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Suggested flights (not included in the cost of the tour) British Airways BA79 departing London Heathrow at 19.40 hrs.
On arrival in Muscat, transfer to Holiday Inn Seeb for light refreshments and then continue by 4WDs up the mountains to the luxurious five-star Alila Jabal Akhdar resort where two nights are spent. Perched on a clifftop overlooking the stunningly dramatic ‘Green Mountain’ gorge, this uniquely designed luxurious hotel is the perfect base for exploring the rugged scenery of Oman’s mountain landscape.
Lunch at the hotel. Check into rooms (guaranteed from 14.00 hrs) and remainder of the day at leisure to enjoy the clifftop infinity pool and spa. Dinner at the hotel.
Morning sightseeing in Jabal Al Akhdar, 2,000 metres above sea level, the green jewel of the Al Hajjar mountain ranges, famed for its fruit orchards and roses.
Afternoon walking tour of Jabal Akhdar followed by a picnic lunch. Return to the hotel with the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.
Depart (with luggage) to the oasis town of Nizwa, once Oman’s capital. Visit Nizwa’s famous Round Tower Fort, built in the 17th century, and its Souq renowned for its Friday cattle auction, intricately hand-carved “Khanjars” (daggers) and ornamental silver jewellery. Continue to the elegant, elaborately decorated 17th century Jibreen Castle, more of a Mughul palace than a fort. The castle displays the highest achievement in Omani ceiling painting and beautifully executed woodcarvings.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Continue to Wahiba Sands and check into the luxury Bedouin-style desert camp where one night is spent. Here enjoy the incredible expanse of desert and the spectacular sunset. Dinner at the tented camp.
Morning departure (with luggage) to Muscat with a stop en route at Wadi Bani Khalid, characterised by date palms and pools of water.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Continue to Muscat and check into the five-star Ritz Carlton Al Bustan Palace, set within well-manicured gardens and with breath-taking views of the Sea of Oman and the Al Hajar Mountains, where three nights are spent. Dinner under own arrangements.
Morning sightseeing of Old Muscat including Bait Al Zubair Museum to explore the richness of Omani history including a restored traditional home and re-creation of an old rural village. Continue to the striking modern Al Alam Palace which is the ceremonial residence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos of Oman and also the Bait al Baranda Museum with its ethnic artefacts. Finally enjoy a visit to the Old Muttrah Souq with its myriad of local and imported merchandise, including fabrics, spices, perfumes and richly handcrafted artefacts. Return to the hotel.
Lunch under own arrangements. Afternoon at leisure. Enjoy an optional Dhow Cruise. Ticket prices are on request and are subject to availability. Return transfers are not included.
Evening visit to the Olympic Equestrian Training Centre followed by dinner at a local restaurant.
Morning visit to the magnificent Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, whose prayer hall floor is covered by the world’s second largest single piece of Persian carpet; the hall is also lit by enormous crystal chandeliers. Visit the Zawawi Mosque before a private guided tour of the Royal Opera House. Return to the hotel.
Lunch under own arrangements. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure to enjoy the hotel’s facilities. Farewell dinner at the hotel.
Possible opera performance at the Royal Opera House, subject to Opera House schedule yet to be released.
Transfer to Muscat airport. Suggested flights (not included in the cost of the tour) British Airways BA80 departing Muscat at 09.05 hrs arriving London Heathrow early afternoon.
Ayesha was patient and informative. Her skills became even more apparent on the holiday - such as the order of the hotels, which were each perfect for that moment.- S and RD, Bhutan