Oman: Caravans of the Bedu

This luxury tented camp adventure in the spectacular desert was ranked among National Geographic Traveler’s 2013 “50 Tours of a Lifetime.”

Country Information

Oman: Caravans of the Bedu New Reality

(Countries Visited)
(Interest Type(s))

Sustainable Travel

,

Adventure Travel


(Tour Length)

9 Days


Tour Highlights

Starting at: $15,000
  • Enjoy a unique experience of Oman on this luxury tented camp adventure in the spectacular desert locations as well as on long stretches of pristine beach
  • Explore the mysterious landscapes of the largest sand desert in the world known as the Empty Quarter
  • Discover traditional towns such as Quriyat, an old seafaring town, and 2013 T+L Tours LogoMirbat, the ancient capital of Dhofar, known for its trade in frankincense, horses and slaves
  • Encounter  Bedu settlements at Ras Al Ruways, and the Qahal’s famous pink lagoons
  • In Oman’s wadis, search out desert wildlife such as hyena, camel, ibex and gazelle as well stunning geological landscapes

Day 1:  Muscat / Quriyat / Bimah Sinkhole / Wadi Tiwi / Qalhat / Sur / Ras Al Jinz
You depart this morning from your hotel in a four-wheel-drive vehicle via the rugged, scenic coast road.  Drive past the fishing village of Quriyat en route to the Bimah Sinkhole, a spectacular limestone crater with blue green water at the bottom.  On clear sunny days while driving along the coast, you might see sharks in the deep blue waters or fleet-footed gazelles sprint across the landscape.  The road to Wadi Tiwi winds between traditional Omani houses that are hidden in the mountains.  From Wadi Tiwi, proceed to Qalhat, famous as the location of Bibi Miriam’s Tomb.  Bibi Miriam was the queen of Qalhat, the second capital of the ancient Persian Kingdom of Hormuz, which actually pre-dates the Arabs.  All of Qalhat was destroyed in the 16th century by the Portuguese and a tsunami, leaving only the tomb, which is in surprisingly excellent condition.  Continue along the road as it winds through mountain terrain offering tempting glimpses of the blue ocean en route.  Travel to Sur, a seafaring town, where you visit a fascinating dhow factory and Sineslah Fort.  From Sur, continue to Ras Al Jinz, which is home to a sanctuary for the green turtles.  The Ras Al Jinz Nature Reserve was established in 1996 when Ras Al Jinz National Nature Reserve and Ras al Hadd National Scenic Reserve merged to better protect the sea turtles and their natural habitat.  The protected area stretches over 120 square kilometers/46 square miles and includes 45 kilometers/28 miles of coastline, extending for one kilometer into territorial waters.  The Ras Al Jinz Scientific and Visitors Center offers the opportunity to witness female sea turtles coming ashore to nest.  The center also aims to promote social responsibility and sound environmental practices in the framework of their program to raise awareness about these special creatures.  Ras Al Jinz Scientific & Visitors Center – Luxury Tent (B,L,D)

Day 2:  Ras Al Jinz / Ras Al Ruways / Bar Al Hikman / Khaluf
After breakfast, set out to Ras Al Ruways, where you will encounter Bedouin settlements.  Here you will be able to drive on the beach at low tide and enjoy a picnic lunch.  After lunch proceed to Bar Al Hikman, a haven for tens of thousands of small shore birds.  Flamingoes are very common here.  En route to Khaluf, the beaches are covered with huge amounts of small shells, and schools of dolphin can be sighted frequently.  At Khaluf, enjoy dinner and your first night under the stars in your mobile, luxury tented beach camp.  Luxury Mobile Beach Camp (B,L,D)

Day 3:  Khaluf / Wadi Shuram / Ras Madrakah
Wake up early to a beautiful sunrise on the beach and set out for Wadi Shuram with its stunning desert landscapes.  The oldest rocks in Oman provide a visual feast with black dolomites contrasting against sands, stones and shales.  The road passes through a small oasis with palm trees and water.  Climb up a hill for magnificent views across the desert wilderness.  At Ras Madrakhah, the beach’s dark rocks, white sand and blue ocean combine with a massive ship wreck and hundreds of ghost crabs to make a create a memorable scene.  Luxury Mobile Beach Camp (B,L,D)

Day 4:  Ras Madrakah – Jaaluni Desert (Oryx Sanctuary)
Today you will drive to the Jaaluni Desert, home to Oman’s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary to see these elegant and protected Arabian Oryx, once extinct in the wild.  This afternoon, enjoy a long wildlife drive with a local guide across the desert.  Return to Ras Madrakhah.  The Oryx Sanctuary visit is subject to the approval from government.  If any fees are incurred, they are paid directly on site.  Luxury Mobile Beach Camp (B,L,D)

