Highlights of Oman

Oman · About Escorted or Guided Tour

Oman remains one of the last great undiscovered parts of the Middle East. Here, ancient heritage melds beautifully with modern living. Overnight in the dramatic Wahiba Sands desert after visiting the Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve to observe the endangered species’ nesting process. Still looking for something off the beaten path? Visit Wadi Nakhr, also known as the Grand Canyon of Oman, to get even deeper into Oman’s ethereal beauty – natural and otherwise.

What's Included

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque visit. Bail Al Zubair Museum visit. Muttrah Souq visit. Mirani and Jalali forts visit. Bimmah Sinkhole visit. Sur dhow shipyard visit. Raz al Jinz turtle sanctuary night visit. Nizwá cattle market visit. Overnight in Wahiba Sands desert camp. Mud houses of Misfat al Abyreen walk and visit. Wadi Nakhr (the “Grand Canyon of Oman”) visit.

Highlights

Time to explore the city highlights of Muscat, visit a turtle sanctuary, watch the sunset from a desert camp, Visit the cattle market in Nizwá, Marvel in the canyon views of Jebel Shams

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

RAMADAN
According to the lunar cycle, Ramadan will fall between May 15th and June 24th, 2018. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. There may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan, but generally our tours still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-Muslims throughout the day. It is very important to display increased cultural sensitivity during Ramadan. Please wear loose fitting clothes, that cover knees and shoulders, and try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public out of respect for those who can’t at that time.

Group Leader Description

This G Adventures group trip is accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Group Size Notes

Max 15, avg 12.

Meals Included

7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Meals

Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Transport

Walking, private bus, 4×4 vehicle.

About our Transportation

On this trip we will travel by air-conditioned private minivan and for most of the journeys. When travelling through the desert we will be using 4×4 vehicles.

Solo Travellers

We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nts), desert camp (1 nt).

My Own Room

Please note that if you have booked the “My Own Room” option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops

About Accommodation

On this trip you can expect to stay in small local hotels or pensions (with the exception of the start and finish hotels, which are often larger city hotels), which will vary a little in standard and facilities: some may not have elevators, air-conditioning or English-speaking staff, but most importantly all are locally-run and in excellent central locations to give you maximum time for exploring the sights.

Joining Hotel

For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.

Joining Instructions

For those who have booked arrival transfer, your driver will meet guest in the arrival hall with a G Adventures placard (after immigration & customs clearance) and guide you to our vehicle.

If you have not booked arrival transfer, there is an airport taxi counter in the arrival hall of Muscat International airport (after immigration & customs clearance) and guests can hire taxi from there. The approximate cost for one way transfer by saloon car from Muscat airport to hotel is US $30.00 per car per way.

Arrival Complications

We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

Emergency Contact

If you have arrived and and have difficulty finding our Arrival Transfer after 30 minute, travelers are free to call on Zahara Tours emergency number + 968 92833038 for assistance.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Cairo, Egypt)
During office hours (Sun-Thu,10am to 6pm local time): +20 233 77 88 30 or +20 233 77 88 31
After hours Emergency number: +20 122 221 16 99 (Mohammed)

G Adventures Middle East Manager
Emergency number: : +20 122 221 16 99 -Mohammed (Cairo, Egypt)

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

We recommend using a backpack for your convenience, or a medium-sized suitcase if you prefer. A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person. You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.

It is important to pack clothes for warm to hot days and cool evenings. A set of smart casual clothes is also advisable.

Checklist

Additional Items:
• Sleeping bag and liner (Seasonally appropriate)

Conservative Dress:
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)

Documents:
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)

Essentials:
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Footwear
• Hat
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Moneybelt
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Shirts/t-shirts
• Sleepwear
• Small travel towel
• Sunglasses
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket

Warm Weather:
• Sandals/flip-flops
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
• Swimwear

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Visas

Please note that as per current information the following nationals are entitled to get Oman visa on arrival at Muscat International airport, but subject change based on government policy. Moreover issuing visa is at the discretion of immigration; hence we can’t guarantee the same for any nationalities:

Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States Of America, Uruguay, Vatican City State (Holy See), Venezuela

The cost for Oman visa on arrival is USD $52.00 per person (valid for 30 days) and guests can pay direct at Travelex counter by cash (US$/EURO) or by card before proceed to immigration.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

The currency in Oman is the Omani rial (OMR)

There are plenty of banks that can be found in Oman. ATMs are found within main cities (mostly in shopping malls and airports) in Oman and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible as while there is no hard and fast rule, some banks seem to only work with one brand of card. Please note, your bank will change a fee for overseas withdrawals. Smaller shops and restaurants will mostly only accept cash.

Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. Euros, British Pounds and US Dollars are all easy to exchange to the Local currency. Please note that you should bring some cash with you for emergency situations but carrying only cash is a high safety risk. ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix.

If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Notes older than 1996, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!

As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Departure Tax

OMR 5 must be paid upon departure if not collected at ticket issuance.

Tipping

Tipping is a way of life in the Middle East. Locals themselves will usually tip anyone who provides them with services. In many cases, people depend on the tips they receive to supplement the low salary and wages of the Middle East region.

