Oman to Dubai - The Sands of Time

This is an expedition tracing Oman's ancient roots of Arabia where Bedouin culture mixes some of the most vibrant and fascinating legacy of Indian Ocean trade routes before crossing the sands to glitzy Dubai, taking a wildlife safari in the dunes and visiting conservation projects along the way. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Stay in the best hotels in on this journey

Experience Oman's ancient culture and UNESCO sites

Experience wildlife safari in Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Experience an insiders experience of touring 

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE MUSCAT

Arrive at Muscat Intl Airport and transfer to historical center where we drive through the Capital area passing through the beautiful embassy and ministries area in Shatti Al Qurm with its Arabic-styled buildings, along the coastal road in Qurm and the Ruwi High Street to Muttrah. Take a stroll around the traditional Old Souk witnessing traditional spices, daily goods on parade. From Muttrah, we continue along the Corniche and Ryam Road to Al Alam Palace where we admire the Portuguese forts of Jalali and Mirani. Then transfer to your hotel for a deserved rest tonight. 

Overnight: Al Bustan Palace, Muscat

Meals: Lunch

DAY 2: MUSCAT (EXCURSION TO BIMMAH & QANTAB)

Begin the early morning with a visit to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (open to Non-Muslims from 0800hrs-1100hrs daily except Fridays) with its impressive architecture and fine artwork. We then continue along the old coast road before making a stop at the turquoise Bimmah Sinkhole formed by limestone erosion and collapse of rocks. We then return and make a stop in the fishing village of Qantab, visit the boatyard featured in National Geographic's documentary "Sailing the Treasure Ship" and meet with archaeologists reconstructing medieval Arab boats that transported goods from Africa to Singapore. This evening, we will enjoy a special dining experience with fresh catch from local fishermen in a restored village house, surrounded by the jebel and the sea. 

Overnight: Al Bustan Palace, Muscat

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

DAY 3: MUSCAT / RUSTAQ / NAKHL / NIZWA

Our journey today takes us past the Central Al Hajar mountain ranges to the ancient capital of Rustaq where once Imam Nasser bin Murshid Al Ya'rubi started from here his conquest to unify Oman and repel the Portuguese in the 17th Century. We make a visit to the imposing Rustaq Fort, dating back to the 13th Century cradled by four tall towers and has a falaj (irrigation system) within the interiors. Make a brief stop too at the Rustaq Souq where traditional handicrafts, agriculture produce and local goods are paraded. Thereafter, we continue to the oasis city of Nakhl, surrounded by the Jebel Nakhl Mountains. Visit the Nakhl Fort that is built on a rock in the 17th Century before we arrive at the gorgeous Alila Jabal Akhdar, perched 2000m above sea level overlooking the canyonlands of the Hajar Mountains. 

Overnight: Alila Jabal Akhdar, Nizwa

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

 

DAY 4: NIZWA

This morning after breakfast, we drive to the city of Nizwa and visit the atmospheric Nizwa Souq where on Fridays, you can experience the liveliness of the Goat Market where local farmers gather to trade livestocks. Visit the Nizwa Fort, the largest and one of the oldest forts in Oman distinguished by its unique round shape. Explore its maze of halls and rooms connected by narrow staircases and corridors and enjoy panoramic views from the top of the tower.

 

 

 

Next, we continue to the village of Al Hamra, a 400 year-old town, home to some of the oldest preserved houses that can be found in Oman. Winding up the rocky hillside, is the small ancient village of Misfat al Abriyyin with its picturesque collection of ochre-coloured stone buildings, giving it a somewhat medieval feel. A walk through this pretty village of twisting lanes and covered passages brings you to the falaj (irrigation system), which runs below the village, surrounded by lush bougainvillea, banana palms and other greenery. 

Overnight: Alila Jabal Akhdar, Nizwa

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 5: NIZWA / BAHLA / BAT / AL AIN

This morning, we depart the Alila Jabal Akhdar and make a brief stop at the ruins of Birkat al Mouz for a walk through of the abandoned town before continuing our way to Oman's largest fortress, the UNESCO-listed Bahla Fort, renowned for its pottery and once believed to be a center of magic and sorcery.

 

 

 

 

Next, we head on to another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Al Ayn Tombs and the prehistoric settlements, towers, and tombs of Bat. On an insiders' tour of the site, learn about the Bronze Age Umm an-Nar culture, whose production of copper and long distance trade with India and ancient Mesopotamia helped develop the Arabian Peninsula. Finally, we then cross the border into the United Arab Emirates and arrive in the city of Al Ain

Overnight: Al Ain Rotana Hotel, Al Ain

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 6: AL AIN / DUBAI DESERT CONSERVATION RESERVE

Start the day in the oasis city of Al Ain with a visit to the Al Ain National Museum to discover the history of this important stop on the caravan routes. Thereafter, we visit the Camel Market. This is the last souk of its kind in the UAE and offers an excellent opportunity to see camels up close and see and hear traders bargaining and auctioning. We then continue to the stunning Al Maha Desert Resort, recipient of the 2004 World Legacy Award from National Geographic and Conservation International. The resort is inside the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve - home to many desert species including gazelles, foxes, lizards and the rare and endangered Arabian Oryx. Take a evening 4x4 safari through the dunes to capture the amazing wildlife. 

Overnight: Al Maha Desert Resort, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7: DUBAI DESERT CONSERVATION RESERVE / DUBAI

Today, we say farewell to a short but great adventure and make our way to Dubai Intl Airport for departure. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Tucked away between the rugged Al Hajar Mountain range and the Sea of Oman, Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz Carlton Hotel is a hidden jewel, a beachfront retreat that welcomes guests with customs steeped in ancient traditions and contemporary comfort. 

Al Bustan Palace, Muscat

Jabal Akhdar, meaning "The Green Mountain" in Arabic, is part of the Al Hajar mountain range, one of Oman's most spectacular regions. Perched here 2000m above sea level, Alila Jabal Akhdar overlooks a dramatic gorge, surrounded by awe-inspiring views of the Al Hajar Mountains. This Oman resort is the perfect base for exploring the region's magnificent landscape of rugged, untouched beauty while experiencing the height of sumptuous comfort. 

Alila Jabal Akhdar, Nizwa

Al Ain Rotana Hotel, situated in the heart of Al Ain and a few mins away from the famed sites of the city, redefine efficient service with effortless style. Al Ain offers suites, rooms, poolside chalets and villas where all room types features air conditioning, satellite tv and minibar. 

Al Ain Rotana Hotel, Al Ain

Al Maha Desert Resort is nestled in a verdant palm oasis, deep within Dubai's magical dune and desert landscape in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and plays a pivotal role in its conservation. Al Maha showcases the heritage and architecture of the Bedouins and also offers a sense of desert adventure. 

Al Maha Desert Resort, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

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