THE MIDDLE EAST
The SULTANATE OF OMAN could be the Arabian Peninsula’s most rewarding destination. Previously regarded as the hermit of the Middle East, Oman is an understated presence among the glitzy states of the Gulf and is now the obvious choice for those seeking out the modern face of Arabia while still wanting to experience its ancient soul.
Oman boasts a stirring past combining Bedouin history with a proud seafaring tradition giving the country some amazing forts and traditional architecture. In the capital Muscat you will find the Mutrah Souq, an Arabian bazaar which retains the chaotic interest of a traditional market with glittering gold and clouds of incense. Many people come to the Mutrah Corniche just to visit this labyrinthine market to bargain for copper pots, gold bangles, antiques and Indian and Omani artefacts.
You can visit the Ras al-Jinz, an important nesting site for the endangered green turtle. Over 20,000 females return annually to the beach here in order to lay eggs. Oman plays an important role in the conservation of this species and takes the responsibility seriously.
Oman’s diverse natural beauty is one of its main attractions and for this one need only see the Musandam Peninsula dubbed the “Norway of Arabia” for its beautiful khors, small villages and dramatic, mountain-hugging roads.
Other top experiences include Jebel Shams, Oman’s highest mountain renowned for the view into the spectacularly deep Wadi Ghul, the Nakhal Fort built on the foundations of a pre-Islamic structure, subtropical Salalah and Bahla Fort, now a Unesco World Heritage site after two decades of restoration. The list goes on…
For a taste of Oman we have selected a North itinerary starting from Muscat. Here we offer a half day city tour and next day a dolphin watching and snorkelling trip. Moving on to the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve with stops along the coast at Bimah Sink Hole, Wadi Shab and Sur. After checking in you will join the ranger to see the green turtles in the wild. The next day you’ll be continuing to Wadi Bani Khalid, a beautiful wadi with water year round and then on to your desert camp for dinner and an overnight stay. Making your way back to Muscat via Nizwa, the old capital of Oman, you’ll visit the Nizwa Fort and Souk and overnight in Muscat. Your trip to Oman will not be complete without some nights relaxing at the spectacular Six Senses Zighy Bay, a peaceful resort tucked away on the Musandam Peninsular, stark mountains in the background and turquoise sea lapping the sands. For more information and the full itinerary please contact us.
With its biblical heritage, ancient sites, broad swathes of desert and – in Petra – one of the most iconic landmarks on the planet - JORDAN is certainly a country worth visiting. Even short visits are rewarded with world-class sites and activities.
Petra is the jewel of the countries' archaeological sites but there are many more such as the ancient Roman wonder of Jerash, one of the few Roman citadels in the Middle East which is still easily accessible.
Amman the capital may be one of the oldest cities on the planet. There is evidence that that there was a human settlement as early as the 13th century BC and it even features in the Bible (as Rabath Ammon).
Then there is the desert of Wadi Rum where a maze of impressive rockscapes rise up from the desert floor to heights of 1,750 m. Surely anyone who has seen the Martian must have been impressed by the Mars landscape. Where was it filmed? In Wadi Rum of course. A hotel in the area has gone a step further and has rooms shaped like the domed dwelling in the film. You also have the possibility of seeing this amazing landscape from the air in a microlight or balloon.
Despite Jordan having only 26 miles of coastline Aqaba is a Red Sea resort which could be considered as a place to relax for a few days after some serious site seeing. But perhaps Aqaba's greatest asset is the Red Sea itself. Here you can experience some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world.
For a completely different experience visit the Dead Sea which at 423 metres below sea level is Earth’s lowest elevation on land.It is roughly 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. The Dead Sea area has become a major centre for health research and treatment for several reasons. It was one of the world’s first health resorts (for Herod the Great) and could be considered quite literally to be the biggest natural free spa on earth though should you feel the need to indulge in further spa treatments, there are multiple hotels nearby to choose from.
There are so many other facets to this small country including religious sites of great significance such as Bethany Beyond the Jordan, where Jesus was baptised, nature reserves, hiking and walking routes (the magnificent gorge of Wadi Mujib comes to mind)
We offer private tailor-made itineraries or you may join a group tour. Click the link below for more information on the latter.
The video clip below is for anyone who is old enough to remember the Indiana Jones films. It is the closing scene from the Last Crusade and was shot in front of Petra.