Note: This is a complete Oman travel guide for people looking for a road trip or camping in Oman.
Oman is a country in the Middle East with serene Nature, picturesque mountains and lakes, rich in culture and very close to U.A.E where I live. With no excess wealth and massive modernization, Oman gives a rare opportunity to indulge into the real Arab Kingdom .
For its laid-back fishing towns, natural pools , lush green wadis (like salalah) and crystal clear beaches, Oman is an exotic travel destination in Middle East. Having very little and really expensive tourism infrastructure, no doubt that Oman is an off the beaten track destination. Camping is the best thing to do in Oman for its exclusively diverse landscapes other than just desert.
In a rush? Save it in your travel bucket list for later.
Table of Content
- Why I visited Oman
- Best time to visit Oman
- How to get there
- Getting around in Oman
- Visa process from UAE border to Oman border
- 4 Days perfect Oman itinerary
- Best camping sites in Oman
Why I visited Oman?
A long weekend was at the corner due to UAE National day i.e. 2nd Dec. I started searching for interesting things to do or a small country to visit during this holiday. While brainstorming I came across a getaway deal named ‘Camping in Oman‘ on meetup* app. I immediately confirmed the last 2 spots left for this trip. There were total 20 people from UAE including me and my partner, who were going to explore some amazing camping sites in Oman with this trip.
*Meetup is a a popular app in UAE, majorly for its 85% of expats population. This app helps you in socializing with other people and making new friends. It’s interesting how it connects like minded people. If you are away from your hometown, family and friends then this can be a life saviour.
I may not have gone where I intended to go but I ended up where I intended to be…
Best time to visit Oman for camping
Well, I don’t think that I really need to answer that as we all know winter is the only best time to travel to any Middle Eastern country. Although, you must check the weather here before planning your trip.
Things to Carry: Sunscreen, hat, hiking shoes, water, snacks, tent, sleeping bag, fire wood, torch, mattress, pillow, beach chair, table, towels, beachwear, hiking equipments, and other camping essentials.
How to get there?
You may take a flight to Muscat or you can opt to travel by road (if you live in a neighbouring country like UAE). I love road trips as I enjoy my Punjabi playlist on the stereo and munching lots of snacks throughout my journey. There are many tourist companies which take big groups by bus as well, you can opt for that too.
Getting around in Oman
The best way to explore most interesting places in Oman is by car. Transport system and roads are excellent in the cities especially in Muscat. Although, public transport is not available in remote areas such as wadi, mountains and desert. Hence, it’s better to rent a 4WD and travel independently.
Driving around Oman is easier than you can imagine. Highways are broader and well paved with sign boards in English and Arabic. With that said……. getting lost is most common in the desert when outside the urban area. Make sure to download the offline Map before you hit the road.
Visa Process from UAE Border to Oman Border
At Exact 6 AM we left from Abu Dhabi (UAE) to Mazyad UAE Border which was mere 2:30 hours drive from my home. Everyone was meeting at the border and had to continue together from there. Our passport were stamped with Exit stamps on the UAE side border before entering the Oman border.
At Oman border you will get your passport and Oman insurance checked. Be careful with the small ticket they give as it will be required at the exit gates of the compound.
Tip # If you ever plan to go to Oman from UAE by road, be ready to wait for 2 hours for cross border procedure even if you have an e-visa.
4 days Itinerary for camping in Oman
First time in my life I was going to a country that I had no idea about, never seen pictures of, never read about , no itinerary nothing. Although, I have planned a perfect itinerary for you to explore incredible places in Oman and explore Oman’s best camping sites.
Around 11.30 am we arrived in the land of Sultanate Oman and we all had breakfast together. The organizer introduced himself and asked everyone’s names and what they do etc. It was an initiative to break the silence and awkwardness between the people. After a little intro, we were all ready to visit some best places in Oman.
Day 1 Wadi Dham & Jebel Shams
Lost in Oman on very first day
Yes, we got lost on the way and by We, I don’t mean the entire group it was only the two of us. Bad GPS connectivity made us drive for 3-4 hours to and fro but still couldn’t find the spot.
Strangely, all shops were closed during afternoon and nobody was there that we could ask for help. We were completely frustrated plus hungry and about to give up. We parked the car in front of a supermarket which was closed. Suddenly out of nowhere a local came to rescue us from that situation. I think he might have heard us talking (screaming actually) and blaming each other out of frustration. He asked us where we wanted to go and told us to follow him which we did (as if we had a choice). After 10-15 mins of drive, he showed us the right road towards the spot. Thankfully that guy saved our trip from getting ruined and we thanked him from the bottom of our hearts.
We missed visiting the lake in Wadi Dham which was 40-45 mins walk up and down, since we reached so late. Everyone had already come back from Wadi Dham and we moved forward with the group.
The second spot was Jebel Al Shams which is the Middle East Grand Canyon. We had to drive through scary mountain road which was extremely dangerous and adventurous at the same time. My partner was excited to drive but at the same time was careful on the pedal as one small mistake here or there could have resulted into an accident. It was amazing to see the big Karawan driving on the treacherous path looking like a serpent. The road is sometimes so steep almost 45 degrees, you will get thoughts like what if the car engine stops. LOL.