Day 5:  Ras Madrakah / Qahal / Wadi Shuwaymiyah / Shuwaymiyah
Qahal is famous for its pink lagoons.  A unique alga gives the lagoons their pinkish coloring.  A fishermen’s village sits at the mouth of one of Oman's most spectacular wadis - Wadi Shuwaymiyah.  And a beautiful sandy beach sweeps down to the bay. The wadi forms a huge winding canyon, with dramatic cliffs of white limestone.  Porous travertine form stalactites along overhanging cliff edges.  The canyon forms a natural refuge for wildlife such as hyenas, camels, ibex and gazelles and other mammals.  Five islands just off the coast of Shuwaymiyah are a haven for migratory birds and marine life and breeding marine turtles.  Pods of dolphin are just off shore.  This is a good spot for sport fishermen and the rocky coast of the islands offer underwater sites for snorkeling.  Offshore waters provide rich feeding grounds for nesting seabirds and non-breeding visitors, including petrels from the Southern Hemisphere.  You continue to Shuwaymiyah beach where you will set up camp for the evening.  Luxury Mobile Beach Camp (B,L,D)

Day 6:  Shuwaymiyah / Shisr / Al Hashman / Empty Quarter
Enjoy your final morning sunrise on the beach before driving inland to the oasis of Shisr on the edge of the Rub al Khali, which is Arabic for the infamous and forbidding "Empty Quarter."  This mysterious setting is the largest sand desert in the world, encompassing most of the southern third of the Arabian Peninsula, including most of Saudi Arabia and areas of Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.  Enjoy a packed lunch at the oasis city of Shisr.  Continue into the Empty Quarter to savor a beautiful sunset over the dunes.  Then, you stop at the place where your luxury tents will be set up, just outside of Ramlat Al Hashman, known for spectacular sand dunes and as one of the starting points where Bedouin caravans set out on the rigorous journey deep into the Empty Quarter.  Luxury Mobile Desert Camp – Luxury Tent (B,L,D)

Day 7:  Empty Quarter / Al Hashman / Ubar / Salalah
Rising at dawn, you have an unforgettable breakfast in the early morning light of the desert.  Enjoy the silence of these golden waves of sand stretching to the far horizon.  The deeper you enter this countryside the farther you are from the bustle of everyday life.  You get to do will enjoy dune bashing in the sand desert at Al Hashman.  You will then continue to the ruins of the fabled Lost City of Ubar, famous in Arab lore for being one of the wealthy cities of frankincense trade on the Arabian Peninsula thousands of years ago.  According to myth, the desert swallowed up Ubar, sinking without a  trace, becoming the fabled "Atlantis of the Sands.”  Research has revealed that this was largely the case.  It seems the settlement had been built over a huge limestone cavern that collapsed, burying the city.  The frankincense trees of Wadi Dawkah, the remains of a caravan oasis of Shisr/Wubar and the affiliated ports of Khor Rori and Al-Baleed attest to the importance of the trade in frankincense that flourished in this region for centuries in the ancient and medieval world.  Proceed south to Salalah to your hotel.  Hilton Salalah Resort – Hilton Guest Room (B,L)

Day 8:  Salalah – Taqah / Samhuram
Discover the fishing village of Taqah, an old town with an interesting castle surrounded by watchtowers and stone houses.  Further on at Khor Rori Creek, site of the ruined city of Samhuram and capital of ancient Arabia’s frankincense trade.  Excavations have produced evidence of an ancient city with trade links by sea to Far Eastern destinations and even with distant Greece.  The settlement was probably abandoned in the seventh century.  One of the Queen of Sheba's palaces was located here.  You will also visit Mirbat, the ancient capital of Dhofar, which was an important town as early as the 9th century.  It was known for its trade in frankincense, horses and slaves. See some of the old houses famous for woodcarvings.  In Dhofar, one of the best examples of medieval architecture is the 12th-century, twin-domed tomb of Mohamed bin Ali. Return via Ayn Razat, (Thu/Fri only), which is a collection of manicured gardens fed by natural underground springs.  The Biblical Nabi Ayoub, Prophet Job, tomb is perched high up in the mountains.  En route are spectacular views of the plains, mountains and emerald green pastureland.  Proceed to Mughsail Beach with its abundance of blowholes, perforated limestone rock, that become powerful gushers during high tide.  Experience the hairpin bends in the roads on the way to a wadi with breathtaking views. En route, the stark shape of leafless frankincense trees dot the landscape.  Once traded as a commodity more precious than gold, frankincense harvested in Dhofar is rated the best in the world.  Return to your hotel where you will enjoy your last night in the Sultanate.  Hilton Salalah Resort – Hilton Guest Room (B)

Day 9:  Salalah / Muscat / Depart
Transfer to the airport where you will board your departing flight to Muscat.  Upon arrival you will be able to relax in the Plaza Lounge before connecting with your international flight home.  (B)

Land price, per person, double occupancy:  Starting from $15000

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