Why Oman?

I will admit, that the desire to visit Oman was probably rooted in reading James Rollins' Sandstorm. The place sounded so mystical and remote and beautiful. When it came time to booking a trip, it was between Syria and Oman. Since Syria was so close to Jordan and we had visited that region a few years back, Oman might be more different than what we had experienced in the past. Besides, the photos of the sand disappearing into the ocean disappearing into the sky on the Hotel Chedi in Muscat, Oman looked like something I really needed in a vacation.

Many people ask me where in the world is Oman? It is next to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and across the water from from Iran. I looked this up when I came home. I tried to figure out some of the places we went on google maps, but Wahiba Sands and the Sharqiya region kept throwing me into Saudi Arabia, so we are not much help here geographically. We relied heavily on a hired driver and tour guide through Abercrombie and Kent and he was amazing and fantastic and wonderful.

Selecting a Tour Company

We worked with Abercrombie and Kent (A&K) to design our visit and handle all of the details once we arrived. Normally, we travel on our own without an Road Trip Spring 2009, but for so far away, we decided a rental car and winging it was probably not a good idea. We would let the experts handle it. I went with A&K based off of our good experience with them when we climbed Kilimanjaro, and I trust them as doing a first rate job, second to none.

We are glad we went with A&K, because they did the footwork to find me a place that had horses, got us a driver/guide that was top notch, allowed me to help plan the parts I wanted to be involved in, like selecting a hotel and making a list of highlights to see, but then they did all the parts I did not want to do. All we had to do was get our visas and land in the airport. The next time I would have to worry about being responsible would be when they driver/guide waved to us as we lined up for our airline to leave the country. They even got us tickets to go to the executive lounge at the airport to wait for our flight. I was able to shower, and we had dinner and free wifi and internet hookup. They also have nap rooms. It was wonderful.

What to Do


Seeing the old city of Muscat was important on our list, and seeing some forts and museums was also a priority. We did an early morning trip out to the Grand Mosque which is an unforgettable experience. We used the Chedi Hotel in Muscat as the single place to stay during our trip.


Grand Mosque, Muscat

Chedi Hotel, Muscat

Roads to Jabrin

There is a string of roads that link Muscat to Jabrin Castle that seems to be a common trip for many to take. On the way to Jabrin Castle we stopped at the Old Village of Birkat Al-Mouz and wandered around this abandoned village in an oasis in the desert. It was amazing. Jabrin Castle was also worth the destination trip, albeit a long day as we also stopped in Nizwa, but there was nothing that we did that we would have left off the itinerary. If we had had another day or two, we would consider staying a night out in the area and spending a little more time at the castle and the area before coming back to Muscat.

We were able to take day trips from Muscat out to Birkat Al-Mouz, Oman, Nizwa and Jabrin Castle and back in one day. Another day we traveled to Wahiba Sands and back in time to catch our late night flight. Local activities like kayaking and snorkeling as well as local sites and beach time at the hotel overlowed our short time in Oman.


Birkat Al-Mouz

Jabrin Castle


The Sea

We got to bob in the sea outside the hotel in the evening, but enjoyed the pool a little more. Our best ocean time was a morning of kayaking and snorkeling.

The Sand

We only had three full days, so we had to be selective on what we wanted to do. There is an option to camp out in the desert, where they have set up places to stay, like little huts, and then you can ride a camel while out there. This would have taken two days, which would have been great for someone who had more time. We opted to drive out for the day to Wahiba Sands and back, which I am glad we did.

The Animals

I also requested to be able to see or interact with some Arabian horses while there, even got a private riding lesson with a horse named Mina.

Dune Riding

Horseback Riding



Our Favorites

It is hard to pick a favorite part of the trip. Bill always votes for the tahini or baba ganoush. I can't blame him. The breakfast buffet at the Chedi was a blessing every morning and we do believe that the food is part of the experience.

We both loved stopping at the Old Village of Birkat Al-Mouz, which was not on the list but was a wonderful surprise, The trip out to Wahiba Sands was everything I wanted Oman to be. I was very resistant to doing this trip as it sounded "yahoo", but it was a lot of fun. I loved meeting a family, doing photography, seeing the desert the way I dreamed it would be, and seeing "the boys have their fun".

We hope that whether you are vacationing in front of your computer screen or actually flying out to visit Oman, you will find something interesting or useful from our experiences that we share.