At the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula, between the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea, lies the Sultanate of Oman; a country of desert, mountains, glorious beaches and thousands of years of history. A self-drive trip in Oman will take you along perfect tarmacked roads, where you can admire stunning natural landscapes including dramatic canyons, soaring peaks, towering golden dunes and lush oases. On your journey you will discover the country's heritage, from imposing castles and forts to stories of ancient trade routes, where world-renowned Omani frankincense made its way by land and sea to India, Africa and Europe.
Oman road trips open the way to unspoilt beaches and sparkling seas, which are home to leaping dolphins. Stop along the way to hike through beautiful mountain villages and verdant wadis, before returning to enjoy your evenings at some of the finest hotels in the Middle East.
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Road trips shouldn’t be reserved for the USA and Oman is a prime example. Whether you plan on spending two weeks cruising highways and byways from Muscat down to Salalah, or popping into the Musandam Peninsula on a short self-drive trip from the UAE, road trips in Oman will do anything but disappoint. On our Oman for Insiders itinerary, you’ll traverse across dizzying mountains and hilltop villages in 4x4s, crisscross between wadis and oases and pause at awe-inspiring archaeological sites like Al-Balad. Once you hit Salalah, you’ll follow in the camel footprints of the country’s historic incense traders, who dominated trade routes from fifth century BC to first century AD. Leave the driving to an expert tour guide to explore the Rub’ al Khali desert and lost city of Ubar. On rest days, relax on white sand beach of Al Mughsail, head to the quaint fishing town of Mirbat or the nearby Hallaniyat Islands for a spot of whale watching (particularly if you visit from January to April).
Is it safe to drive in Oman?
Oman knew road-trippers would come if their roads were good. So, they built brand new ones. Highways are smooth, lit and signposted (in English) and petrol stations are frequent. That being said, driving at night should be avoided. Badly parked vehicles, wandering camels and pedestrians and impatient drivers can make this time of day particularly dicey. Anyone about to embark on road trips in Oman should be prepared in all senses of the word – particularly when it comes to itineraries. 3G and 4G can be patchy, especially when you head away from built up areas, so make sure to print a hard copy of your route.
What is driving like in Oman?
Self-driving in Oman is a fantastic experience. It’s one to tick off the bucket list and rave (we mean brag) about once home. It offers the chance to see the country independently and at your own speed. Live out your Formula 1 dreams (within reason) along sweeping desert highways and test out your rental’s powered steering as you navigate precipitous canyon cliffs in the Western Hajar Mountains. If you have a need for speed, you’ll probably have to reserve it for the Silverstone racetrack circuit. Speed limits are strict and checked often, so keep your eyes peeled or you could be coming home to a hefty fine. Despite this, road trips in Oman are a once in a lifetime adventure and something you’ll remember long after you bid farewell to your trusty rental.