We have 2 weeks left in Turkey. Bangkok next. But being 3 weeks removed from our Nizwa trip, I want to share 4 cool things to do in the magical Sultanate of Oman.
After 2 months in the desert I have to say: Kelli and I did as much stuff during the stretch as we have anywhere. No joke. So we have an inkling of how you can genuinely enjoy the place.
Note; save flying in and out, we did nothing in Muscat. The massive mosque makes many Oman lists but we found Nizwa and the surrounding area to yield plenty of fun activities.
Ready to enjoy this rocking country?
1: Visit Jebel Akhdar
Breathtaking Jebel Akhdar sits high in the hills, roughly 25 minutes from Nizwa. Well; the mountain base sits 25 minutes from town. Add 30 minutes or more to navigate windy roads to the top and around this magical spot.
We prepped to rent a car. I visited the ATM because the dude took no credit cards. Omani man asks our plans, I note, he offers $65 USD for the entire day, he driving. Hell yeah! Almost half price and he drives? I was in. You can rent a 4X4 for about $100 or so, but go with a driver. Take pictures. Easier experience.
Valleys, mountains, farming, and temps run roughly 10 degrees F cooler than Nizwa, way up in the hills. This famous tourist spot churns out Instagram worthy shots left and right.
Note: you need a 4X4 to take the trip. Police at the checkpoint will turn around saloons or any other vehicle sans 4 wheel drive. Steep grades and hair pin turns means you better have 4 brake pads working for you.
2: Visit a Mall
Most countries offer a bland mall experience. Malls on the Arabian Peninsula boast that Mall Culture feel. I mean; temperatures hit 130 F or higher during summer months so people do everything inside. Malls house ice skating rinks, amusement parks and all types of shops. Nizwa Grand Mall offered archery and a fine Carrefour to boot.
Nizwa Grand Mall is a must visit mall. Not huge, but fabulously designed. A mini marvel.
3: Drive through the Desert around Nizwa
We spotted no less than 30 wild camels spread out over a half dozen drives all around Nizwa. Rent a car. Go wild. No need for a 4X4; sure you can off road it but I found highways to be great for seeing wildlife and stunning scenery.
Driving in Oman is easy peasy. Locals tend to obey traffic laws. Minus the odd person riding your tail, no problems. Plus virtually all folks honor the national speed limit of 120 KPH. Radar cameras every few miles on major highways.
I secured my international driver’s license via Triple A in New Jersey but read you need not an international license for your first 6 months in Oman. I’d play it safe and invest in the international license.
4: Visit Misfat Al-Abriyeen
A mountain oasis sitting in the middle of a barren, arid desert, Misfat blew my doors off. Palm trees. Plants. Agriculture. Deep canyons, bringing Land of the Lost to mind. Definitely visit this place to taste old school Oman; locals are few but you genuinely feel like you stepped back a few centuries into a simpler time.
Car rental works or if not, take a tour. Safe, well-paved road leads up to town. Take your time. No issues for me.
No admission fee. But cover shoulders to knees to respect locals. Do not take pictures of locals, either. Respect their privacy.
We figure the trip about 45 minutes from Nizwa, as the crow flies.
We deeply enjoyed our 8 weeks in the Nizwa area of this kind, generous Muslim nation.
Have a blast doing these way cool things in Oman.
Experience some world-renowned Middle Eastern hospitality, sweet locals, stunning beauty and more camels than you can shake a stick at.