A group of riders in the Arabian desert
Oman

Sea, desert and wadi of Oman

Explore the Sultanate of Oman on a horseback holiday, riding from the capital city of Muscat to the Wahiba sands. You will ride across a variety of landscapes, from the coastal plains along the Gulf of Oman and their turquoise waters, to the golden dunes of Erg Wahiba. You will also encounter surprising "wadis" tight in the heart of the mountains, and discover a country whose history is steeped horseback riding.
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Trail Riding
10 days (5 riding)
From £2,550
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Itinerary

Highlights

- A ride between sea and desert to the Wahiba sands
- A cultural experience with a local team of Bedouins, camping in the desert
- Fit Arabian horses built for desert rides
  • Day 1 1 : EUROPE - MUSCAT

    Overnight flight to Oman.
    Flights are not included but can be booked upon request.
  • Day 2 2 : MUSCAT

    Arrival at Seeb international airport and transfer to your hotel. The cost of the transfer is not included and is approx. OM15, or £30. We will organise this transfer for you.

    Muscat is one of the oldest cities in the Middle East, its origins being traced back to the 6th millenium B.C. In the afternoon you are free to explore the city. Mutrah Souk is one of the most popular souk in the Middle East: take a walk through this fascinating labyrinth and its goods, from imported fabrics to exotic Oriental spices, perfumes and richly handcrafted Artifacts. A visit to this frenetic, pulsating hub of Muscat's old quarter makes for a delightful experience. The Al Alam Palace, the official residence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, is also worth a visit. The palace is an architectural marvel for both its design and its location between the twin Portuguese forts Mirani and Jalali.

    Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at a 3*** hotel.
  • Day 3 3 : MUSCAT - SAWADI - WAHIBA - 1-2 hours riding

    After breakfast, you will be driven to the Sultan Qaboos grand mosque. Drive to Barka and for a visit of a Halwa factory - a sticky, sweet snack made from brown sugar, honey, eggs and various spices.

    Afternoon at your leisure at the hotel, afternoon sea ride at sunset.
  • Day 4 4 : WAHIBA SANDS - 4 hours riding

    The next five riding days will see you ride through the amazing Wahiba sand desert. Wahiba is famous for its immensity of red sand dunes, camels and bedouins.

    Today, after breakfast, you will tack up the horses and get ready for your first ride through the desert. The local team is made of Bedouins who own and breed their own horses. At the end of the day you will set up your mobile camp for the night, and enjoy the sun set over the golden and red sands of the Erg Wahiba before enjoying a traditional meal.

    Overnight at camp
  • Day 5 5 : WAHIBA SANDS - 4 hours riding

    Riding in the Wahiba Sands. This is a real challenge for all but the perfect place to spend time with the Bedouins who have inhabited this desert for centuries. The Omanis Bedouins are very proud and hospitality is an important part of their way of life. You will be invited into nomadic camps, made of palm leaves, and perhaps meet some of the camel caravans that still cross this desert – the Omanis are famous for breeding the best camels of the Middle East. To avoid the heat of the day you will copy the Bedouins and ride in the early morning and late afternoon/evening (or even at night), with long mid-day siestas. You ride south eastward for the most part, along tracks of compact sand which allow good progress, the Arab horses showing you what great stamina they have. Every evening the team of Wahiba Bedouins will set up the mobile camp and prepare the food.

    Overnight at camp.
  • Day 6 6 : WAHIBA SANDS - 4 hours riding

    Riding in the Wahiba Sands. This is a real challenge for all but the perfect place to spend time with the Bedouins who have inhabited this desert for centuries. The Omanis Bedouins are very proud and hospitality is an important part of their way of life. You will be invited into nomadic camps, made of palm leaves, and perhaps meet some of the camel caravans that still cross this desert – the Omanis are famous for breeding the best camels of the Middle East. To avoid the heat of the day you will copy the Bedouins and ride in the early morning and late afternoon/evening (or even at night), with long mid-day siestas. You ride south eastward for the most part, along tracks of compact sand which allow good progress, the Arab horses showing you what great stamina they have. Every evening the team of Wahiba Bedouins will set up the mobile camp and prepare the food.

    Overnight at camp.
  • Day 7 7 : WAHIBA SANDS - 6 hours riding

    Riding in the Wahiba Sands. This is a real challenge for all but the perfect place to spend time with the Bedouins who have inhabited this desert for centuries. The Omanis Bedouins are very proud and hospitality is an important part of their way of life. You will be invited into nomadic camps, made of palm leaves, and perhaps meet some of the camel caravans that still cross this desert – the Omanis are famous for breeding the best camels of the Middle East. To avoid the heat of the day you will copy the Bedouins and ride in the early morning and late afternoon/evening (or even at night), with long mid-day siestas. You ride south eastward for the most part, along tracks of compact sand which allow good progress, the Arab horses showing you what great stamina they have. Every evening the team of Wahiba Bedouins will set up the mobile camp and prepare the food.

