Oman Road Trip
Oman is full of vast deserts, beautiful beaches, forts & other culture and a high mountain range.
Getting behind the wheel on a self-drive itinerary opens up this fascinating country even more. You’re free to explore at your own pace, and it allows you to get off-the-beaten-track.
A few general tips when driving the Oman itinerary
If you drive in Oman you have to keep a few things in mind to not get lost or get into trouble.
The worst thing that can happen is you end up without gas in the middle of nowhere; or two flat tires. Or, hitting a camel – that wouldn’t be too cool, either.
- Always fill up the tank if it’s half empty, to avoid running out of gas. Especially in area’s where there are no towns.
- Make sure you have a spare tire and the tools to change it. If you need to change it do go to the nearest place to get the other fixed. The last thing you want is two flat tires.
- Take enough water and snacks with you. There will be parts where there are no restaurants or shops.
- Have a good GPS device or smartphone with a car charger. Make sure your maps are offline as there is not always internet service.
- If you are planning to go off-road, opt in for a 4×4 car.
- Don’t drive in the dark – there are so many camels on road and most road don’t have lights.
Don’t worry, Oman is perfectly safe to drive. Roads are overall in excellent condition.
When to go
The best time visit Oman is from August to September when the wadis are filled with water and Salalah is lush and green (“Khareef”, monsoon season).
Muscat to Salalah in 7 days
Day 1: Muscat
- Check in at the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa.
- Visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in the morning. The mosque is only open to visitors in the mornings from 8 am to 11 am, except on Thursdays and Fridays.
Remember to dress modestly before heading there, no shorts for men and woman must cover their knees, shoulders and head.
- Get a taste of Omani food and have lunch at the Ubhar restaurant at the Bareeq Al Shati Mall.
- After lunch, head to the Bait az-Zubair Museum. The museum features displays of the Omani social history.
- Late afternoon drive to the corniche and the Muttrah souk. The souk (arabic word for marketplace) includes a fish market and has several shops selling textiles, souvenirs, traditional Omani handicrafts and food. Don’t forget to bargain.
- Close the day with dinner at the Shangri-La Hotel.
Day 2: Drive to Sur
Total distance: 200 km (-> google maps directions)
- Leave Muscat in the early morning and follow road 17. The road will first lead in land and later follow along the Indian Ocean.
- Take a first stop right after Dibab. Follow the signs to the Dibab sinkhole (also known as Bimmah Sinkhole) . It’s a relatively small sinkhole within the Hawiyat Najm Park. Take a dip in the green water or cliff-jump. The hole is 40 metres wide and about 20 metres under the surface.
- After leaving the sinkhole, drive further until Tiwi. Dont miss driving through this tiny fisher village, a gem of the Omani countryside. There is nothing to do in Tiwi itself, but it will give you an idea of the simple Omani life.
At the end of the village you will see a sign leading to the Wadi Tiwi. Follow that road until it ends. You will underpass a high bridge and reach the entrance of the wadi.
- Stop at the Wadi Tiwi sign. You can either just enjoy the few pools at the beginning of the wadi or for the more adventurous people, park your car and hike through the narrow valley for about 45 min until you reach the Wadi Shab with its waterfalls and caves. You should calculate about half a day for exploring the Wadi if you want to experience the full beauty of it.
- Leave Wadi Shab heading back to road 17. Drive for another 45 minutes (50 km) until you reach the final destination of the day, Sur. Check in at the Sur Plaza Hotel and stay for the night.
Day 3: Sur to the Turtle Beach Resort
Before leaving Sur, take a stroll along the corniche of Sur where you can witness the fishers embarking with their boats to the sea.
- Buy some food in the supermarket for lunch.
- Head to the unspoiled beaches of Ras al-Hadd, take a swim and have a picnic lunch by the sea.
- Drive to the Turtle Beach Resort in the afternoon. Total distance: around 50 km (-> google maps directions)
- Drive to Wadi Bani Khalid (123 km). Follow road 23 until you reach the Oriental Nights Rest House and take a right turn, after 25 km you will reach the Wadi pools and cave around Muqal town (-> google map directions).
Dedicate about 2 hours to explore the area.
- Drive to the Turtle Beach Resort ( 170 km -> google map directions)
At the Turtle Beach Resort, book yourself in for an evening turtle watching tour. Best chance to see turtles is over the summer months.
Day 4: Turtle Beach Resort to Duqm
Total Distance: 490 km (-> google map directions)
- Leave the hotel early morning and drive along the scenic ocean route (highway 32).
- Take stops along the way to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
- Ensure to reach Duqm before the sun sets because most parts of the roads do not have lights.
- Stay over at Park Inn Duqm.
Day 5: Relax at the hotel
Since there was a lot of driving the previous day and the longest leg coming up the next day, take day 5 to relax and enjoy the various leisure facilities of the hotel.
Day 6: Duqm to Salalah
- Leave Duqm in the early morning to allow enough time for spontaneous stops along the way.
Make sure you stop by a supermarket while still in Duqm to buy some food, drinks and snacks for the way. There wont be much options to eat along the way (apart from some local street food or smaller restaurants in the villages).
- Even though google will suggest a faster route, road number 49 is the best and most interesting itinerary.
This route is very diverse with sandy desert, a mountain plateau between Lakabi and Ash Shuwaymiyyah and a long curvy drive along the ocean from Ash Shuwaymiyyah to Salalah.
- There are no major sights on this way, the drive is all about the beautiful scenery and all the camels you will see along the route.
- In Salalah, stay at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Day 7: Explore the sights in and around Salalah
- Sumharam Archaeological Site (near Taqah): Ruins of the ancient port city, camel, cow and bird watching.
- Al Mughsail Beach (about 40 km west of Salalah): Blowholes in limestone formations that spurt up water plumes with a thundering noise.
- Wadi Dirbat
- Al Fazayeh Beach (30 km west of Mughsail)
- Al Balid Archaeological Park / Frankincense Museum: Ancient ruins
- Marneef Cave
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