Oman Family Adventure
On this fantastic family adventure in Oman the family will enjoy exciting 4x4 rides through rugged mountain terrains and swimming in sinkholes. You'll visit souqs, forts and fishing ports, go on a dolphin search cruise, ride a camel through the desert and stay overnight in a Bedouin-style camp.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Explore the fascinating city of Muscat
- 4x4 adventure in the Hajar Mountains
- Enjoy a camel ride in the Wahiba Sands
- Boat cruise in the Gulf of Oman to spot dolphins
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When To Travel
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Day 1: London to Muscat, Oman
Your family holiday begins with an evening overnight flight from London to Muscat. The flight time is seven-and-a-half-hours and while ideally the children will sleep, they may be too excited, in which case they will be kept fully occupied by the exclusive Sharky & George fun packs we've prepared for them, full of games and challenges designed to keep them entertained and informed about Oman.
Day 2: Arrive in Muscat
Welcome to Muscat! Your flight arrives in the early morning and your personal chauffeur will be waiting for you and your family in the arrivals lounge to take you on the forty minute drive to the luxury hotel, Shangri-La's Barr al Jissah Resort and Spa, where you'll be staying on a half-board basis.
Once you've checked in and had a chance to settle in to your interconnecting family rooms, you'll have two whole days to enjoy the amazing surroundings with your family. The kids will probably want to jump straight into one of the many pools, and who can blame them?
Muscat is a fascinating place, so once they've cooled off, you might want to consider taking them out to explore the city. They'll love wandering through the local souqs or watching the fishermen unload their catch in the old port district of Muttrah.
- Visit Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Day 3: Muscat
You and the family will have all day to enjoy the facilities at the hotel or take an optional excursion if you prefer.
Under eight's will love the hotel's Little Turtle Kid's Club. The supervised play areas are open from 8am to 8pm, so you'll have some uninterrupted time to lounge by the pool.
For some great family fun together, try out the resort's Adventure Zone or challenge each other at Nintendo Wii Sports. You could just float along the Lazy River or spend the day at Splashpad, the on-site aquatic park. When the kids are well and truly water-logged, dry them out with a visit to the Omani Heritage Village where they'll be able to interact with camels and Arabian horses.
- Take the kids on a dolphin search boat cruise
- Investigate the Muscat souqs and fish market
- Snorkel or dive in the Daymaniyat Islands
- For the more adventurous, enjoy a day trip with picnic lunch to explore one of the many wadis with a professional local guide
Day 4: Jebel Akhdar
After an early breakfast at the hotel, your personal chauffeur will collect you and the family in a 4x4 for the exciting and adventurous drive up into the Hajar Mountains for the next part of your Oman holiday.
On the way, the kids will be enthralled by the scenery change from the coastal area of Muscat to the steep mountains of the Jebel Akhdar - the green mountain - and can compete to see how many wandering goat herds they can spot. You'll pass through the village of Birkat al Mawz, translating as 'Banana Pool' for reasons understood when you visit. The village also showcases an excellent example of the Omani's traditional water channel systems, or Falaj, with Falaj Al Hathmeen running through it.
After Birkat al Mawz the road climbs through Wadi Madaeen to the Saiq Plateau which is 6,560ft above sea level. This is where you will find your hotel for the next three nights.
Day 5: Hajar Mountains
If you're not an adrenaline junkie, you might just want to plan a lazy day by the pool or enjoy a cultural experience like walking to one of the nearby abandoned villages. At Wadi Bani Habib the kids can hunt for wild garlic and pomegranates (in season).
If you are looking for your adrenaline fix then you'll want to get your climbing gear on and tackle the Hajar Via Ferrata, a series of metal ladders and bridges through the mountains. Don't worry about the youngsters while you're off adventuring, they'll be well looked after and kept busy with some great activities at the resort. They'll be enjoying the playground jungle gym, nature walks and the arts and crafts so much, they won' t even notice you've gone, and if they're teens, they can join you.
When you've finished scaling the heights and abseiling down cliffs, you'll all meet up for a fantastic plateau picnic lunch before returning to the resort to spend the rest of the afternoon together.
- Indulge in a luxurious spa treatment
- Develop your tennis with the resident professional
- Cycle around the local town where you could buy some local Omani 'sweets' to keep the energy levels up
Day 6: Hajar Mountains
Get ready for a morning of culinary delights. We've organised a private tour of the hotel's kitchen gardens which will give you and the youngsters a fascinating insight into the ingredients used in local Omani cuisine. Then you'll all be able to put your chef's hats on and participate in a cookery class where you can compare the end product over lunch.
Have a lazy afternoon with the family by the pool or make the most of the hotel's great facilities. Have a game of tennis or cycle around the local area. After dinner, take the children stargazing on the resort's purpose-built platform.
- Indulge in a luxurious spa treatment
- Have a game of tennis
- Go cycling
Day 7: Wahiba Sands
Check out after breakfast and get ready for the exciting day to come. You'll be visiting some fantastic places on the way to Wahiba Sands where you'll be spending the night at a luxurious Bedouin-style campsite.
On route to the Wahiba Sands you cannot miss a stop at the quintessential Omani fort and castle in Nizwa where the children can explore the lively souq and test their haggling skills. Lunch will be enjoyed a little closer to the Wahiba Sands in the beautiful oasis of Wadi Bani Khalid for a dip in the natural pools and waterfall - a favourite with the locals and tourists alike.
Hold on tight when you arrive at Wahiba Sands. After some instruction in desert driving your driver will hand over the wheel to Mum or Dad so you can all experience the thrill of driving over dunes.
Make yourselves comfortable back at your luxurious Arabian camp before going on a camel ride across the sands and stopping at the top of one of the dunes to enjoy sundower drinks as the light fades.Then spend the evening telling tall tales under the clear Arabian night sky.
Day 8: Wahabi Sands to Muscat
This is a great morning to be an early bird. Hike or take a camel to the top of a dune to watch the sun rise and the day come to life before enjoying a hearty breakfast - a just reward following the dune climb.
You'll then begin the journey back to Muscat which will include lots of adventurous elements along the way. The road is beautiful and it is the perfect opportunity to explore your first Wadi - Wadi Shab. From the road a 45 minute walk and short hop on a boat takes you to this beautiful oasis, which also makes the perfect lunch stop.
Before arriving into Muscat, there will also be the opportunity to visit Quriyat, a traditional fishing village and far cry from the Mutrah fish market in Muscat.
After arriving and checking in to your interconnecting family rooms at your Muscat hotel, you and the family can relax by the pool or splash around in the warm waters off the beach.
Days 9-10: Muscat
Make the most of your free time over the next two days, enjoying all the hotels fantastic facilities, restaurants and pristine beach. If the kids have still got energy to expend, there's plenty to keep them active. You'll have everything from an aquatic centre, mini golf and a games room to keep them busy plus on-site camel and pony rides too.
On one of the days we also suggest leaving the hotel to enjoy an exhilarating half-day boat cruise in the Gulf of Oman, which the children will love. During the cruise you'll go in search of dolphins. Most commonly spotted are spinner and common dolphins, which are usually seen in huge numbers. As well as dolphin spotting you'll all also be able to go snorkelling with the turtles who live on the coral reefs here. Have your Go-pros and cameras ready as this trip is perfect for snapping some great holiday pics.
Day 11: Muscat to UK
You'll all be waving a very fond farewell to Muscat as you leave the hotel to make the short, 40-minute journey back to the airport for the morning flight back to London. The flight takes eight hours, arriving at lunchtime in the UK.
Isabel, Matt and Charlotte C are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.