Arabia is beguilingly unique, and Oman is the epitome of this. The scent of frankincense and rosewater in the air. The cloudless skies. The sugar-high you get from Qahwa, a sweet cardamom-infused coffee served everywhere you go. From carving up sand dunes in Wahiba Sands to high heels and hedonism in Muscat, there’s something to suit all travellers. And now, with the opening of Alila Jabal Akhdar in the Al Hajar mountains, the heartlands are also opening up to nature-lovers. It’s here you’ll find the real Oman: crumbling hill villages, sand-encrusted fortresses and vast echoing canyons dotted with juniper trees. In spring, terraces of roses burst into bloom painting whole valleys a splendid shade of pink. The souq at Nizwa (the former capital of Oman) is one of the liveliest in Arabia. I love to browse the stalls laden with antique khanjars (curved daggers), copper tureens and bags of frankincense for exotic gifts to take home – but really what I’m taking with me is the gentle warmth of the Omani people.
A taste of Arabia at its most exotic and enticing, offering an intoxicating fusion of glamorous resorts and timeless Islamic tradition. A ribbon of coastal villages with Old Muscat at its heart, Oman is an enthralling blend of ancient sights and Islamic customs, sprinkled with a touch of eastern glamour. The turquoise waters of Al Jissah Bay glint and dazzle…the fjords and vertiginous cliffs of the Musandam Peninsula take the breath away. Amongst the souks the alleys throng with men in their dishdasha robes and muzzar turbans , the ladies elegant and animated in their flowing abeyyas. Stalls glitter with ceremonial daggers; the spicy scents of cardamom, saffron, frankincense and turmeric assail the senses. Out of the city, the desert blooms with feathery palms and citrus groves, the traditional reed houses evocative of an old Arabian way of life...the whitewashed desert forts still standing proud. On the horizon, a mirage turns out to be a wadi with a deep, inviting pool. Bump over the endless dunes of the Wahiba desert on an off-road safari to visit a traditional Bedouin camp where in true Arabic fashion all manner of dishes are served: finger bowls of hummus, olives, salads and marinated meats. Stride up a high dune as the sun dips behind exquisite undulations of ever-shifting land. Enjoy a spectacular drive through the Hajar Mountains to reach the impressive seventeenth century fort of Nizwa, set majestically in a palm oasis explore the historic buildings of one of Oman’s oldest forts before returning to Muscat and ending a memorable day with an enchanting sunset cruise.
Oman experiences high temperatures throughout the year with minimal rainfall. The best time to visit is between October and March when it is cooler. During the summer months temperatures rise considerably, whilst hotel rates are at their lowest and offers are most attractive.
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