The Canyon in Oman is massive and worth coming all the way here. We decided to camp that night on the cliff for the best view.
It’s time to unload the equipments from the cars to set up the kitchen for food preparation before it turned dark. Around the sunset time we made bonfire and everyone was sitting around that in a circle. BBQ dinner was exceptionally delicious. The credit goes to the guys, not only for their cooking skills but not letting the women do any work. Women were busy drinking, smoking sheehsa and dancing around the fire 😛
After the dinner, the temperature fell down and the wind picked up unexpectedly. It got extremely chilly and difficult to stay up there. Most of the campers started to move towards their tents. While some were still enjoying the cold sitting on top of the mountain. We called it a day as we were too tired.
Day 2 Wadi Ghul & Fins Beach
The next morning crazy wind had died (thank goodness). View from the cliff was breathtaking. The pleasant weather made it a perfect moment to enjoy your tea watching the sunrise. It was definitely the best camping site in Oman
A bunch of enthusiastic campers began to make a traditional breakfast. It was my fav Shakshuka with turkish coffee and arabic ghahwa. OMG, these guys had everything from car – o – bar to fully equipped kitchen and even a portable bathroom to take shower , imagine !
After breakfast we hiked to the top of the mountain and explored some unusual photo spots ( for instagram.. Obvio). Our organizer was passionate about outdoor adventure. He showed us some crazy stunts by jumping from one rock to another which was at quite a distance on the cliff.
While getting down we found a small village where some locals were selling water, tea and coffee outside their homes. Due to non commercialization you won’t find any coffee shop or restaurants near any tourist place.
It was so much fun to travel with strangers and getting to know them. We didn’t feel tired at all that day. Late afternoon we found a town on the way where we did some grocery shopping, refueled our cars and had our lunch. Post lunch we moved to Fins Beach where we were going to camp that night.
Since we reached our camping site early this time, we were able to set up things on time. After dinner we played some games like dumbcahardes around the bonfire before finally dozing off in our tents.
Day 3 Wadi Tiwi & Wadi Shab
I was blown away by the view from my tent window. Imagine opening your eyes in the morning and seeing the sun rising above the water, Oooohhh incredible! Now you thinking how come I was up so early right. C’mon who would want to miss a mesmerizing sunrise on a beach. I am lazy but not an idiot, you guys. It was a day to explore the most stunning and magical place in Oman which I have heard of the most. We did a good session of Yoga and meditation on the beach before going for a swim in the sea.
A pristine and gorgeous mountain range with very little development. Wadi tiwi and wadi shab are located in the same place. The wadi is surrounded by lush green mountains , beautiful little waterfall, natural pool and a hidden cave.
Oops, I forgot to mention that it is not accessible by car. So before you start, use restroom near the car park as you will not find anything throughout the way. Literally there is -no cafe, bar, restaurant or even an entry ticket 😀 (zero commercialization)
To reach wadi shab, there is a short boat ride across the water that costs 1 Omani Rial per person. It takes approx 1 hour to get to the cave ( real gem). You finish wadi hike and then swim through narrow cracks to see the hidden cave and mini waterfall. Lots of scrambling but trust me it’s all worth the effort. Remember to wear hiking boots as stones are slippery in the cave. Click here to watch how to get to Wadi Shab.
Remember to come back before the sunset to catch the last boat to go back to the car park.
From there we camped at the Tiwi Rocky Beach, That night the sky was dark and filled with stars. We placed our mats on the warm and gentle sand. Turned on some soft music and lost ourselves in stargazing.
If you are also into stargazing, don’t plan your trip during full moon as its too bright and stars are barely visible.
Day 4 Bimmah Sinkhole & Old Muscat
Well the best part about camping trip is waking up early with the sunrise and the sound of sea waves. After breakfast, we left for bimmah Sinkhole which is a natural and stunning formation of a well with turquoise crystalline water. It was perfect to soak yourself or get a natural fish spa by dipping your feet into the water. I tried it for the first time and it really blew my mind the way tiny fishes were eating up the dead skin ( but too much tickling).
Apart from green ravines, sand dunes, skyscraper filled with palm trees, grand canyon and ocean blue beaches, Oman has the most welcoming People and the tastiest local cuisine.
What’s better than a full course meal that includes a dip, kabab/curry, some bread and rice. And, I love Arabic cuisine except it’s not as spicy as Indian food. 😛
Muscat Old city
If you like to experience the charm of tradition and culture of an old city then you must visit old Muscat. There is old souk and Grand Mosque in Muscat that are worth visiting.
Remember to cover yourself completely before entering in the mosque to respect the religious sentiments.
Locals are very friendly and helpful. Try to interact with them if you get a chance as we did while camping. They are extremely nice and worth mentioning. If you plan to travel to Oman for camping, do let me know for dos and don’ts. I would definitely recommend you to visit Oman.