Official language: Arabic is the official language and English as well as Swahili are widely spoken languages.
Currency: Omani Rial
Welcome to the Sultanate of Oman. The Middle East’s best kept secret!
Situated on the southeast edge of the Arabian Peninsula this country promises to entice visitors from far and wide. The seemingly timeless mountain villages, roughly 2000 forts (several of which are UNESCO sites), massive date palm plantations, immaculate blow holes and beautiful beaches are some of the great attractions that this captivating country has on offer. Since the rule of Sultan Qaboos the country of Oman has transformed from a rather conservative country into a “grown up” prosperous destination. It is in Oman that one can truly witness how traditional values have seamlessly integrated into modern lifestyles and what the true effect of sustainable development has on the environment. The attractions on offer might be stretched out far from one another (it’s not strange to travel on charter plains to get from point A to B here as distances can be vast) but the satisfaction gained from the scenery is out of this world. In the far south lies the Dhofar region with its palm fringed landscapes and astonishing collection of bird life. In the interior of the country the Empty Quarter desert sands offer mind blowing camel trekking adventures and star gazing that is unrivalled. From the lively colorful local souks to the new age hotels and resorts, the country of Oman, with its rich Arabian hospitality and Islamic culture is a destination that will open up a door to another world for travelers from all walks of life.
Must see places in Oman
In Muscat you can find the old massive mosque that dominates the skyline with its golden dome and sky high minarets. Stunning architectural features such as gold, crystal, Italian white marble and a 10 ton crystal chandelier are among the awe inspiring scenery on display here.
Feast your eyes on the pristine blue-green waters that fill the massive sinkhole, or ascend the staircase and dip your toes in the refreshing waters in this 40 meter wide geological feature.
In the country of Oman lies the largest desert area within the Arabian Peninsula. It’s the perfect place to truly soak up the sun and enjoy the raw natural beauty. Camel trekking and 4x4 drives give you a great sightseeing opportunity of this rather unexplored territory.
Al Mughsayl Blowholes
A spectacular water feature set to tickle the imagination awaits when you visit the site during monsoon season when sea currents force waters through rock cavities and result in a awe inspiring display.
This perfectly restored old fort will capture the imagination when you admire the corridor maze, beautiful archways and the different rooms it boasts. It also has a special women and girls room that showcases quaint bracelets, teapots and delicate ceramics.
A world heritage site, this fortified settlement is one of the most impressive of its kind worldwide showcasing some magnificent architectural design and beautiful décor. There are also stunning souvenir pots on sale from the local Bahla potters. Just don’t rub the pot you buy though, Bahla is well known for hiding genies in their pots!
Climb this age old Mountain of the Sun and gaze upon the Wadi Ghul, the so called Grad Canyon of Arabia. Along the hiking route many traditional weavers have their top quality goat hair woven carpets on display.
Things to do in Oman
Camp out in the Deserted Quarter
To get the real authentic experience camel trek in the Sharqiva Sands and explore the vast desert landscapes, then proceed to the campsite as evening approaches for great Arabian hospitality. Delectable campfire kebabs and the sublime night sky with one million stars seemingly within reaching distance is the highlight of the trip.
Buy some fresh fish in Barka
It’s one of the busiest and most bustling fish markets around and displays the traditions of fishermen throughout the ages, timeless and always delivering crates full of fresh fish for the auction floor where locals bid up a storm on fish of all shapes and sizes.
Grand Canyon Omani Style
The breathtaking ravine of Wadi Sahtan within Rustaq delivers some of the most diverse and intriguing scenery in the area. A trip by 4x4 through the ravine includes scenery such as the date palm plantations, green pools, small rivers and quaint ancient villages and makes for a great day out.
Strike a bargain at Muttrah Souk
The souk in Muscat might be relatively small but it’s worth strolling by and haggling over items such as gold and silver that you thought you could never afford. Frankincense will undoubtedly be purchased at bargain prices and the array of spices and textiles available at this market makes it more than worthy of a day trip destination.
Soak in the Mud Baths
Bird watching in Al-Ansab Wetland
Explore the Khasab khors (fjords)
Take a cruise on a traditional dhow (boat) where dolphins are often the travel companions along the waters, to explore the magnificent collection of stunning old khors that whisper a tale of the history of this region of Oman.
Best time to visit Oman
Tourists visit Oman in pre-summer season
Oman has temperate conditions in the months of October through April with warm and sunny weather and typical daytime temperatures of between 25°C and 35°C, and evening times can cool down to around 19°C. This pre-summer season is the best time to visit the country as it’s not too hot and humid yet. The Dhofar region has its own micro-climate and catches monsoon season from the Indian Ocean during the months of May-September when temperatures can be as low as 15°C during the day, unlike the rest of the country which tends to be a little warmer during the winter months. Snow on the mountain peaks is also a regular thing during the winter months and this is also when the country receives their rainfall, which is typically about 20-100mm per year and around 900mm in the mountain regions.
Did you know?
- Schwarma – This might be a humble old dish but will get you fed in a hurry, it’s cheap and will feed you well. Roasted meat gets wrapped in bread and stuffed with salad and garlic sauce. Plain but oh so satisfying!
- Biryani – not to be mistaken with the Indian version. Omani biryani is basically about a leg of chicken served with rice and louvered with a few whole spices and some roasted onion. It’s a staple food of the locals and is sure to satisfy the taste buds.
- Dates – another staple in the Omani culture. They come in different varieties, shapes and sizes and are usually served with coffee and to the Omani people, shows good hospitality when offered to their guests.
- Harees Laham – This authentic dish consists of lamb that has been cooked in cow ghee and is served with wheat.
- Shuwa – Another authentic Omani dish that hasn’t lost its sparkle and great taste is Shuwa. The delicate meat that has been slow cooked in a clay oven literally melts in your mouth. Served with some parsley salad and flat bread this dish is a winner!
For one whole month the city of Muscat comes alive with cultural and artistic events that involve multilingual activities and fuses different culture groups together during this lively and colorful event (February)
Salalah Tourism Festival
This annual and popular event brings cultural, heritage, arts, sports and contests as well as a shopping extravaganza to the city of Salalah each year. Dubbed as the family meeting place this festive month sees different cultures all come together to commemorate the end of the monsoon season and also to relish in all things Omani (July – August)
Ras Al Jinz near Sur is one of the only places where the protected turtles of Oman can be seen. Around 50,000 females make their way up the sandy beached to nest here each annually for a two month long period. This is truly a chance at experiencing one of Mother Nature’s miracles from up close (July – October)
- Alcohol consumption in public places is strictly prohibited, and may only be purchased with a permit and consumed in private bars and restaurants.
- Please dress conservatively and no beach -wear beyond the resort areas.
- It is illegal to remove any items from the beaches.
- Homosexuality is illegal and gay couples will have to book separate rooms.
- Always ask permission from locals before photographing them.
- Pack lightweight cottons as layering is essential for this hot country.