12 Day Deserts & Oases of Oman

Women Only

Max group 12

Lifetime Deposit

Oman. The Pearl of Arabia. For some weird reason, this little jewel is head-scratchingly off the beaten path.  It is our mission on this twelve day journey to show you why those ‘other’ tourists who head to Dubai are making a very bad mistake when they leave this wonderful little country off their itineraries.

Oman isn’t just a desert outpost with little more than sand dunes to explore, but a profoundly enriching cultural place.

From sleeping beneath a quilt of stars at a Bedouin camp with home comforts, to haggling with the best of them at local markets, no stone will be left unturned. 

While everyone else is missing out at the concrete jungles nearby, you’ll be on a mission to see exactly why this Middle Eastern country is slowly but surely making its way onto the world tourism scene. Come visit Oman before everyone else figures out just how stunning it truly is.

Highlights

Go Spice shopping in Mutrah Souq with a chef

Enjoy Lunch in a Mountain village near Nizwa

Roam beneath the palms of desert framed Oases

Watch the Sunset from the Wahabi Sand Dunes

Explore Oman’s perfume trail of Rose Water and Frankincense

Swim in the Arabian Sea just outside your seaside bungalow

Trip Details

Price

$6,577 AUD (per person twin share)

  • $1,500 AUD deposit.
  • 2-week cooling-off period applies.
  • Lifetime Deposit. If you need to cancel, your deposit is transferable to other trips.
  • Twin Share: we’ll match you with a roomie if you’re travelling solo.
  • Private supplement available: $1,560 AUD, max 2 spots
  • Tip Kitty: $160 USD

Please refer to our payment terms in the FAQs.


Trip length

12 days, 11 nights


Dates

Starts: Muscat,  4 February 2024

Finishes: Salalah, 15 February 2024


Meeting point

Hotel Swiss Belinn, Muscat


Ending point

Souly Eco Lodge, Salalah


Group size

Maximum 12


Participation requirements

Please see our “Is this trip right for you?” section under the Participation Tab.


Included

  • Meals: 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 11 dinners
  • Transport: 1 domestic flight, 6 days private mini bus transportation,  6 days 4WD convoy (3 Patchies + Driver per vehicle).
  • 11 nights boutique accommodation
  • A top-rated and English-speaking tour leader
  • All listed activities and more!

Not included

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Any visas required
  • Late check-outs at hotels
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinks with included lunches and dinners
  • Tip kitty $160 USD pp. Note: as Aussies and Kiwis, we are not used to tipping! However, guide, driver and tipping in restaurants is customary in Oman.
  • Personal expenditure

Click the tabs to find out more
Day 1: Arrive in Muscat

Welcome to the Sultanate of Oman! The adventure is just beginning but we’ve arranged for pick up and transfer directly from the airport to your hotel. No need to worry about visas as our team will handle everything while you kick back with refreshments in the lounge. Now, when does that ever happen? Ooh la la! 

Unpack your bags, exhale, and settle in at your hotel. Tonight you’ll meet the other like-minded women, your fellow Patchies, who took the plunge for this one-of-a-kind trip to the Arabian Peninsula. 

Accommodation: Hotel Swiss Belinn (or similar)
Included: Dinner

Day 2: Exploring Muscat

We know how magical it can be to explore a popular tourist sight without the throngs of other visitors. That’s why we’ve arranged for you to visit the largest mosque in Oman, right when it opens! Your group will have the utter majesty of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque with star-reaching minarets (almost) to yourselves.

There’s no better way to experience a culture than through your tastebuds! This afternoon, you’re off to the Mutrah Souq where you’ll sift through the market stalls with your guide, collecting ingredients for a unique souq-to-plate cooking experience. Get an in-depth view of what it’s like to shop in these serpentine alleyways. For locals, this is the everyday! 

There’s no doubt you’ll be wanting to recreate these dishes for friends back home so be sure to grab a set of  spices at the souq for yourself. 

Accommodation: Hotel Swiss Belinn (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 3: History of Oman

We hope you packed some comfy shoes! Today is another full day of uncovering Oman’s rich history and heritage, the perfect informational base to set the tone for the rest of your trip. The Omani National Museum and Heritage Gallery are the perfect duo to get started, both telling the intricate story of the country’s history that dates back to prehistoric times. 

Afterwards you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Sidab Women’s Association, a local all-female collective of textile artists – a unique organisation for the country. Head back to your hotel afterwards to rest before you travel deeper into Oman’s interior tomorrow. 

Accommodation: Hotel Swiss Belinn (or similar)
Included: Breakfast

Day 4: Drive to Nizwa

Today you’ll exchange the mini bus for a small fleet of 4WDs. Yep! The adventure really starts now, as you drive southwest through the countryside to the Nizwa Oasis. Tiny pockets of palms punctuate the desert and you’ll almost be able to feel the cool pools of water on your desert-parched skin. With your imagination now running wild, take to the town with your guide to explore the sprawling eight-mile long oasis.

