Over the past few years, many people have started to realize what the hidden gems throughout Oman have to offer. From high peaks to desert dunes, to a sunny oasis, here is a list of where you can set up for a night and enjoy as well as travel documents you will need to get there, including the Oman visa.
Where to start
Many tourist blogs and websites recommend that instead of bringing your camping gear, that you instead hire the things you will need from tourist operators for reasonable prices. Camping is very popular in Oman, so it will not be hard to either buy or rent the equipment you will need. Some places may also even have installation services, in case you need help in certain unfamiliar settings, such as in the desert sand.
In many parts of the country, it is allowed to set up camp as you wish. There are a few exceptions, such as the turtle nesting beaches of Ras al- Jinz, but for the most part it is very much allowed. However, do keep in mind when you camp anywhere, it is important to leave the area exactly how you found it.
Camping in the mountains
Sharaf al Alamayn
This area is a hiker’s dream. Known as the “balcony of the two worlds”, it has possibly the best view of the entire range of the mountains. Luckily, it is easy to reach with a sturdy car with 4-wheel drive. Camping near this spot is a good starting point for hiking several kinds of trails, from ancient village trails, to more treacherous hikes that reveal beautiful wadis (valleys).
This is the highest peak in Oman at 3,009 metres. And boasts some intense yet satisfying views along the “balcony walk”. Here you walk along the edge of the cliff, which peers into the impressive Wadi Ghul, which many have compared to the Grand Canyon in terms of sheer magnitude and beauty. Although the “Balcony Walk” does take you along the edge of the mountain, it is luckily wide enough to ensure a rather stress-free climb.
As for where to set up camp here, it is up to you and your wishes. Many opt for hiking up to the peak and setting up camp along the cliffs for a spectacular view. Others pitch their tents at the cushy campsites at the base of the mountain near the Jabal Shams resort for anywhere between 6 OMR to 20 OMR per person depending on food, etc.
A truly one of a kind experience in Oman is experiencing camping in the desert. Whether you decide to pitch your own tent off into the dunes for a more private experience, or camp at one of the more luxurious camping sites, both can be utterly rewarding. One thing is certain, in order to get to these beautiful sandy dunes, it is recommended to hire a driver or take a tour out there, as it can only be reached with 4-wheel drive vehicles.
Booking a desert safari can be a completely unique experience. Some activities included in these tours are hot air ballooning, quad biking as well as camel rides. Many of the more luxurious desert camping operators offer these services. The concept of “Glamping” is quite popular in Oman.
Bar al Hikman
There are many stories of how difficult it is to reach this destination. Plenty of tales of 4-wheel drive vehicles getting stuck while helping other vehicles that were also stuck in the mudflats on the trek to this destination. There are no paved roads going to Bar al Hikman. If you don’t time your trip just right, you will have to wait for the tide to recede. Travelling here is not for the faint of heart, and it is not only advised, but necessary to travel with an experienced guide.
But once you are there, your reward will be a beautiful remote white sand beach, which in the winter, is a picture perfect haven for various birds such as flamingos, egrets, and Eurasian spoonbills. It is so remote that light posts are nowhere to be found, so your evening will be filled with incomparable star-gazing. But beware where you set camp, or you may wake up with the tide in your sleeping bag. It is important to set up camp clear of the tide, so a little research or help from your guide will make the trip that much smoother.
Anyone travelling to Oman from the UK or Europe will need to apply for an Oman visa. The Oman e-visa is easily be applied for online. There are three types of tourist visas : one for a maximum stay of 10 days, one for a maximum stay of 30 days, and the last one is for travellers who wish to take multiple trips during one year, each time for a maximum of 30 days. Each of these visas has a different cost. Please note that the visa must be applied for before departure. It is no longer possible to obtain a visa upon arrival in Oman.