    Overnight at camp.
  • Day 8 8 : WAHIBA - NIZWA - MUSCAT

    Early morning transfer to Nizwa and visit of the city. The oasis city is located on the southern edge of the Hajar Mountains, the highest mountain range of Oman. The extensive gardens and palm groves of the oasis city are dominated by the old fort with the largest tower of Oman (40 m diameter, 20 m height). Over 500 years old Falaj channels carry water in the oasis. Nizwa is an old trading centre with a large souk, where you can admire traditional silver jewellery and handicrafts.

    After Nizwa you will drive 2 hours to reach Muscat.

  • Day 9 9 : MUSCAT - EUROPE - 4 hours riding

    After a last morning ride you will say goodbye to your desert team.

    Transfer back to the airport (transfer to your account - 10/15 OM or £30/car, but we can organise it for you). If your flight leaves the next morning, we can organise an extra night at the hotel (approx. €100/£90 per room).
  • Day 10 10: MASCATE - EUROPE

    Arrive back in Europe.

Dates & prices

Price details

- Flights are not included, but can be booked for you on request.

- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a double or twin room/tent.

- Groups are composed of a minimum of 2 riders and a maximum of 8 international riders plus guides

- Transfers fo/from Muscat airport are not included and payable locally, although we will organise the transfers for you. We usually organise collection times to match the last guest's flight times, so you may have to wait for the other guests. Taxi fare is around £30.

- Single riders signing up for the ride will be invoiced a single room supplement of €225/£200. This will be refunded if you are happy to share and if we find a sharer for you.

- Optional activities (snorkelling...) can be organised and are payable locally, depending on availability.

- Riders over 85 kg/13.4 st/185 lbs: please contact us.

- Visa fees are not included and are your responsibility.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English-speaking horse guide
1 team of grooms

Logistics

1 horse equipped with saddle and bridle per rider
1 support vehicle
1 cook

Inland transport

Support vehicule and driver

Accommodation

Hotels, guesthouses and bedouin tents

Meals

Full board from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 9

Extras

Entry fees to sites mentionned in the itinerary

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverages (soft drink) and personal extras

Transport

Visa fees (e-visa)
Return airport transfers, payable locally (see dates and prices)

Extras

Tips to the local team

Optional

Accommodation

Single room/tent supplement

Extras

Trip extensions or additional activities
  • September - October 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    23/10/2020 01/11/2020 £2,550 Open Book now
    31/10/2020 09/11/2020 £2,550 Open Book now
  • November - December 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    13/11/2020 22/11/2020 £2,550 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

The herd consists of Arabians and Anglo Arabians, fit and built to withstand the heat of the desert. They are well behaved but sensitive and you should be an experienced rider with a quiet hand and steady seat.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You should be a capable rider who is happy riding outdoors in all paces. You should be able to control your horse (speed and direction) in walk, trot and canter whilst maintaining a light hand. You must be able to canter in a forward seat. The terrain is varied and you can ride on the sand and over stony tracks, which means you should be used to riding outdoors.

Rider weight limit: 85 kg, 13st4, or 180 lbs, Heavier riders please contact us.

Pace

This is a medium-paced ride: the pace of the ride is very dependent on the weather. There are long periods of walking interspersed with trots and canters when the terrain allows. There will be no fast paces in the deep sands that might damage the horses' legs and tendons. You will ride approx. 30-35 km each day.

Tacking ability and participation

Everyone is expected to participate in caring for the horses - grooming, tacking up and un-tacking. You can participate in feeding and watering the horses if you wish.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

You should be in good physical condition and fit enough for long hours in the saddle. You should also be prepared for colder evenings in the desert. Experience of riding a trail of several days is required. Riders who do not ride regularly are requested to get back in the saddle and be riding fit before departure.

Visiting a new country offers the opportunity to meet other cultures with different mentalities, therefore it is important to accept these differences and respect the local way of life.

Equestrian equipment

Comfortable local saddles, saddlebags.
Helmets are mandatory. We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
Your belongings are packed in support vehicles during the trail ride.

Travel info

Comfort

Accommodation on the first night is in a 3*** hotel in Muscat.
Your second night is in a luxurious fixed camp in the desert, with proper beds and bathrooms.
During the trail there are 4 nights camping in double or twin tents at a permanent camp. Foam mattresses and bedding is provided, a sleeping bag is not necessary but you may want to bring a liner.

Meals

Breakfast: bread, eggs, fruit, cereal and hot drinks.
Picnic lunch.
Dinners are at local restaurants in the cities. When camping, the local team will prepare traditional meals and mineral water is included.

Alcohol is not allowed on this trail.


Climate

Oman has two types of climate.
In the northern and eastern parts, you can expect a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and warm winters. In the South and West, the climate is tropical and the monsoon usually strikes between June and September. The centre of the country is dominated by an arid climate with hot days and nights.
The best time of the year to visit Oman is between October and March, with cooler temperatures (between 20°C and 30°C).