Next, it’s time to indulge in a sweet treat! Commonly served at momentous affairs, halwa is soft, nutty and melt-in-your-mouth confectionery. Accommodations this evening are at a charming, traditional inn. Thick teak doors, towering fronds, a plunge pool and iconic mud-brick architecture make it extra special.

Accommodation: Bustan Inn (or similar)
Included: Breakfast & Dinner

What is Halva?

Halwa, or halva, is a sweet staple of Arabic cuisine and has many iterations that stretch as far away as India. Omani halwa is made from a distinctive mixture of rose water, sugar, ghee and spices like saffron or cardamom. The texture is similar to a thick pudding and is typically paired with qahwa, Arabic coffee.  You’ll want to bring some home with you, if you can make it through the entire trip without eating it first! 

 

Day 5: Nizwa Oases

Did you know that Oman has mountains that reach up to over 3,000 metres? Jebel Shams, or Sun Mountain as it translates, is the tallest.The views from the range are the reason why you’re here today. The collage of craggy canyons and valleys extending to the horizon rivals the Grand Canyon! Along the way are painstakingly preserved forts and castles, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bahla Fort.

The true star of the show this afternoon, though? Lunch that’s been made with love by a local family in the ancient mountain village they call home.

Accommodation: Bustan Inn (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 6: Nizwa Livestock Market

Today is a look into the real Oman, well away from city life, and we’ve got a surprise up our sleeves! You’ll start the day off at Nizwa Souq, the oldest market in Oman where the sights, sounds and smells will swirl into a captivating assault on the senses.

We’ve arranged for your arrival at the perfect time because the evocative Nizwa Livestock Market is only open once a week. Right here, you’ll be confronted with local culture and traditional life that is both intoxicating and maybe even a bit startling. This is very much a male dominated nook of the world and you’ll come face to face with this fact quickly; the few women you’ll see will most likely be wearing a burqa, covered almost completely from head to toe.

Then, it’s time to drive to Jabal Akhdar where you’ll be spending the night in the mountains in a hotel with an unexpected Vegas-like style.

Accommodation: Grand Jabal Akhdar Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 7: Jabal Akhdar

You’re over halfway through the trip but it’s really just getting started! There’s still so much of this remarkable country to see. Today you’ll learn exactly why Jabal Akhdar is known as the “Green Mountain”. 

Despite being surrounded by a vast desert, you’re in for a surprise at this oasis that is famous for its terraced farms and pomegranate orchards. Sounds like Eden, right? Follow your guide through the emerald countryside cradled between otherwise thirsty and barren landscape as you learn about the humble villages and their sweet-smelling rose plantations. You’ll have the chance to meet the farmers themselves and see how they extract and distil their famous rosewater. 

Accommodation: Grand Jabal Akhdar Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 8: Wahiba Sands

It’s day eight and you’re about to see the lush gardens of Jabal Akhdar transform into gargantuan peaks of ochre sand.

After breakfast you’ll depart for Wahiba Sands, an endless sea of dunes with Bedouin communities hidden within.

Tonight we’ll pull out all the stops with a traditional Omani Shuwa dinner but first climb the towering dunes to watch the sun dip into the horizon – a final farewell to the day, while your dinner itself is sizzling away in an earthen stove beneath the sand. Watch as your private chef quite literally pulls your meal from underground, preparing it beneath an uninterrupted sky of stars. Soon you’ll be dining à la desert. Keep your eyes peeled for meteorites, Oman is famous for them!

Accommodation: Arabian Oryx Camp (or similar)
Included: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Day 9: Bimmah Sinkhole

We won’t sugar coat it, today’s drive is a long one! But with six hours back to Muscat there’s bound to be some incredible stops along the way and this is the perfect time to reflect on your trip thus far while watching the desert scenery sprawl into the distance out your window. 

You’ll divvy up the journey with breaks at some of Oman’s most revered natural wonders. Wadi Tiwi and the Bimmah Sinkhole are a stark contrast to your night in the middle of the desert. You’ll have time to cool off by wading in the refreshing water beneath a canopy of dense palms, the best way to break up the long drive ride.

Today will feel lengthy but you’re well on your way to the most relaxing part of the entire trip and some much needed R&R. 

Accommodation: Swiss Belinn Hotel (or similar)
Included: Breakfast

So what exactly is a wadi?

Wadi is a term often used to describe a valley or canyon found in the Middle East that collects water during the rainy season, creating a beautiful oasis-like effect in an otherwise dry and desolate landscape. Wadis are different from oases in that they are seasonal and found specifically along a riverbed, whereas an oasis is isolated within the desert itself and typically nourished by a year-round spring.

Day 10: Salalah

There will be fond farewells with your trip leader this morning before you take a short flight to the coastal city of Salalah, Oman’s beach paradise. On arrival you’ll be met by a specialist regional guide who will be taking care of the group from here.

Salalah isn’t just famous for its blue waters and fun-in-the-sun vibe, it’s also home to the Nabi Ayoub Tomb, the presumed final resting place of the Prophet Job and as such, an important religious site for both Christians and Muslims.

You’ll see both by touring the burial site before spending the rest of your day relaxing, swimming, and taking in the unique rocky coastline that frames Mughsail Beach.

