Hampshire Hikes & Historical Sites
Bring intriguing coastal trails and history alive in South Hampshire
Experience the natural delights and golden desert landscapes, camp overnight in the Wahiba Sands and explore Nizwa, one of the oldest cities in Oman
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 29400
Full day walks with moderate amounts of ascent and descent. The paths are mostly good, but there may be some steep and rough ground. Walks will last up to 6 hours and could involve as much as 750m of ascent and descent. Some walks will be less demanding. Some days of this holiday will be dedicated solely to sightseeing (or include an element of sightseeing). To enhance your experience, a knowledgeable local guide will accompany your small group for part (or the majority) of the holiday.
In Muscat, Oman’s coastal capital, which sits scenically wedged between the mountains and sea, we’ll discover a world of tradition as we meander through the old souk, see the Sultan’s Palace and visit the Grand Mosque. Modern city architecture converges with the historic aspects of the city.
We follow the coastline southwards to Wadi Shab, where wadi (valley) walks take us along riverbeds, some running with water, and through narrow gorges surrounded by plantations, flora and fauna. Our stay on the coast allows us to dip our toes in the Arabian Sea.
The dunes of the majestic Wahiba Sands reach from the eastern Hajar Mountains to the Arabian Sea offering a landscape rich in colour and starlit skies, home to Bedouins for centuries. From our desert camp we’ll explore in 4x4 vehicles, including some dune bashing, see camel trains, watch the sun set and see the dunes change colour with hues of red, oranges and browns in the most breathtaking of surroundings. We overnight here, enjoying traditional Bedouin dishes and hospitality.
In the Hajar mountain range we’ll explore the impressive Jebel Akhdar Mountain, rich with fruit orchards, here the cooler mountain air creates a verdant landscape. We’ll discover small villages, lush oases, an ancient necropolis as well as green hills and orchards. Wadi Ghul, the Grand Canyon of Arabia and Jebal Shams, the highest and most impressive of mountains in the region await.
In Nizwa, we’ll spend time exploring the majestic fort with its 360 degree citadel tower, discover the interesting museum, visit the weekly market and wander the small and fascinating streets of the old town.
Returning to Muscat, we have time to relax and enjoy our hotel, before returning to the UK.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
Travelling on a comfortable day flight, we arrive into Muscat, Oman's capital, and transfer to our hotel for check in and dinner at the hotel
Transfer Time = 30m
After breakfast, we explore Muscat visiting the Grande Mosque (dress code applies), see the Sultan's Palace flanked by the 16th century forts of Jalali and Mirani and glimpse the old town and see the fish market, Muttrah Souq which is located on the Corniche, and visit the National Museum. Later this afternoon, we'll transfer to the pier to take a sunset cruise along the coastline in a traditional style Dhow., before dinner at a local restaurant.
We leave Muscat this morning (in 4x4 vehicles) travelling mostly along the coast road, via the Quriynt Dam, to Wadi Al Arbyeen, a quiet place that lends itself for a walk (approx 1 hour) past isolated villages on the river banks. We arrive at our next accommodation with time for lunch (included) before an afternoon exploration of Wadi Tiwi, a spectacular deep and narrow gorge cut into the mountains. Our walk (approx. 1 hour) takes in emerald pools, date and banana plantations and gurgling falaj (or springs). We return to our accommodation, which has its own beachfront, for dinner and overnight.
We travel slightly further south this morning to the city of Sur, famous for its Dhow building. The shipyards still function today and we may be lucky to see dhows being built by hand as we visit. After time for lunch, we leave the coast behind and head inland to the magnificent desert of Wahiba Sands, whose dunes cover an area of over 200kms. Bedouin desert camps come into view as we travel and the dunes change colour as the sun sets, with hues of reds, oranges and browns and are a spectacular sight to see. After exploring the dunes in our 4x4, dune bashing, we overnight at the camp enjoying traditional Bedouin cuisine and hospitality.
After exploring the dunes some more this morning, and having our simple Bedouin breakfast, we leave the desert for the historical capital of Oman, the city of Nizwa. En route we walk around Idra Souq (or market) and we wander through the abandoned old village of Birkt Al Mauz, (walk of approx. 30 minutes) which lies in the foothills of Jabal Akhdar, in lush plantations of dates irrigated by the falaj system. We also visit some mysterious beehive tombs, a neocropolis, approximately 4000-5000 years old, before continuing to Nizwa. We have dinner at a local restaurant this evening.
Today is a day to explore Jebel Akhdar, or Green Mountain. Here the cooler mountain air and greater rainfall creates a verdant landscape in the Hajar mountian range. Our hike will take approx. 3.5-4 hours (with opt out points) at higher altitude from the village of Al Aqur to Sayq following old mountain paths which link villages showcasing terraced farms, ancient irrigation systems and with wonderful views over Wadi Muhaydin. The changing seasons are clearly seen in the mountain villages with the variety of crops and fruits. Today's walk can be described as one of the best in Oman. We enjoy dinner at a local restaurant again this evening.
