Oman – desert& incense

Rub al-Khali

This round trip takes us to Oman’s southern province of Dhofar, the ancient land of frankincense.
Through a spectacular coastal landscape we will go to Wadi Shuwaymiyah with its gigantic rocky landscape, where for the first time a hike is offered. During a night of camping on the kilometer-long beach, we can swim in the tides of the Indian Ocean. Around sunset and sunrise countless hermit crabs and shrimps can often be seen.
Highlight of this trip is the drive to and in the vast sandy area of Rub al-Kahli, the "Empty Quarter". We spend three nights and days in the middle of the sand dunes – their shapes and structures are fascinating, as is the sparkling Arabian starry sky.
With the sometimes long distances, however, longer journeys are unavoidable.

Optional pre-program Muscat – Salalah can be booked.

Map_ARR-Route: Oman - Desert and Frankincense + Preliminary Program


1. Day: Vienna – Muscat / Sun, 13.02.2022
Departure from Vienna with Qatar Airways (expected in. 16.05 h) via Doha to Muscat.

2. Day: Arrival in Muscat – Nizwa / Mon, 14.02.2022
Early morning (04.30 h) Arrival in Muscat. After completion of the entry formalities pick up by the tour guide and drive to Nizwa to the hotel and breakfast.
We stroll through the old town of Nizwa, which was once the capital of Oman. Afternoon excursion to the surroundings at the foot of the Akhdar Mountains and visit of one of the typical fortresses. Overnight stay in a very atmospheric traditional hotel in the middle of the old town. (Hotel, F)

3.-5. Day: Nizwa – Salalah / Tue, 15.02. – Thu, 17.02.2022
From Nizwa we head south. We deliberately choose not to take the main road through the interior of the country, but follow the road, which partly runs along the coast of the Indian Ocean. There are about 1000 km to cover, but divided into 3 days. The roads are very well developed and allow us to move forward quickly, so that there is always enough time to make detours to the scenic highlights of this route. We see fascinating rock formations, small dune areas, fishermen with their fishing boats and some lagoons with a variety of bird life. On our route we camp 2x in the untouched nature. Also a bath in the Indian Ocean is certainly possible. (2x camping / 1x hotel, 3xF / 2x MA)

About 250 km (Shuwaymiyah – Salalah) we drive on the same route as in the main program, but in the opposite direction through a scenically very beautiful area through the rugged mountains and along the rocky coastline.

6. Day: Salalah and the incense (= 2. Day from the main program) / Fri, 18.02.2022
(The other participants fly on 17.02. we leave and land on 18.02. early morning in Salalah)

Planned flights:
13.02. Vienna – Doha 16.05.-23.15
14.02. Doha – Muscat 01.50-04.30
27.02. Salalah – Doha 05.20-06.35
27.02. Doha – Vienna 08.30-12.20

Costs pre-program in double room/tent: € 580,-
Cost pre-program in single room/tent: € 640,-

Oman, fishermen at sunrise (Photo: Rainer Skrovny, ARR Reisen)

Expected afternoon departure with Qatar Airways to Salalah.

Early morning arrival in Salalah and transfer to our beachfront hotel. In the afternoon visit of the small but very interesting incense museum. Here we learn about the history of the incense trade and also about the early seafaring. Drive through the lush gardens of bananas, papayas, sugar cane and other tropical plants to the incense market.
Hotel, (-/-/-)

Excursion to the east of Salalah. We drive to Taqa to visit the small, but worth seeing fortress. We continue to the lagoon of Khor Rouri, where we look at the ruins of the ancient incense port of Samhuram. Afterwards we will go to the Dhofar Mountains. On the way we come across an area with large Baobab trees. On the high plateau the landscape reminds of alpine pastures – only that here cows and camels graze together. A detour will take us to Wadi Dharbat, which has water all year round. For this reason some Bedouin families live here with their camels, goats and donkeys.
Hotel, (F/-/-), approx. 100 km driving distance

In the morning we leave Salalah and drive westwards to Mirbat. The city with its half-ruined old merchant houses has its own – morbid – charm. In the small harbor we can observe the small fishing boats and dhaus (typical Arabic ships), as well as the numerous sea birds. The rest of the journey takes us through the hinterland, partly along the coast with its spectacular bays to the area of Hasik, where we pitch our tents directly on the beach. How about a swim in the waters of the Indian Ocean?? Maybe we will be lucky enough to see some dolphins from the coast.
Tent, (F/M/A), approx. 180 km driving distance

