This trip was intended to be different – more rough, more adventurous, more surprising, more intense. Oman, you fulfilled all of it. Still a secret travel destination and causing numbers questions like: isn’t it dangerous? Do you have to cover up completely as a women? Are there any poisonous animals? No, no and no. Our trip crossing 3000 kilometers of Oman taught us something else: smiling faces, overwhelming hospitality and peaceful nights in our tent under the Arabic sky.
The first spots of our 18-days trip through Oman already caught us with their beauty: Wadi Shab and the Bimmah Sinkhole are surreal landscapes and only two hours away of Muscat. The Wadi Shab looking like an oriental version of Grand Canyon with its emerald green waters calling for a hike and a swim. We were surprised by the loneliness and the untouched nature. We continued our road trip with our comfortable 4WD on the well-paved roads in the direction of Ras al Jinz. Watching the wonder of a turtle life on one beach: in the middle of the night turtles crawling out of the water to the beach, digging a hole to lay eggs in the sand and returning back to the sea. This is a true phenomenon especially when you also witness baby turtles come out of the nest to start the most dangerous journey of their lives towards the ocean. As if our trip wasn’t deserted enough, we boarded a ferry and took a ride to Masirah Island: an unique island, where you couldn’t decide if this scenery looks more like the moon or like mars.
On the white beaches you could cool down or watch the camels strolling on the sand. No matter how lonely you might feel on some road sections, a helpful Omani appears out of nowhere to help you to fix your flat tyre or even to take your spare wheel that is also flat to the next town to get it fixed. The Omanis managed to surprised us again and again – even when I left my camera in a coffee shop. They answered with a smile, handing over my camera and promising “You will never get robbed in Oman“.
We left the sound of the sea and drove where the galaxies try to outshine each other: Wahiba Sands. Staying a night in the desert is a special experience you will never forget. The shimmering heat dissolves the horizon and then after a few kilometers drive through the sand there appears a desert camp – and it’s not a fata morgana. We sit in a Bedouin tent on colorful pillows and drink Omani kawa and nibble sweet-spicy dates. Greater, higher, better – can we somehow top this? Yes, we can.
As mountain lovers from Germany we couldn’t wait to see the peaks of Oman. And yes, they took our breath away. We hiked the balcony walk at Jebel Shams accompanied by goats and the clicking sound of my camera, as I couldn’t stop taking pictures. We loved to cross the Hadjar mountains via unpaved off-road treks to get to the archaeological sites of Al-Ayn and the abandoned villages of Wadi Ghul. A real gem is Alila hotel at Jebel Akdhar, where you can see how to combine a luxury design hotel with traditional handcrafted furniture and place the hotel in the beauty of the wild landscape. Wow!
Our last part of the journey took us to the fjords of Oman: Musandam also known as the Norway of Arabia. We could have done this journey merely for our travel there. On a high-speed catamaran, driving into the sunset, dolphins surrounding you and rugged coastline waiting for you to ashore. We discovered the fjords around Khasab with a dhow, which was the most slow-down transport option. Have some wind in your face, watch the dolphins from a close perspective and jump from board when we reached a crystal-clear bay. Spending the last day in Muscat, the souq is a place to visit. On the souq you can find anything, from souvenirs like frankincense, stylish colorful sandals and the most beautiful scarfs from Pakistan. Ending the day couldn’t be better than in Kargeen Café – Omani dishes in cosmopolitan atmosphere and Arabic surroundings. This country on the Arabic peninsula is so stunningly divers: a tranquil metro-pole that preserved its traditional charm, stunning large deserts, coral reefs, fjords full of dolphins, huge canyons and mountains raising up to 3.000 meters. Now I fully understand the claim „Oman – where beauty has its address“.
Follow Michaela on more of her travels @Mischkatinka