We’ve saved the best for last as far as accommodation goes and you’ll be amazed by the bungalow vibes of your eco lodge tonight. Who knew you had to go all the way to Oman to live like a queen?

Accommodation: Souly Eco Lodge (or similar)
Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 11: Salalah Grand Mosque

It’s your last full day in the beautiful Sultanate of Oman. What better way to celebrate the conclusion of the trip than a little beach time?

But it wouldn’t be a Patch Adventures day without a touch of excitement first! You’ll explore Salalah’s Grand Mosque and central Souq alongside your local guide who knows the ins-and-outs of the twists and turns. They know the local haggling customs like the back of their hand too, so tap into those skills and snag a bargain or two.

If you’re not afraid of a bit of excess baggage, you could pick up a Mandoo – a traditional wooden chest with intricately detailed metal work.

Tonight take the time to swap stories and pictures with your newfound gal pals over a final Omani dinner by the ocean.

Accommodation: Souly Eco Lodge (or similar)
Included: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 12: Farewell Friends

And that is that… tuck in to one last breakfast before you say a sad farewell to Oman, the camels and your fellow Patchies.

Salalah has an international airport and your transfer is included, no matter when you depart. So, if you want to spend a couple of extra nights, we will happily organise that for you.

Included: Breakfast

Trip Map
The Essential Info

Level 1 or Easy

So long as you have a general level of health and fitness, you’ll be fine. There’s no specific exercise planned for this trip, but there will be days where you’ll be walking and spending a lot of time on your feet. Daily activities may include walking on uneven ground and there’ll be 6 days where your transport is 4WD, of which you’ll need to be able to get in and out of. 

All activities are optional, meaning that if you don’t feel like it, you can skip it but it will be impossible to enjoy your trip if you’re not able to do a walking tour for a full afternoon. Unfortunately this tour cannot accommodate people requiring walking aids.

Frequently Asked Questions

Prior to the payment of your full balance, the final price may change if there is significant variation in the AUD:USD exchange rate. Our trip pricing is determined by what the exchange rates are at the time of publishing the trip.

The pricing on this trip is based on an exchange rate of 1 AUD:0.67 USD.

A deposit of $1,500 is required to hold your spot. Payment can be made by credit card (fees apply) or bank deposit.

There is a cooling-off period of 2 weeks. (Applicable to all bookings made 110 days in advance.)

We have implemented a ‘lifetime deposit’ guarantee. Deposits are not refundable, but they are transferable at any time, right up until the first day of the trip.

The final balance of the trip is required 95 days in advance of the departure date. Our suppliers require upfront payment well in advance to guarantee availability.

Please refer to the full terms and conditions for further information.

This is the most frequently asked question we get!

Nearly everyone is in their 50s and 60s, with some people above and below (but of course, everyone is welcome!)

Most Patchies come alone and are matched with a room-mate. Remember, you don’t need to pay for a single supplement if you come solo. We will place you with a similarly-aged roommate.

The typical Patchie has travelled a LOT, is a well-seasoned adventurer, and is not easily thrown by small things. However, many Patchies tell us that this is their first ever group tour. Many of our guests have avoided tours to this point as they’re not attracted to being herded around in large groups.

Oh, and one last thing:

Patchies are warm, generous, and kind. We knew it would be like this, but we weren’t expecting it to be *quite* like this. We’re so blessed as a business to have the customers we do; we consider ourselves to be some of the luckiest people in the world.

Codeshare flights to Bangkok, then Oman Air flies directly to Muscat.

 

Salalah has international departures (including Oman Air), or fly domestically (Salalah to Muscat) and connect with your international departure. Another common flight route is via Dubai.

 

A 14-day visa-on-arrival to Oman (no charge) is available for Australians and New Zealanders.

Note: This trip is only 12 days, so we recommend extending your time in Oman by no more than 1 extra night. Any longer and your will need to monitor the timing of your arrival and departure flights. If you would like to maximise your time in Oman, you may choose to apply online for a 30-day e-visa. It is a simple process and costs approximately $75 AUD.

Airfares are not included.

Solo travellers will be matched with a room-mate. Of course, if you prefer to have your own space, you can reserve the private room supplement.

Please contact us for more information.

Airport transfers are included. You can plan to arrive at any time, but we recommend arriving in the morning to give yourself time to settle in.

Oman is a conservative country and we recommend wearing loose-fitting clothes that cover your shoulders and your knees. Long dresses or skirts are perfect as you’ll need to have your legs and arms completely covered, with a light shawl to cover your hair, to enter mosques. For swimming, we recommend a Rashie top and longer-leg board shorts. Water sports shoes or trekking sandals are really handy for swimming in sinkholes.

In the unlikely event of a health or security related incident during a trip, we’ve engaged a local partner to assist. From our experience, there is not one framework that fits all, and every incident is unique and requires a different approach. With all trips, your guides are your day-to-day support. While behind the scenes, there is an active line of communication – between your guide, the on-ground support team, and Australian Ops.

Have more burning questions?

Check Out Our Other Trips!