Programme details:

A 10-day, 10-night programme, introducing you to the Historic City of Salalah, the Bedouin people that live on the coast, in the deserts and the mountains of this ancient region. This is the source of Frankincense and the start of the Frankincense Trade route that made the area so prosperous 5000 years ago and you will see the Frankincense trees that survive today.

Day 1 - Sat - Arrival at Salalah Airport

Welcome and assistance at midday. You will be taken to your hotel where you may relax after your long flight via Muscat. You have the rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight at the 5* Hilton Salalah or equivalent.

Day 2 - Sun - Meet the Coastal Fishing people

Breakfast at the hotel.

Drive to Hasik, the Eastern part of Salalah. You will meet local fishermen, board a traditional Omani dhow with them and cruise into the spectacular Indian Ocean. You will go fishing with these local people and spend a day with them, which will give you the opportunity to listen to their stories and learn more about their history, their lives and beliefs. Stop for swim and snorkel and witness the marine life of this serene area.

In the evening, you will have dinner with local fishermen on the beach.

Overnight at the Hasik Camp on the beach.

Day 3 - Mon - Meet the Qara Mountain Bedouin

Breakfast at the camp.

Today we drive 180kms to Qara Mountain, to meet the local Mountain Bedouin. We have lunch with them and listen to stories about their lifestyle and history. We then drive to the rocky desert, which is the home of the Frankincense trees and the basis of the ancient trade. We visit some caves where the Bedouin used to store their frankincense. You will get a good insight into this ancient heritage

We then have dinner with local people, which will give you a chance to learn more about their ways and beliefs.

Overnight at a Bedouin style camp.

Days 4 - Tues - The Bedouin of the Empty Quarter

Breakfast at the camp

Drive 200 kms to the Rub Al Khali or Empty Quarter, occupies south western region of Oman and is considered the largest sandy desert in the world. The sands are the traditional homes of the nomads and the Bedouins, so it is common to see them moving through the desert with their camels.

We will make contact with the Bedouin and get time with them to discover and get a brief introduction to their culture and lifestyle.

Overnight at the Empty Quarter camp

Day 5 - Wed - Empty Quarter and return to Salalah

Breakfast at the camp

Take an interesting drive 270 kms back to Salalah, seeing many things along the way and discovering more of this fascinating area. Check back in to hotel and relax.

Overnight at 5* Hilton Salalah Hotel or equivalent.

Day 6 - Thu - Leisure day

Spend a day at leisure at the hotel, just enjoying the superb facilities of this 5* hotel and its beach.

Overnight at 5* Hilton Salalah Hotel or equivalent.

Day 7 - Fri - Salalah City visit (1530-1800)

Breakfast at the hotel and morning at leisure.

In the afternoon, we will visit Salalah: Al-Baleed archeological Museum, Al-Husn Traditional Market, Fish Market, Gold Market, glimpse view of his majesty summer resident, Prophet Saleh's camel sacred footprint area, Prophet Imran's Tomb, Coconut and Banana Farms & Stalls etc.

Visit the Salalah Museum. The Museum has exhibits of photographs by Wilfred Thesiger, who set off on his first crossing of the Empty Quarter from Salalah in 1946. There is also an interesting display including tablets bearing Himarytic script from the ancient frankincense port of Sumhuram, model dhows, traditional fishing tackles, regional costumes, domestic items, jewelry & coins dating back to the Middle Ages.
The next stop is at the Luban Souq. Visit the old Luban Souq to discover the land of frankincense and legend of Salalah's untold riches. The first century Greek writer, Plinis the Elder claimed that "control of the Frankincense trade had made the Southern Arabians the richest people on earth". Frankincense was central to many religious practices from nations of all faiths. It was used by historical figures including Queen Hatepsut, King Solomon and Emperor Nero and Tutankhaman. Continue the trip with a visit to the old silver & gold souq and the traditional Municipal market. Also visit the Shanfari Mosque and Prophet Saleh's sacred Footprint. Pass by the Al Husn Palace and souq.

Overnight at 5* Hilton Salalah Hotel or equivalent

Day 8 - Sat - East of Salalah

Visit the village of Taqah, Queen Sheba's Palace, Mirbat (Old capital of Dhofar), Wadi Darbat, Samharam (Khor ruri), Tawi Atyar sinkhole & Jabal Samhan.