While on tour in the Middle East, it is customary and even expected to tip small service providers such as restaurant and bar waiters, hotel staff, reception, cleaning personnel, bell boys, taxis and van drivers. Tipping at restaurants in Oman is expected at the rate of 10%. Tips are regarded as an essential means of supplementing income for those working in the tourism industry.

To make things as easy as possible and avoid embarrassing situations, G Adventures has developed a tipping kitty system where your CEO will collect a contribution from everybody at the start of your tour and use this kitty to tip anybody who has provided services to the group as a whole. A guideline for tipping is about $5-10 USD per day, depending on the quality of the service (this does not include your G Adventures CEO). On Day 1 of your tour, your CEO will be able to advise on the amount required from everybody to form the tipping kitty for your trip. You can pay in USD or the equivalent local currency (preferably local currency). The CEO will be able to advise you on the exchange rate and the total required in either currency

If at any time you feel that any service provider failed in maintaining or delivering good service, please bring it immediately to the attention of your CEO so a deduction of tips can take place.

At the end of your trip if you felt that your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is also expected and appreciated. The precise amount is entirely a personal preference, however $35-40 USD per person per week can be used as a general guideline.

Optional Activities

Please see the itinerary for information on optional activities, descriptions and estimated pricing.

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

DRINKING WATER: It is advisable to drink bottled water in Oman.

There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, infectious hepatitis and polio. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit, hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc.

Safety and Security

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.

Trip Specific Safety

Like anywhere in the world, major cities have areas safer than others, use common sense, be aware of your surroundings and mind your personal belongings.

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at www.gadventures.com/medical-form.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.

G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.

Dollar-a-Day Program
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.

Local Dress

While visiting mosques and other religious monuments you should dress modestly, cover your shoulders and you shouldn’t wear short shorts or skirts. Outside of capital cities and the more touristic centres, local dress is often more conservative and as a matter of respect we ask that both men and women are aware of this and recommend loose-fitting clothes with your shoulders covered. Ask your CEO for more specific advice.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra’s monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Minimum Age

You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.

International Flights

Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.

PRODUCT_LINE: DQMM, ID: 24784

Itinerary

Day 1: Muscat

Arrive at any time.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Day 2: Muscat (1B, 1L)

Explore some of the highlights of the city including the Grand Mosque, the Bait Al Zubair Museum, and the historic souk in Muttrah, before heading to Old Muscat and the 16th century Al-Mirani & Al-Jelani forts.

Included Activities:
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque Visit
Bait Al Zubair Museum Visit
Muttrah Souq Visit
Old Muscat Fort Visits

Day 3: Muscat/Ras al-Jinz (1B)

Leave Muscat behind and drive along the coast towards the picturesque Bimmah Sinkhole. Continue to Sur, renowned in the past for its dhow shipyards, before reaching Ras al-Jinz on the coast. After an early dinner, visit the turtle sanctuary, where green turtles come from thousands of kilometres away to lay eggs at night.

Included Activities:
Bimmah Sinkhole
Sur Dhow Shipyards
Turtle Sanctuary Visit

Transport:
4×4 (2.45 hour(s), 246km)

Day 4: Ras al-Jinz/Wahiba Sands (1B, 1D)

Drive towards Wādī Banī Khālid, a rocky oasis nestled in the East Hajar mountains filled with natural pools. Later, begin your desert adventure through the dunes towards your desert camp, just in time for a sunset. In the evening, enjoy some traditional music over dinner, around an open fire.

Included Activities:
Wādī Banī Khālid
Omani Bedouin Desert Camp Experience

Transport:
4×4 (1.00 hour(s), 80km)
4×4 (2.00 hour(s), 124km)

Day 5: Wahiba Sands/Nizwá (1B)

Leaving the desert behind, we head towards Ibra and visit the impressive Jabrin castle. Continue towards Nizwá, stopping at the historic fortress of Bahla along the way.

Included Activities:
Jabrin Castle
Bahla Fort

Transport:
4×4 (1.50 hour(s), 161km)
4×4 (1.25 hour(s), 155km)

Day 6: Nizwá to Al Hamra (1B)

Wake up early to take part in the Nizwá cattle market. Watch locals buy and trade the best livestock, from goats to cattle directly from the herders. Continue to the town of Al Hamra and visit the renowned mud houses of Misfat Al Abriyeen. Learn about the Falaj network, Oman’s ancient water supply system.

Included Activities:
Nizwá Cattle Market
Aflaj Irrigation Systems
Mud Houses of Misfat Al Abriyeen

Transport:
4×4 (0.75 hour(s), 50km)

Day 7: Al Hamra to Muscat (1B)

Explore Jebel Shams and take in view of Wadi Nakhr, otherwise known as the Grand Canyon of Oman. Drive through Wadi Bani Awf and take in the beauty of the steep mountain cliffs before reaching the end point (“Snake Point”) of the gorge. Continue to Muscat.

Transport:
4×4 (6.00 hour(s), 180km)

Day 8: Muscat (1B)

Depart at any time.

Included Activities:
Departure Day

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