There are well-kept secrets, destinations shrouded in an aura of mystery, names with legendary consonants as if they had emerged from the tracing of a calligrapher: Oman. Native land of Sindbad the Sailor. Mythical lair of the fabulous city of Ubar whose splendour magnetized the author of the Thousand and One Nights, but provoked the wrath of God. A melting pot of history jealously watched over by forts and sentinel towers, castles kneaded into the land, ancient cities filled with murmurs... Wherever the footsteps lead, the past emanates. The sultanate also multiplies landscapes and ecosystems: vertiginous fjords, steep mountains cut by gorges, virgin beaches hemmed by a turquoise sea, rocky or fertile plains, orange sand dunes, lush oases, wadis dug by pools of pure water ... This varied inland relief allows all adventures (trekking, canyoning, camel riding, 4x4 ...) when the almost virgin coastline promotes all the pleasures of the seaside. It is here, as a tribute to this Orient of our fantasies: a plural, ecological and unexpected Arabia, far from mass tourism and usual destinations... By boat, on foot, in 4x4, on camel back... the sultanate can be discovered on all rhythms and following all styles: the rusticity of a tent planted in the middle of nowhere, the conviviality of a guesthouse or the luxury of a high standing palace. Surprising and varied, Oman lends itself to all types of tourism, the ideal being to mix and match!
Oman, an authentic destination
The Sultanate is one of the safest countries in the Gulf and its political stability is indisputable. Recently opened to the outside world, Oman has not yet been damaged by the tourism industry. There are no queues in museums, the beaches are little frequented, the coasts conceal very beautiful lonely coves, the hiking trails as well as the most visited areas never suffer from intensive traffic... It is even frequent to find oneself alone or with a handful of tourists on an archaeological site or simply in a village: a pleasure of the exclusivity that only emerging destinations can provide... Like an impression of off-field, timeless travel. At the same time, the local population is very attached to its values and, under the leadership of Sultan Qaboos, takes care to preserve its customs and heritage. The inhabitants still wear traditional costume in large numbers, even in Muscat. The precepts of Islam punctuate the course of the days. Villages and ancient monuments are gradually being rehabilitated. Contrary to the nearby emirates, the sultanate does not suffer from a hyperbolic real estate frenzy. Even if some very large projects are underway, the whole country remains wild and unspoilt, with just the right amount of quality infrastructure (excellent road network in particular) to facilitate access to all regions. Muscat itself remains a capital city on a human scale, without skyscrapers or high-rise buildings: a welcoming Arab city, as if melted into its natural environment, like the country's other metropolises. Here, one can taste the attractions of a privileged discovery, with a perfume of adventure, of clearing, as at the approach of these hamlets perched on the side of mountains and which can only be won by the effort of a walk. Almost a reward.
And because of a culture of exchange strongly rooted in customs for millennia, the Omanis show great kindness towards foreign visitors whom they consider privileged guests. If a certain vigilance is de rigueur as it is absolutely everywhere in the world, one can therefore travel to the Sultanate in complete safety and confidence and not hesitate to accept possible invitations to drink coffee: cardamom kawa, accompanied by a few fresh dates to reduce the bitterness, an institution!
Unspoilt nature, a paradise for green and sports tourism
Since Sultan Qaboos came to power in 1970, the government has integrated environmental issues into its policy. Several animal species (white oryx, Arabian leopard...) are protected, hunting is prohibited by royal decree, several areas have been declared and classified as Nature Reserves, etc. These initiatives have promoted the preservation of Omani biodiversity and make the Sultanate a fully-fledged ecotourism destination. The seabed is rich, the coasts contain several sea turtle breeding sites, territorial waters are home to a large population of dolphins, whales are found offshore... At the same time, the country remains sparsely populated and therefore little built. The desert expanses are immense, as are the high and jagged mountains, the lush oases: nature with a big "N", spacious, sincere, of a beautiful geological diversity. You take your hiking boots with you and let yourself be guided through XXL panoramas: infinite dunes, isolated beaches, gorges and canyons, unexpected fjords, oases, wadis, deserts... The topology of the country is exceptional. All forms of relief seem to be found in the Sultanate, which is a favourite terrain for lovers of nature, wide open spaces and geological curiosities. In spite of an arid climate, the flora presents a real diversity, as does the fauna, which is also quite varied: a very rich sea bed, an abundance of dolphins (observation cruises), superb sea turtle reproduction sites, lagoons and islets populated by marine or migratory birds, etc. Virtually no pollution: we can breathe!
In Oman, in addition to the myriad of seaside activities, you can also have fun practicing many sports such as walking, trekking, canyoning, speleology, sand skiing, kitesurfing, diving, golf, paragliding..
Oman, a seaside destination..
Hundreds of kilometres of coastline and beautiful beaches, either completely isolated or partially developed in front of large hotels. Several luxury resorts in Muscat (east), Salalah and Taqah (south) and an exceptional establishment in the Mussandam peninsula. Kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing, scuba diving, traditional dhow cruises, walks on the beach or simply swimming and lazing around. The water temperature is pleasant, the color is engaging and cruises are possible at night.
... with a rich cultural heritage
Hundreds of forts, castles, watchtowers, bastions ... are scattered throughout the territory and are gradually being rehabilitated. Still partially unknown, the Omani archaeological and historical heritage also includes several sites classified by UNESCO (such as the citadel of Balha, the tombs of Bat, the Incense Route and Sumhuram in the south...). Several ruins of ancient villages, with old carved wooden doors and architecture from another era, punctuate the landscape. Some interesting museums have been set up in the most touristic areas. And the local populations keep their traditions and costumes: beautiful scenes of life in perspective... Don't miss the souks and markets.
When? The best season to visit the north and centre of the Sultanate of Oman is winter, between November and March when temperatures are mild (around 25°C during the day). But the months of October and April are also very pleasant and more favourable for swimming in the sea, as they are warmer. It is moreover during these two months that divers will find optimal visibility
As for the south of the country, it can be visited all year round, but to fully enjoy the beauty of the Dhofar region, it is best to go there in summer, from June to September, during the monsoon season (kareef). The vegetation is then extremely lush and the climate very pleasant.
How to get there. Count about 7h30 of flight between Paris and Muscat
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