension.

Single Supplement from £265 on the Musandam extension.

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

Please note that for clients doing the Salalah extension it is possible to fly to Salalah from Dubai rather than having to go back via Muscat. So for example UK – Salalah (via Dubai) and then Muscat – UK (via Dubai) at the end of the trip.

** November departure – Salalah extension is post-tour **

If you arrive into Muscat before the extension, the extension price is from £955 per person based on at least 2 people travelling sharing a room. Price includes the internal flights from Muscat – Salalah – Muscat.

Single Supplement from £195 on the Salalah extension.

Extension price to Musandam is from £925 per person based on at least 2 people travelling sharing a room. Price includes internal flights from Muscat – Khasab – Muscat.

Single Supplement from £285 on the Musandam extension.

If you are a solo traveller please contact us at the time of booking to check on the status of the extension and whether it is guaranteed to operate.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Oman Tour Map

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.

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • All accommodation
  • Services of an English-speaking guide/tour leader
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Transport in 4WD convoy
  • Entrance fees for sites as listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visa
  • Drinks
  • 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. Highlights for us were seeing the turtles, and a great living museum which is an old Omani house where you see local ladies making bread, sandlewood oil etc and get to learn about Omani life. 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