The further route along the coast leads us past fascinating rock formations. Afterwards we drive on a newly built road through a magnificent, desert-like mountain landscape, before we finally reach the wide coastal plain of Shuwaymiyah. We drive directly to the Wadi Shuwaymiyah with its impressive rock walls. In the wadi there are also some year-round water springs, which have formed dripstone-like formations on the wadi walls in the midst of the desert-like climate. During a short hike we discover the beauty of this huge valley before we drive towards the coast to set up our tents on the beach. Often hundreds of crabs and hermit crabs populate single beach sections.
tent, (F/M/A), ca. 120 km driving distance

Oman, Rub-al Khali, Camping (Photo: Rainer Skrovny, ARR Reisen)

Oman, Rub-al Khali, Camping

After a morning swim in the Indian Ocean we leave the endless beach of Shuwaymiyah and drive up an impressive cliff. The view to the sea and the coastal plain is fantastic, but unfortunately mostly quite hazy. Passing oil production facilities we reach Thumrayt, where we will replenish our supplies. We continue on to the actual "Empty Quarter", where we plan to set up our tent camp in the middle of the sand dunes in the afternoon. Depending on the time of arrival we can already climb one of the dunes.
Tent, (F/M/A), approx. 400 km driving distance

Two full days of pure desert experience in one of the largest sand dune areas in the world. Typical are the high star dunes, which can also be seen on satellite images. Two days we spend in this dream landscape of sand. In the morning and late afternoon we will take a walk from our campsites through the endless sea of sand of the Empty Quarter and climb one or the other dune. The diverse shapes of the sand dunes and the structures of the sand are always fascinating. We spend the lunch time in the shade of the vehicles or at one of the few fountains. Far away from any disturbing light source we can also admire the unique starry sky.
2x tent, (2x F/M/A)

In the morning we want to climb one of the impressive dunes for the last time before we leave the sandy area and drive on tracks and roads towards the coast. We cross deeply cut wadis (dry watercourses) and reach a stony, bare and at the same time fascinating mountain landscape – the Dhofar mountains. Only relatively close to the coast the vegetation increases again and we see the rather inconspicuous frankincense trees. Most of the time the up to 3 m high trees have no or only a few leaves. We go down to the coast, in Mughsayl at the so-called "Blowholes" – depending on tides and waves, sea water splashes through underground passages like a geyser into the air. In the late afternoon we reach Salalah. in the evening we can visit the incense market again. Small stores are lined up here, whose sellers offer incense, myrrh and other perfumes. Also the colorfully painted incense burners can be bought here.
Hotel, (F/-/-), ca. 300 km driving distance

Day at leisure. Time to relax in our beautifully situated beach hotel. (F/-/-)

Early morning transfer to the airport and return flight. Arrival in Vienna expected around noon.

Special instructions

Planned hotels: (subject to change)

Nizwa / Antique Inn (traditional hotel in the old town)
Salalah – Taqa / Souly Ecolodge
Salalah / Crown Plaza


Participants: 7 – 12 persons
Included services:
  • Flights Vienna – Salalah – Vienna incl. Taxes and fees, advance. with Qatar Airways
    (other departure points on request)
  • all sightseeing incl. Entrances lt. Program
  • Trips with off-road vehicles (max. 4 travelers per vehicle)
  • 4x nights in a double room of a middle class hotel
  • 5x overnight stay in a two-person tent (to be set up by yourself)
  • Meals as indicated by the day – partly by the camp kitchen
    (F = breakfast, M = lunch, A = dinner)
  • ARR tour guide
Not included:
  • Visa, to be applied for online (currently free of charge up to a duration of 14 days)
    Costs dzt. OMR 5,- (approx. € 11,-) with a validity of up to 10 days and dzt. OMR 20,- (approx. € 45,-) valid up to 30 days

Special tips

Planned hotels: (subject to change)

Nizwa / Antique Inn (traditional hotel in the old town)
Salalah – Taqa / Souly Ecolodge
Salalah / Crown Plaza


Supplement small group, 7 – 8 persons / € 100,-
Your additional ARR advantage:

Early booking discount: If you book this trip at least 6 months before departure, we will give you the following discounts:
Basic travel price € 500,- to € 999,- / discount of € 15,-
Basic travel price € 1.000,- to € 1.999,- / discount of € 30,-
Basic travel price € 2.000,- up to € 2.999,- / discount of € 50,-
Basic travel price over € 3.000,- / discount of € 75,-

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