Some photos were taken during our own exploration, without guests; in the group tours, the luggage transport is by support vehicle.
'Sesame open yourself', with that magical password Ali Baba managed to open the treasure room of the forty robbers in the well-known Arabian fairy tale. Great wealth then awaited him, but not without a struggle.
Oman has the slogan 'Beauty has an Address', according to us it could also have been 'Sesame open yourself': what a fairy-tale country!
The capital Muscat immediately surprises you, with its balanced mix of Arabian authenticity and modern prosperity. There is greenery everywhere, on the coast of a desert land. The low and light-colored buildings give Muscat the nickname 'White City'. There is no trace of metropolitan arrogance or aloofness, hospitality is everywhere. This is Islam in a contemporary, moderate form.
The treasure room will only open fully when you leave for the countryside: what an impressive nature, what a space, what a variation as well.
The wadis, dry river valleys, are our favorite cycling routes. Usually they are dry, but they also have something of an oasis, because a (small) part of the year (much) water flows through it.
For me, Oman is above all:
- sleeping in a wadi in the open air, under a clear starry sky;
- cycling through beautiful rugged mountain scenery, with challenging climbs and descents on dusty paths;
- the traditional goat market.
The mountains in Oman have their own characteristic, what a diversity.
And what a very relaxed population: hospitable and friendly!
I remember Oman a lot, it is a great country. I found the landscape feerique, mainly due to the alternation of lunar landscape and beautiful green wadis, an occasional village. The residents were super hospitable, I have never been offered so much food & drink (and overnight stays😉).
For both of us, the few nights of wild camping were a whole new experience!
The mountain paths are what Ali Baba had to cope with for his wealth: a power to overcome. Swinging through the most beautiful areas, these paths are sometimes so steep, we have never been to a country with such sharp gradients. With all the packs on the bike - during the group tours we have jeeps for the luggage - we had to get off the bike regularly. But always with that feeling of having ended up in a fairy tale, 'away from the world', of being one with nature.
Wadi Bani Awf is different from Wadi Mailas and that is different from Wadi ...: there is so much variation in Oman.
In addition to the wadis, Jebel Shams is literally and figuratively the highlight of Oman for cyclists. 'The Grand Canyon of Oman' is a term not without pretention, but for sure the area is so impressive that we stay there two days.
To further increase the variation, we conclude with two days along the coast, southeast of Muscat.
'Sesame open yourself', when you have arrived in Oman, the door no longer closed, the country stays in your heart.
Beauty has left an address.
ITINERARY CYCLING HOLIDAY OMAN
- Day 1: welcome to Muscat, with a visit to the old bazaar ('souk') of Mutrah.
- Day 2: after an early transfer, we cycle into Wadi Bani Awf. The low number of (mostly unpaved) kilometers of 45 is confusing: this is one of the toughest days. But certainly one of the nicest! The resort where we stay is beautiful on the top, at almost two thousand meters.
- Day 3: downhill more than 20 km to Al Hamra, then climb 35 km to Jebel Shams, 'The Grand Canyon of Oman'. Mainly asphalt, but with a few very steep parts.
- Day 4: the 'Balcony Walk' offers the most beautiful sights Jebel Shams has to offer in a 3-hour walk. In the afternoon possibly a (unpaved) bike ride, but the resort is also a great place to take a rest.
- Day 5: back down to Al Hamra and on to Nizwa, the former capital of Oman (95 km).
- Day 6: visit of the weekly goat market, the souk and the Nizwa fort. After lunch, 50 km cycling and wild camping for the first time: a true thousand-star accommodation in Oman! The cook will tell more Arabic fairy tales at the campfire 😉
- Day 7: after a short transfer - which can also be cycled - 100 km to Ismaiyyah, asphalted and relatively flat. Again 'bush camp'.
- Day 8: the scenic ‘Queen's ride’. After 10 km 'false flat', unpaved, a 'wall' of 6 km follows. Vehicles are available for this climb. The 20 km on the plateau show a completely different landscape from the days before. There is really no one here. In the last 15 km we descend steeply to the sea, more than a mile down. A 45 km long asphalted coastal road brings us to the comfort of a comfy hotel in Sur.
- Day 9: 70 km asphalt along the coast to Qurayyat, where we drive 15 km into the Wadi Mailas, a gem. Our last 'bush camp'.
- Day 10: 90 km to Muscat, via Wadi Al Luhlu, a true final stage.
- Day 11: rest, enjoy, say goodbye.
PRICES CYCLING TOUR OMAN
Our combination of small groups, foreign areas and full care cannot possibly be low-budget, certainly in an expensive country like Oman. On the other hand, the price for participating in a trip covers almost all costs on the spot, because included are:
- all overnight stays
- the full supply of drinks and food in the hotels and restaurants (in Oman without alcoholic drinks)
- the cycling Dutch- and English-speaking guidance and that of a support vehicle that transports the luggage and possibly people & bicycles
- all transport and logistics between the starting and finishing place Muscat
- the complete equipment for comfortable camping in the wild, incl. a field kitchen with cook
- all entrance fees
Participation in the tour costs 1,695 euros per person. For those who want a single room/tent, the price is 295 euros higher.
In practice, pocket money spent will be less than 5 euros per day.
- the daily cleaning, maintenance and repair of clothes and bicycle. In other words, in cycling terms: the care of mechanic and soigneur. This option costs 130 euros once, and then also applies to all future (hopefully many) Tropical Cyclist trips.
There are excellent flights of, for example, Turkish Airlines for just over 400 euros.
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