Destinations

Oman opens doors to agents

Tara Harrison

Oman Tourism has taken 30 Australian and New Zealand agents on an in-depth famil over seven days.

The tour kicked off in capital Muscat, with an overnight stay at Grand Hyatt Muscat., located on a long stretch of beach. Then it was time for some haggling at Mutrah Souk, the oldest in Arabia.

The next day the agents and Oman Tourism staff visited the Grand Mosque, with a 17 tonne Swarovski crystal chandelier as well as the largest hand stitched Persian carpet in the world.

After that, the touring began. Oman is the size of Italy, so it is best tackled with a driver guide and 4WD vehicle. Split between nine cars, the group travelled to Sur and stopped along the way at striking emerald green sinkholes and wadi pools.

Rass Al Jinz was the evening’s stop, which is renowned for its turtle nesting. Everyone was fortunate enough to see leatherback turtles laying their eggs as well as some newborn hatchlings scooping their way into the sea.

The next day brought further stunning scenery with a swim at mountain oasis Wadi Bani Khalid, before a distinct contrast to the green springs: the desert of Wahiba Sands. Sand duning had to be done in this setting in 4WD’s with experienced drivers and guides from Oman World Tourism. The next day the group visited a local Bedouin family for some traditional Omani hospitality, which always involves coffee and dates.

Nizwa and its ancient fort was next on the agenda, with its stark symmetry overlooking the town’s mosque and palm tree plantations. A drive through mountain scenery afterwards led the group to Jebel Shams, the tallest mountain in Oman. Translating to sun mountain, it is the first place to be kissed by the sun come morning and the last to see the sunset. Which was good news, as the group witnessed the sunset over the canyon.

Stay tuned, Travel Weekly will have more updates on the trip next week.


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