Exploring Oman

An Adventurous Tour of the Mountains, Deserts and Forts

The Mountains

Jebel Akhdar

Part of the Al Hajar Mountain range and is one of Oman's most spectacular areas. Translated to "The Green Mountain" it rises to a height of 2,980 metres and is famous for it's wide plateau close to the summit. The journey from Muscat to Jebel Akhdar takes about two hours and can only be undertaken by four-wheel drive.

Jebel Akhdar is known for its Mediterranean climate. Temperatures drop during winter to below zero Celsius, with snow falling at times, and rise in summer to 22 degrees Celsius. Due to its location and unique weather, the Green Mountain produces a variety of fruits, such as apricots, plums, figs, grapes, apples and pears, as well as almonds, walnuts and saffron. The pomegranate that grows here is classified among the finest of its kind in the world.


Jebel Shams

The highest point, meaning "Mountain of the Sun" is around 3000 meters high and is not only the highest point in Oman but in the whole of eastern Arabia. Weather on the summit is mild in summer and cold in winter. Close to the peak lies a deep chasm called the "An Nakhr Balcony", one of the most beautiful places tourists visit. It is a deep ravine in the heart of the rocks that can be viewed from the top, which directly overlooks the ravine. At the bottom of the ravine rock formations chiselled into different forms by erosion lie at breathtaking depth.


The Deserts

The Empty Quarter

This is the biggest desert in the Arabian Peninsula, and void of any oasis. To this day, there are still large expanses of unexplored and uninhabited terrain. It is located to the far north of the city of Salalah, the capital of Dhofar Governorate. Specialised companies organise tours of the Empty Quarter, led by experienced guides.


A'Sharqiyah Sands 

Also known as "Wahiba Sands" are considered among the most beautiful camping areas in the Sultanate and extend over an area of up to about 10 thousand square kilometres.

The Sand colours range from red to brown as far as the eye can see. It is the original homeland of the Bedouins. This area attracts many desert adventurers, and is preferred by visitors owing to its ease of accessibility and availability of nearby services, which make it a first class tourist attraction. Also, tourist camps that make the sands their home base offer a variety of services in this sea of golden sand and have played an important role in promoting A'Sharqiyah Sands.

Wilayat Badiyah is a beautiful oasis located at the entrance of A'Sharqiyah Sands. It is considered a starting point to explore the depths of the sand and enter into a world full of excitement and vitality, away from the bustle of the city and a change from daily routines. These sands embrace many oases. For example, Al Raka Oasis, which is surrounded by sand dunes on three sides and forms a spectacular landscape, as well as  Shahik Oasis and Al Hawiyah Oasis, the largest oasis, which contains a number of trees and is surrounded by sand dunes that form a splendid scene. Al Hawiyah Oasis is considered a vivid example of this unique mixture, for it is embraced by the golden sands to form a peninsula of greenery, putting it on a pedestal of its own compared with other oases in the Sultanate. The sharp sandy slopes in the southern part of this oasis are one of the most beautiful sites for sand skiing.

Al Aidan Oasis is so called from the shady leafy trees and the presence of a water well on this site. Accessing this oasis requires the help of a guide.


Bawshar Sands

Not far from the beaches of Muscat with its harmonious architecture, and within walking distance of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in the heart of the capital, visitors will find golden hills packed with drivers who enjoy sand-duning with their SUVs, or those who enjoy gliding on the sand bikes that are easy to rent in this area.

Many visitors like to climb the hills to watch the sunset bidding farewell to Muscat, with its white-washed buildings surrounded by fresh greenery on those beautiful hills.


Ramlat Tawq

Ramlat Tawq is an area of beautiful sand dunes, extending for tens of kilometres and located between Wilayat Barka and Nakhil in Al Batinah South Governorate, and is one of the sites frequented by tourists in large numbers due to its proximity to the capital Muscat.


The Forts

Al Jalali Fort

Al Jalali Fort lies in old Muscat and overlooks the Sea of Oman. It is also known as the Ash Sharqiya Fort. Some say that the origin of the fort’s name is "Al Jalal", meaning "great beauty", while others say the name is that of the Persian leader “Jalal Shah".


