The increased popularity of the Tour of Oman has also meant Oman has crept onto cycling lovers’ radars over the past few years, with trails winding through the ancient Omani landscapes that can also be discovered on foot, on four wheels or even by camel. With seven-hour daily non-stop flights and only four hours difference with GMT you can hit the ground running.
A Bedouin nation, camping is enjoyed all over Oman in locations close to the capital, Muscat, on the mountain tops of Jabal Shams or Al Jabal Al Akhdar, in the desert in Wahiba Sands or The Empty Quarter Dhofar and lush green valleys of Dhofar. For a truly unforgettable experience families can witness the magnificence of camping on the Dimaniyat Islands or on one of the secluded beaches that spread across the Musandam Governorate.
With around 3,165km of coastline to explore of white, sandy, Indian Ocean beaches, coves and spectacular mountains spilling straight into the sea, snorkelling and diving is a fantastic way to encounter exotic underwater species from reef sharks to turtles. With over 40 sites to choose from, one of the best places to begin is Muscat, and in particular the UNESCO rated Dimaniyat Islands, home to coral gardens and the occasional leopard shark. Diving centres offer lessons and cater to all ages and abilities, with snorkelling being offered as an easy alternative for those who want to get up close and personal with marine life.
Many of Oman’s top soft adventure experiences involve the Sultanate’s wildlife with dolphin and whale watching tours departing from several resorts. Oman’s shores are home to many species of whale, including the largest blue whales and the unique Arabian humpbacks, or for more adventure Arabian leopard tracking.
Getting out on the water is a must for boat lovers. One of the best spots for sailing is the famous Musandam Peninsula at the country’s northernmost tip, making for fantastic views with vast rocky peaks rising from the sea and remote villages lining the shoreline. Oman is also the only country in the region where you can charter bareboats which offers sailors the chance to explore the coast unsupervised or with a qualified skipper. Oman Sail offer sailing courses and charters for families who are less experienced.
Oman is a surfer’s paradise. Transform the ordinary family beach holiday into something special, and make the most of the Sultanate’s year-round waves and consistent swells. One popular surfing spot for the experienced surfing family is Asilah, around four hours drive from Muscat, with waves that can reach up to 6ft high in the summer. For something a little different, Kite Surfing Lessons Oman, run beginner kite surfing courses for families who want to make the most of the swell and try something away from the norm.
For families looking to keep their feet on dry land, hiking can be a great way to experience Oman’s ancient landscapes. With trails to suit all fitness levels, from leisurely coastal strolls to full-on mountain treks with one of the most exciting areas to explore being the foothills of the Western Hajar Mountains. The cool mountain air, beautiful flora and fauna, and the fruit trees contribute to the unusually lush desert landscape for families to enjoy. Oman is also one of the world’s most exciting destinations for climbers with numerous mountain ranges. For younger families and beginners, the indoor wall at the Muscat Diving & Adventure Centre allows visitors to improve and hone their skills before tackling anything more adventurous, followed by the Via Ferrata.
Visitors can hire a mountain bike and get off the beaten track, heading north to the Jebel Akhdar mountain range, or stay near Muscat and head into the Hajar Mountains 3,000 metres up, winding through ancient villages and offering exquisite views. Guided rides are available for all levels, or alternatively families can create their own agenda to explore the cities and their surroundings.
A visit to Oman would hardly be complete without exploring the country from atop a camel. Visitors can take a trip out onto the Wahiba Sands Desert, a couple of hours from Muscat. For a unique adventure, dine amongst the dunes with a Bedouin family and then venture out on a camel ride to learn the secrets of the ancient Bedouin tribes.
In addition to these adventure activities, Oman offers families a variety of fascinating cultural events, including the annual Muscat Festival, with sport, music and art, and the Salalah Tourism Festival, incorporating activities from children’s theatre to a kite festival.
For those looking to combine adventure with luxury Oman has a range of Boutique, Luxury and Resort hotels with kids club and crèche facilities on site.