“In Oman you can explore cliff-lined beaches, kayak among sea turtles, hike green hills rich in biodiversity – basically what you’d expect of any desert kingdom.”
Philippe Brown writes of the bespoke luxury travel opportunities in this sultanate at the mouth of the Persian Gulf:
“A paradise of spectacular scenery, amazing wildlife and supremely friendly people, Oman is among the more deep-rooted Arab kingdoms – for the simple reason that its people have been there for so long. By the time the Romans showed up, the area was already famed for its spices and African ivory, as well as locally produced frankincense and myrrh (ranked high, in some cultures, among holiday gift ideas).
“No one really knows what to expect in Oman, and I rather like that. Many picture a desert country, not a place where you can walk along a white-sand beach and see rare green or hawksbill turtles laying their eggs. Or join the sea kayakers at dawn to paddle with frolicking humpback and spinner dolphins. Or journey out to the Damaniyat Islands to dive among the rays and multi-coloured corals.
“The landscapes are equally unexpected. In the north, on the Musandam Peninsula, you find fjords reminiscent of Norway (without the snow and waterfalls). You can hike along the coastal cliffs, taking in incredible vistas of the Arabian Sea. Or explore from the water, reclining on carpets and pillows in your traditional dhow.
“Then there’s the interior. The bustling souk in the old capital, Nizwa. The breathtaking peaks of the Al Hajar range at Jebel Akhdar. The 200-metre sinkhole Tawi Attair, or “Well of the Birds.” And Wadi Shab, an Eden-like oasis filled with aquamarine pools, waterfalls and sheltering caves. As for lodgings, you can’t beat the opulent seaside Chedi in Muscat. At the Hideaway on Zighy Bay, we can have you arrive by paraglider. And you’ll want a couple of nights in a luxury Bedouin camp, watching shooting stars over the Wahiba after a day of exploring the desert in 4x4s – and learning the noble art of falconry.
“Everywhere you travel in Oman, from well-worn nomad trails to a camel race at an ancient oasis, you’ll encounter a wonderfully civilized and hospitable people who are eager to make your stay more pleasant, whether teaching you a few words in Arabic or demonstrating the best technique for climbing a date palm. I can’t wait to return.”
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