We take our transport today and head out after breakfast for Jebal Shams and see Oman's highest mountain at just over 3000m. Our walk from the village of Al Hamra takes us along the W6a route for approx 3 hours where we then take transport up to the mountain peak. We'll see the village of Misfah, built into the side of the mountain and see Wadi Gul, known as the Grand canyon of Arabia and walk around the plantations of date palms before we make our way back to Nizwa.
We visit Nizwa town and its souq - an excellent local market for souvenir shopping - this morning before exploring the fort with its 360 degree citadel tower. The fort's museum has an interesting timeline comparing the history of Oman and the Middle East with the rest of the world. After time for lunch, we take our 4x4 vehicles and driver to the impressive jabreen Castle, built by the Yaruba dynasty iman, Bil'arab bin Sultan, in the 17th century.
We leave the desert town of Nizwa to make our way back to Muscat, where we arrive in time to enjoy the hotel facilities, perhaps go to the beach or some last minute souvenir shopping in the souk. We enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant this evening.
With a relaxed morning, perhaps with time for a dip in the hotel pool or a late breakfast, we make our way to Muscat'sInternational airport for our flight back to the UK. Again, taking advantage of a day flight, we arrive back into London with time to connect home.
Departure dates for your selected tour
3rd Nov 2021 - 12th Nov 2021 (9 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
The Hotel Muscat Holiday offers rooms with a flat-screen TV, air-conditioning, minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, and a private bathroom with a hairdryer and toiletries. There is an outdoor swimming pool, coffee shop, bar, restaurant and a gym. The hotel offers wifi.
Situated on the coast overlooking the Sea of Oman and with the Hajar Mountains as a backdrop, the Wadi Shaab Resort has a private beach, an outdoor pool, and complimentary wifi in all areas. All rooms are ensuite (with shower) and have TV, mini-fridge, climate control, and hairdryer. Rooms are in individual buildings throughout the resort and there is a restaurant in the grounds, which overlooks the sea
The Sama Al Wasil camp is in the heart of Wahiba Sands and is an exciting experience. Surrounded by sand dunes all around it gives the feeling of remoteness from the outside world.Accommodation consists of simple but comfortable chalets with en suite facilities (shower only), air conditioning, towels, outside and seating area. You will find a shared lounge to retreat to after a dinner, which is cooked onsite. Eating under the stars is a great experience!
The Hotel Falaj Daris is located on the edge of the city of Nizwa, Oman's historical capital. All 55 rooms are en suite with mini bar, in room safe, wi-fi, climate control, and satellite TV. Hairdryers are available on request. Rooms can be offered as twin bedded or double. Hotel facilities include a multi-cuisine restaurant, bar and a swimming pool and terrace. Perfect after a day of walking and sightseeing!
The Crowne Plaza Muscat is located in the Qurum quarter of Muscat, overlooking the Gulf of Oman. The hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre, restaurants, bars and access to a beach. All rooms are en suite with a mini-bar, climate control, hairdryer, kettle, in room safe and wi-fi.
This is a Grade 5/SS holiday and features some full and half day walks with generally moderate amounts of ascent and descent. The paths are mostly good, but there will be some steep, uneven. stony and rough ground as we walk along wadis (dry river beds), cross open country and follow Bedouin paths along the hillsides. Some days will be dedicated solely to sightseeing or include an element of sightseeing, and our transfers between centres will include walks and activities where possible. Generally we’ll walk between 3 hours- 5 hours a day, up to 12kms (8 miles) and an ascent/descent up to 400m. While some walks appear shorter than others, it is the weather and terrain that determines the grade. If you usually walk with poles and find them useful, they may come in handy on this holiday, so bring them with you. This holiday offers a more adventurous itinerary, off the beaten track, exploring lesser known corners. Local events may require amendments to the programme, sometime at short notice.
Oman is such a beautiful country and this holiday allows you to appreciate its stunning natural diversity. We travel across the flat desert and up to the high mountains, then into the “Sands” and on to the Indian Ocean, covering a huge variety of terrain. There's so much to experience on this holiday including striking scenery, historic sites, traditional villages and the wonder of the desert and mountains. Much of our walking is done at higher altitudes where the air is slightly cooler, and also along coastal paths with cooling breezes, but days when we walk through the wadis, shade may be at a minimum. We have carefully designed the walking programme to make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, but have not included a rest day. Should you wish to take a day off from the group arrangements, you are free to do so where possible.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
As you are probably already aware, tipping or “backsheesh” is a way of life in the Middle East. In order to take the hassle out of tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff & to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by Ramblers Walking Holidays plus a contribution from you, which your leader will collect during the holiday. We suggest an amount of £25-£30 per person for this. A small tip is usually required for the use of toilets and any drinks and meals you purchase yourself.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
To enhance your experience, as well as your tour leader, each holiday will be accompanied by a well qualified and knowledgeable English-speaking local guide.