Al Mirani Fort

Al Mirani Fort lies in old Muscat and overlooks the Sea of Oman. It is also known as Al Gharbiya Fort as it commands a view of a high rocky hill at the end of the west wall. It can be reached by climbing a flight of stairs carved into the rock.

Some say that the fort’s name was originally "mirante", a Portuguese word meaning "Admiral", while others say that the fort was named after a Persian leader by the name of “Miran Shah".


Bahla Fort

Bahla Fort lies in Wilayt Bahla in A'Dakhiliyah Governorate. Since 1987, its name has been included in the World Heritage Sites List. Bahla Fort includes: Bahla Oasis with its traditional souks, old alleys, ancient mosques, and its wall that extends over a distance of approximately 13 kilometres and whose construction dates back to the pre-Islamic era.


Al Fiqayn Fort

Al Fiqayn Fort lies in Wilayt Manah in A'Dakhiliyah Governorate. It consists of four storeys through which the visitor can see the old quarters and surrounding farms. Al Fiqayn Fort is located in the centre of Al Fayqayn Village, characterised by its unique architectural design.

Prevalent in Wilayat Manah is the Al Matek bush which is used in manufacturing indigo colour, used in old times to dye clothes and to extract some traditional anti-toxin medicines. Wilayat Manah has made the Al Matek its logo.


Muttrah Fort

Located on top of a rocky, narrow hill, Mutrah Fort stands tall facing the sea and inhaling the winds that waft the fragrant memory of ships gone by, ships that once sailed these azure waters.


Nakhal Fort

Nakhal Fort is one of the most prominent historical monuments in the Sultanate. It derives its name from the Wilaya itself. The fort lies amidst palm orchards in Wilayt Nakhal in Al Batinah South Governorate. It is an entrenched building that rises above a rocky hill at the base of Mount Nakhal in the northeast of Jebel Akhdar.

The fort, also called Husn Al Heem, lies 120 kilometres from the capital Muscat and is located at the entrance of Wilayat Nakhal in Wadi Ar Raqeem.

This fort’s architecture does not follow a particular pattern, as it was designed around an irregularly shaped rock. You'll find that some rock parts become part of the building. This can be observed in some towers, particularly on the fort’s western side.


Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Fort is one of the oldest forts in Oman and lies in A'Dakhiliyah Governorate. It has a unique large round shape. Its height reaches 24 metres, with an outer diameter of 43 metres and an inner diameter of 36 metres. This fort has seven wells and multiple openings for stationing the fighters defending the fort. Nizwa Fort was built by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Y`aribi in the middle of the seventeenth century. It was this imam who expelled the Portuguese from Oman. The fort, which took 12 years to build, is linked with a castle by means of intricate corridors. Near the fort and castle is the traditional Nizwa market famous for its artefacts.


A'Rustaq Fort

A'Rustaq Fort lies in Wilayat A'Rustaq in Al Batinah South Governorate. It was originally built in 1250, but was reconstructed to its present state during the reign of the Al Y`aribah in the sixteenth century. It consists of two floors, in addition to a ground floor, and houses residences, weapon stores, reception rooms, gates, a mosque, a prison and water wells. ArRustaq Fort has four towers: The Red Tower, The Wind Tower, The Devils Tower and the Modern Tower.


Sohar Fort

Sohar Fort is considered one of the most important castles and forts in Al Batinah North Governorate due to its outstanding location and the significant role it played over past centuries. This fort dates back to the end of the thirteenth century and beginning of the fourteenth century. Archaeological excavations carried out fort confirmed that it was completed in the fourteenth century.

Sohar Castle is an eminent historical landmark. The building’s current features were built during the rule of the Portuguese. Currently, the fort includes a museum, opened in 1993, that showcases many archaeological and historical aspects of Sohar City as well as other places in the Sultanate of Oman. The museum also highlights the important role played by the copper trade in this city and its relationship with the city of Canton in China, in addition to various artefacts found during archaeological excavations inside the fort and other locations in Oman.


For more information

Concierge will be very happy to assit you in organising tours and trips to these areas. Please contact us on +968 2464 1234 or email muscat.grand@hyatt.com.

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