Taqah is an old town with an interesting fort and some typical old burial site of Her Majesty, the mother of His majesty Sultan Qaboos located in Taqah. On the beach, you will still be able to find old boat coconut fibers instead of nails. Taqah is famous for sardines, which are sun dried and used as cattle fertilizers. Many of Taqah's inhabitants are traditionally fishermen. Nearby Taqah is a limestone quarry, which provides many of the builds for construction.

Mirbat is the old capital of Dhofar the old castle of Mirbat stand for the world involving conventional attack between Dhofar rebellions and BATT (British Army Training Team) in 1972.There are many tombstones, graveyard and beautiful Yemeni style Mosque.

Wadi Darbat is a natural park with majestic views of waterfalls, lakes and green vegetation. There is a 100 meter waterfall and many caves located. The caves were used by the shepherds as shelter and one can see colored paintings of animals on the cave walls.

Visit to ancient Samharam port whose history dates back to 3000 B.C. Ancient Himyan sculptures can still be seen on the walls. Visit the ruins of Queen Sheba's Castle and the security towers which have an influence of the Portuguese rule.

The Tawi Atyar sinkhole is one of the largest in the world about 975000 m3. It is 130-150 meters in diameter 211 meters deep and could accommodate a multi stories building of 70 floors. It is located to the east of Salalah.

Jabal Samhan, proposed as a protected area in 1986, was declared a Nature Reserve by Royal Decree in June 1997. A major component of the justification for the declaration was the presence of leopard. The reserve comprises the northeastern part of the limestone mountain range of Dhofar, called Jabal Samhan. The mountain rises to 2,100 m and consists of a rolling plateau dissected by deep gorges that fall 500-1,000 m below. Conditions are generally hyper arid with low, largely irregular, rainfall. The plateau is sparsely vegetated with Acacia spp., Commiphora spp. and frankincense (Boswellia sacra) being the most common tree species. The deep gorges are very dry but there are freshwater seepages that are the source of water for most animals.

Overnight at 5* Hilton Salalah Hotel or equivalent.

Day 9 - Sun - West of Salalah

Visit Job Nabi Ayyub's Tomb, Mughsayl Beach, Watch blowholes, steep slope, frankincense trees on the mountains.

Nabi Ayub Job's Tomb is the tomb of the popular Muslim and Christian figure called Nabi Ayub. This gravesite is witness to the life of Ayub or Job whose extraordinary faith is mentioned in the Christian Bible as well as in Muslim's Quran. The tomb and the adjacent mosque are located on a hilltop with a wonderful view of Salalah in the far distance. Women should cover their heads when entering the tomb and no shoes are allowed. Photography is not allowed within the tomb and the mosque is closed to non-Muslims. Job's grave is covered with an embroidered shroud on which are written verses from the Holy Koran. When you leave, ask the guard at the door to give you a piece of the cloth covering the tomb and you can pick up white pebbles from the area, a great souvenir of this memorable journey.

The drive to Mughsayl is quite ordinary and is desert on both sides pretty much all the way. But once you get to Mughsayl, you can have great fun getting amused by the blowholes. The blowholes are actually air holes on the floor which cut through rock to the bottom, where the sea hits land.
Mughsayl Beach and Blowholes. When the waves from the sea hit the rock, because of these vents on the ground, air and water is forced up the vent and comes up almost like a fountain, but the volume of water and force of air is awesome. It is something that is very enjoyable when you are actually waiting near the blowholes for the air and water to spray up. Of course there is an element of luck. If the waves are not strong then you might not get the chance to see the blowholes spraying up in full vigour. There are also other things, so you invariably end up having a great time anyway. Anyway the whole place is very beautiful, with water hitting against solid rock mountains of the Southern Oman coast. Just a short drive from the blowholes place you have a nice beach where you can hang out over a snack. It's a great picnic spot and if you go as a group, you are bound to have great fun.
Once you are done at the Blowholes, you can head further down the road and away from Salalah. This road leads you to the neighboring country, Yemen, which is about 150kms from there. But you can have a great time driving through these mountainous roads. The roads are wide, very safe and it is a thrilling experience driving through the mountainous roads which go up and down. You've got roads that are really steep with over a 45 degrees climb. You might even encounter some camels and mountain goats on your way. There are also some nice spots to park your car and click some scenic photos with the mountains in the background. It is definitely something you are going to want to remember for a long time.

Overnight at 5* Hilton Salalah Hotelor equivalent.

Day 10 - Mon - Leisure day

Spend a final day relaxing at the Hotel.

Overnight at 5* Hilton Salalah Hotel or equivalent.

Day 11 - Tue - Departure

Transfer to the airport for your early morning flight home via Muscat.

 

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