We travel from London to Muscat with Oman Air on convenient day flights.
The transfer from Muscat airport to our hotel in Muscat is by road and takes approximately 30 minutes.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Passport Information for Oman
British nationals are required to obtain a visa prior to travelling to Oman. Visas are not available on arrival.
Your passport should have at least six months' validity remaining on your date of entry to Oman. You must apply for your e-visa on-line before you travel via the Royal Oman Police website. The website address is https://evisa.rop.gov.om/ Before you apply for your visa, click on the link Know your Visa Type. Click the button "Visit Unsponsored visas" to view the visa types available.
For the purpose of this holiday, you can click number 26, Tourist Visit Visa, then the button that states "Sub-Type" Here you are offered visa codes for different lengths of stay. This holiday is 10 days and British nationals are category G1, so you can apply for a 26A type visa. If you are intending on arriving into Oman before the tour starts or staying on after the tour finishes, you will need to apply for a visa with a longer validity. The current cost for a 10D visa is OMR5.
If you hold another passport, other than a United Kingdom passport, please refer to the website for further details.
All breakfasts and dinners are included in the holiday cost, plus one lunch. Dinners are taken in a mix of our hotels, local restaurants and at the desert camp. The food is generally of excellent standard. You will have plenty of chance to sample local dishes. Lunches that aren't included are at your own expense. Lunches may be a combination of restaurant meals or picnics depending on the day's activities. Your leader will give you more information at your daily briefings.
Alcohol is only available in hotels in Oman. You will not find local bars or cafes serving alcohol, so any after dinner socialising is generally done in hotel bars. Due to this, as in other Middle Eastern countries, you will find alcohol prices more expensive than in the UK
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Conservative Dress in Oman
Oman is a conservative country, and foreigners are received more respectfully when they dress modestly.
In general, and especially at religious sites, men should wear long trousers, with shoulders and upper arms covered, while ladies should cover the nape of their necks and should wear trousers or below the knee skirts. Women may want to bring a large headscarf to completely cover their head when visiting mosques and it can also be very useful in a sandstorm.
Dressing with local sensibilities in mind will allow you to be received more respectfully. Your leader will advise you in briefings if you will be visiting religious sites.
Some prescribed and over the counter medicines that are available in the UK are banned substances in Oman. If you are travelling to Oman with prescription drugs, you should carry a copy of the prescription. If you have any queries, you are advised to check well in advance with Oman's Ministry of Health. Their website is www.moh.gov.om
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
Maps, Guidebooks & More
• Oman; Bradt Travel Guide: Diane Darke: Bradt Travel Guides
• Oman, UAE and the Arabian Peninsula; Lonely Planet Guide: Jenny Walker: Lonely Planet Publications
• Oman, Under Arabian Skies: Rory Patrick Allen: Vanguard Press
• Oman - Culture Smart! The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture: Simone Nowell: Kuperard Publications
The Map Shop
If you cannot find the maps or books locally we recommend:
The Map Shop
5 High Street
Upton upon Severn, Worcs
If you key many of the local places mentioned in this holiday fact sheet into YouTube, you will find a vast array of spectacular footage of the area.
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Oman
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Oman.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
Hepatitis A immunisation is recommended.
You may also wish to consider immunisation against Tetanus, Rabies, Hepatitus B and Typhoid.
There is a low to no risk of malaria in Oman. Please seek advice from your doctor or travel clinic.
Diarrhoea & Boiled Water
Don’t forget to exercise caution with what you eat to avoid upset stomachs and stay away from unpeeled fruit and vegetables, salad and do not have ice in your drinks. Hot, fresh cooked food, where possible, is best.
Hand washing facilities may be poor or unavailable when travelling, we therefore strongly advise you to carry antibacterial sanitizing gel and / or hand wipes at all times and use to them regularly.
Drinking or cleaning teeth in un-boiled water is not recommended. Bottled pure water is inexpensive and widely available in shops, at hotels, and on the coach. Make sure you only buy sealed bottles.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
It is a condition of booking with Ramblers Walking Holidays that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the trip, including all optional activities.
Your travel insurance policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation. Please ensure your policy covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are walking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover are not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Looking for travel insurance cover?
If you have not already arranged cover, please visit SunWorld who offer travel insurance.
SunWorld policies include cover for COVID-19, subject to applicable terms and conditions.
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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