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Images of dramatic sunsets over the desert, bustling souks, historic towns and virginal beaches come to fruition in this warm and enchanting country. Oman’s beautiful coastline is fast becoming a favourite, yet has largely resisted high rise hotels in favour of more traditional and characterful buildings. Oman also has one of the oldest civilisations in the Arabian Peninsula – it has long been a centre for trade, with an array of historic sights and towns. The country is almost entirely dominated by a large desert plain and has a quintessential landscape of rolling sand dunes punctuated by mountains, canyons, ravines and crystal clear lakes, dotted with historic old forts and towns. A good place to start your trip is the capital, Muscat. The city has fine museums and is renowned for its corniche and souks, as well as its beaches. Away from Muscat, watch turtles come ashore to lay their eggs on the beaches of Ras al Hadd and Ras al-Jinz, walk through forest-clad gorges in the foothills of Jebel Akhdar (the Green Mountains) and meander through ancient clifftop villages. Follow in the footsteps of Thesiger and capture the stillness of the desert with a stay amid the rolling red sand dunes of Wahiba Sands. Enjoy an authentic Oman experience by staying in a traditional Bedouin tent made from black goat hair, or at one of the camps dotted across the desert, meeting the Bedouin people and searching for desert oryx. Though Oman has seen a steep rise in popularity, for the time being at least it is perfectly possible to have a spot of desert, or even a whole beach, to yourself.
Holidays in Oman with A&K
We always go the extra mile to reveal a country's true soul. In Oman we go several miles. At the legendary Wahiba Sands, whose starkly hypnotic dunes form the edge of the Empty Quarter, A&K transport you deeper into the desert than any other c& staying in traditional tents of black goat's hair and dining on rugs beneath a million-tog duvet of stars.
Returning guests have provided memorable accounts of sharing the Bedouin's daily life and stalking the elusive desert oryx. And just as they did, you'll walk in the hot, sandy footsteps of Wilfred Thesiger - a literary trail that deserves our very best service.
Indeed, to do Oman justice you need A&K's superbly connected, highly experienced team with the finest 4WD vehicle fleet and top-notch local and specialist guides. The country is like nowhere else on the Arabian Peninsula with one of its oldest civilisations inhabiting a landscape of mountains, lush hills and desert behind a stunning coastline without a skyscraper in sight - the antithesis of Dubai.
Take an Abercrombie & Kent luxury holiday to Oman and the Wahiba Sands' 100m-high dunes are just the start. There's Muscat with its superb corniche, thriving souk, and awe-inspiring mosque. A spectacular mountain drive takes you to the historic dhow-building centre of Sur - we can arrange exclusive access to study the work of the traditional boat builders - where the greenback turtle reserve lets you witness hatchlings take their first steps towards the sea.
Head inland to Nizwa, with its 17th century fort, photogenic mountain backdrop and palm oasis stretching for five miles, and you've reached the gateway to the Al Hajar Mountains. The uniquely verdant spot on the Arabian Peninsular has terraces of fruit orchards - the succulent pomegranates are to die for - and villages perched above dramatic gorges, peaks and wadis.
If you like the spectacular, you must visit the isolated Musandan Peninsula, jutting out into the Arabian Gulf. Its houses sit beneath vertiginous 2,000m rocks walls, serrated by fjords that offer super diving and dhow trips on the emerald water. It's becoming an adrenaline playground with canyoning, mountain biking and microlighting. You can even arrive in its luxury resort by paraglider; just one more surprise in an amazingly diverse country.
Best time to be there
Oman's climate differs from one area to another. It is hot and humid in the coastal areas in the summer between May and August, while it is hot and dry in the interior with the exception of the higher mountains, which enjoy a moderate climate round the year. The climate is best from September through to April.
Muscat (British Airways - daily: Oman Air - daily)
7 hrs 50 minutes direct
GMT +4 hours
Required - obtainable in advance or on arrival
No mandatory vaccinations
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
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Below are some of our suggested places to stay:
Our recent awards
We particularly appreciated the friendly staff, who got the professional/casual balance just right; the magnificent breakfast spread; the wafts of frankincense; the sunsets; the sheer relaxation provided by the spa; the library; the open fire; the gym that made room for breakfast and, not least, the alcohol licence!
- JD, London