From exploring one of the largest cave chambers in the world, Majlis Al Jinn, to snorkeling the colourful coral reefs of Daymaniyat Islands or camping under the stars in the A’Sharqiyah Sands; adventure is at the heart of every journey through Oman.
Thanks to its diverse landscapes, ranging from rocky mountains with green terrace fields to bustling souks selling camels on the edge of the desert or watching baby turtles hatch on the beach, the Sultanate welcomes all travellers seeking adventures of a lifetime.
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Oman looks back on a proud maritime history, renowned for dhow building and trading across the seas. As such, Omanis are known to have a special connection with the sea, settling where there are natural harbours and great fishing grounds.
It comes as no surprise that the Sultanate, and its over 3,000km of coastline and rich marine life, draw in water sport enthusiasts from around the globe. Diving in particular is a major draw for adventurers, with hotspots such as Al Khayran, Al Fahil Island, Daymaniyat Islands, and Al Makbara Bay, known as renowned diving spots.
Several tour operators are specialised in water sport activities, such as snorkelling, sailing, jet skiing, and kayaking. For those visitors seeking their own water adventures, yachts and boats are also available for hire.
MOUNTAIN BIKING & CYCLING
Cycling and mountain biking has witnessed a rise in popularity in the Sultanate, with both amateur and professional cyclists appreciating the country for its stunning and diverse landscapes.
The Tour of Oman, a professional road race, has become an annual event since its inaugural race in 2010, drawing many spectators from the region and generally instilling an interest in cycling into the local population.
Visitors can step into the professionals footsteps by availaing any of the road or mountain biking excursions offered by a local tour operator. Alternatively, adventurers can do their own exploration of areas such as Al Hamra, Al Jebel Al Akhdar, Jebel Shams, Musandam and Yiti.
Historically, camels were used by local bedouins for transporting goods and people through the desert and around the country. Today, owning camels has become more a sign of prestige, with many Omanis breeding them for racing and beauty contests.
Visitors can still enjoy a taste of the traditional Bedouin lifestyle by setting off on a desert safari in the A'Sharqiyah Sands and Rub Al Khali. Noting quite beats sunset on a camel’s back. Several local tour operators are specialized in offering camel safaris.
Many of Oman’s stunning attractions are off the beaten track and require a 4x4 to access. Whether it’s dune bashing in the desert or exploring a wadi, off-roading is one of the best ways to truly experience what the country has to offer.
Some of the best locations for off-roading include Wadi Bani Awf, Al Jebel Al Akhdar and Jebel Shams, as well as many of the other scenic wadis dotted around the country.
Visitors are asked to use caution when venturing off-road, as help is often far off and roads may be dangerous if the driver is not experienced. In many cases, it is best to travel with at least two cars or opt for a guided excursion.
Hiking routes can be found throughout the country; from short, accessable routes on the outskirts of cities and villages, to longer treks in more remote areas. Oman has something for every hiker, including some combining elements of canyoning and climbing.
The Riyam Walk between Muttrah and Old Muscat and the Rim Walk on Jebel Shams are not too demanding and a favourite with visitors. Expert hikers can ascend Al Jebel Al Akhdar via Wadi Muyadeen, cross from Wadi Tiwi to Wadi Bani Khalid or make it to the summit of Jebel Shams.
From rock climbing to abseiling, Oman offers plenty of stunning spots for more experienced mountaineers. It is recommended to always keep an eye on the weather, wadis and roads can quickly flood in case of rain.
Enthusiasts will know Jebel Misht as a perfect location for some serious alpine-style rock climbing. Easier options are offered by the Via Ferrata routes managed by the Alila Jebel Akhdar Resort & Spa on Jebel Akhdar, including a 22-metre bridge walk across the mouth of a cave.
Other spots include the Via Ferrata on Jebel Shams and the Majlis Al Jinn cave, the latter of which can only be explored with special permission from the Ministry of Tourism.
It might come as a surprise that golf has a surprisingly long history in the Sultanate, dating back to 1970s. With world-class golf clubs in Muscat – the Al Mouj Golf Club, Muscat Hills Golf and Country Club, Ghala Valley Golf Club, and the Ras Al Hamra Golf Club - perfect golfing weather is usually experienced between September and May.
Local golf clubs are equipped with state of the art facilities, club and buggy hire, and qualified instructors who can introduce those new to the sport through personal training.
STAND UP PADDLE BOARDING (SUP)
Taking off as a new leisure activity in the early 2000s, Stand Up Paddle Boarding has gained momentum in Sultanate, quickly earning itself a reputation as a great SUP location thanks to its over 3,000km long coastline.
Shatti Beach and other beaches in Muscat are some of the best starting points for an unforgettable SUP session, depending on the paddler’s level of fitness and comfort.
Local companies do manufacture paddle boards to international standards right here in Oman, while others offer equipment hire and lessons if required.
Home to the second largest cave chamber in the world (Majlis Al Jinn on the Salmah Plateau) and numerous others, the Sultanate has plenty of caves to explore.
Some, like Al Hoota Cave near Al Hamra or the Muqal Cave in Wadi Bani Khalid, don't require specilised equipment and can be explored by visitors with average fitness levels.
However, caves like Majlis Al Jinn do require the necessary equipment, skills and permissions.
From the white pebble sand beaches of Fins and Sur, to rocky outcrops above the clouds on Jebel Samham in Dhofar, Oman has hundreds of stunning camping locations for visitors to choose from.
While wild camping is a favourite pastime in the Sultanate, campers must ensure they are not on private land or damaging land or livestock. That includes disposing of rubbish in designated bins only.
Those looking for more confortable camping options, can book one of the available desert camps or join a local tour operator that offers fully organized camping.
A fantastic combination of surfing and paragliding makes for an incredibly challenging, yet exhilarating sport that’s enjoyed by many in Oman. In fact, the Sultanate is known around the world as an up-and-coming kitesurfing destination.
Particularly popular on Masirah Island, kite surfing there is best enjoyed in the summer months, when temperatures are around 25℃ and the island receives some of the monsoon winds that bring rains to Dhofar and turn it into a green wonderland.
Local tour and rental operators provide training and gear hire, with qualified professionals to ensure a safe and exciting experience for all visitors.