Guide and local team

Local team of Bedouins.

Tips

It is customary to tip the local team as a gesture of thanks and we would recommend c. £40/50 for the week, but you should give what you feel is right.

Packing list

Please keep in mind the local cultures and customs: keep your shoulders covered and no shorts above the knee.

Head
- Helmets are mandatory and you must bring your own.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana to protect your face and neck from the sun, sand, and dust.

Upper body
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and dust
- T-shirts
- Fleece, jumper or jacket - the evenings can be cold
- Casual clothes for the evening

Legs
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Shorts for lazy lunchtimes
- Casual clothes for the evening
- Bathing suit

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots or hiking shoes with half chaps as long chaps/long boots can get very hot.
- Sandals, flip-flops or trainers for moving around the camp
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun whilst riding

Nightwear
- Thermals are a good option for sleeping in, or a t-shirt and shorts for warmer nights
- A woolly hat when camping (desert nights can be cold)
- Sleeping bag liner

Our Recommendations
- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided and you should pack it into two bags if it weighs more than 15kg so it's easier for the team to transport between camps
- Take a second, smaller bag to pack things you may need during the day such as a book or suncream then you can easily access it during the long lunch break
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!

Other useful items
- Towel. Camping towels will pack lighter and dry more easily
- Sarong (for going to/from the shower tent)
- Water bottle (1.5 litre or two x 1 litre)
- Hand sanitiser
- Wet wipes
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night
- Toilet paper and small plastic bags for taking rubbish away

In your luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag.
- Small penknife

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - must be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Rehydration sachets (dioralyte or similar)
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Ear plugs, particularly if you are a light sleeper
- Micropur or similar water purification tablets
- Mosquito spray

Visa & Health

Formalities

British nationals need a visa to enter Oman. You should apply for an e-visa before you travel. Applications can be made through the Royal Oman Police portal. If you’re travelling as a tourist, you can apply for an unsponsored visa.

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Oman.

Up-to-date travel information: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/oman/entry-requirements (British riders)

Addresses of consulates

  • Ambassade du Sultanat d'Oman
    50, avenue d'Iéna
    75116 PARIS
    Tél. : 01.47.23.01.63
    Fax : 01.47.23.02.25
    paris@mofa.gov.om
  • Ambassade en Oman
    PO Box 208
    PC 115 Madinat Qabous MASCATE
    Tél. : (00) 968 - 24 68 18
    Fax : (00) 968 - 24 68 18
    contact@ambafrance-om.org
  • Consulat général du Sultanat d'Oman
    Chemin de Roilbot 3a
    1292 Chambésy
    Tél. : 022/758 96 60
    Fax : 022/758 96 66
    omanconsulate-ge@bluewin-ch
  • Ambassade d'Oman
    AV. HERRMANN-DEBROUX 40/42
    1160 AUDERGHEM
    Tél. : 02.679.70.10
    Fax : 02/534.79.92
    omanembassy@europe.com

Health

Visit your health professional at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.

Healthcare facilities in Oman are similar to those in the UK. British nationals are required to use the private healthcare system. Visitors who don’t have travel insurance or the means to settle any charges may be prevented from leaving the country until the debt is paid. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 9999 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

The heat can be extreme and deaths have occurred due to dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/oman/health

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Voltage

The mains electricity in Oman is 220V to 240V. Adaptors are widely available at hotel shops and from supermarkets such as Al Fair. British riders do not need an adaptor (Type G plugs)

Budget and money

ATMs are widespread in Oman and many of them, particularly those belonging to HSBC, are tied into international systems. The most popular credit card in Oman is Visa, but MasterCard is also widely accepted. Amex is not accepted in many shops, and you may incur a fee of 5% for using it in some restaurants and hotels.

The official currency is the Omani rial (OR but widely spelt RO). One rial is divided into 1000 baisa (also spelt baiza and shortened to bz). There are coins of 5, 10, 25 and 50 baisa, and notes of 100 and 200 baisa. There are notes of a half, one, five (which looks unfortunately similar to a one rial note), 10, 20 and 50 rials.

Source: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/oman/a/nar-gr/money-and-costs/361106


Telephone and jetlag

Calling code: +968

Did you know?

Did you know?

This trail ride in Oman offers riders the opportunity to ride with Bedouins. Historically, the Bedouins are a grouping of nomadic peoples living across the desert regions in North Africa and the Middle East. The English word comes from the Arabic "badawï", which means "desert dweller". Raising livestock and herding goats and camels are the traditional livelihood of Bedouins, who use the animals for meat, dairy products, and wool. Camels are also the main method of transportation and are regarded as a "gift from God". Today, modernisation causes the Bedouin lifestyle to be changing and if some families have left behind the desert life, some still retain the traditional Bedouin culture through traditional clan structure, music, oral poetry and dances.

You can also ride with Bedouins in Jordan - make sure to check our rides in the Wadi Rum.