London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
We wrapped up our fabulous adventure holidays in Oman with kids and can’t stop raving about these magic lands with rugged coastlines and vast deserts where tradition and progress go hand in hand. Our 10 days Oman itinerary were fantastic and enriching: we took in the stunning turquoise shades of the Arabian sea, breathless landscapes of the Hajar Mountains and the shifting sands of Wahiba, swam in lush wadis, trekked in dramatic canyons, explored an awesome turtle reserve and Musandam fjords – Oman road trip from Dubai was fabulously diverse and luxurious.
It was a journey of incredible contrasts, following in the footsteps of the pioneering explorers of old and taking in rich natural highlights that Oman offers. Self driving has been easy, infrastructure in great shape, petrol and 4X4 affordable and Omani super friendly.
We started these wonderful adventure holidays Oman with Shangri La nearby Muscat, with its glorious natural setting with bare mountains in the background – that one truly gets to appreciate best on a boat, paddle boarding or kayaking. The highlight of those 3 days was the sailing where one can soak in the bare mountains versus the turquoise shades of the Arabian sea, spotting dolphins and snorkeling with lots of colourful fish and huge green turtles at Bandar Al Khayran.
The kids were smitten by Shangri-La array of pools and activities, lazy river that one hops in, floats or swims with a gentle current. The beach between the hotels is large, beautiful and with soft sand – perfect for strolls along the coast as well as swimming with colourful fish.
The waters are blue and calm, perfect for Oman with kids holidays or simply exploring the nearby coves kayaking. We stayed at Al Bandar in a large beautiful room with views over green gardens and Arabian Sea, in between Al Waha (the dedicated family resort with endless kids facilities) and Al Husn (the dedicated separate adult only hotel). For a dedicated post to Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah head here.
The fourth day we left for Arabian Oryx Camp in the Bedu deserts. We chose the midday to allow for a relaxed journey through the beautiful red shifting Wahiba sands. Once we arrived at Al Wasil (the last little town on the road), we deflated the tyres of our 4X4 and drove off road through the red sanded dunes staring at the surreal Dali-esque landscapes.
We spent at Oryx Camp 2 nights to make the most out of the desert and nearby wadis – dune climbing at sunset and sunrise, camel riding, indulging into camp fires at night, Bedu dinners and music, as well as stargazing. There’s also dune bashing, sand boarding and quad riding for the adventurous souls !
We were hosted the first night and given the wonderful treatment and warm hospitality we extended for the second. We had a very spacious 2 beds Arabian villa, big enough to fit 2 families and with a beautiful travertine porch and outside sitting space to allow extensive stargazing and indulging into coffee at sunrise.
A dedicated post in here, this has been the perfect base for exploring the area around, including the lush Wadi Bani Khalid.
The 6th day we headed for the mountains for some serious climbing in dramatic canyons and luxury pampering at Alila Jabal Akhdar. In less than an hour drive deep into mountains, temperatures go from 36 degrees to a pleasantly refreshing 18 degrees celsius. Nearby there is the heart of the old Omani Imamate, including the unesco patrimony Nizwa and fortresses.
Alila has been as usual an amazing stay with refined cuisine, perfect sleek integration in the rocky landscapes, warm service – a wonderful unique memorable experience. Via Ferrata climb dazzled my head and senses with its vertiginous slopes, rocks and caves and thereafter there was some well deserved pampering in Alila infinity pool soaking in the sunsets. For something more visual but filed with an old phone (did not want to risk the Go pro into that gorgeous gorge), here’s a Youtube link. Nizwa fortresses will have to wait our next trip as we stuck to the nature on these adventure holidays Oman and Alila pampering for those 2 days! For a full dedicated article to Alila Jabal Akhdar, the culinary treats and hospitality, head here.
On our 8th day we headed to Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve from Alila and broke the 4.5 hours roadtrip in Sur.
Eco glamping is the way to go in here and make sure you book a family tent well in advance as it’s jut 3 of them.
Ras Al Jinz is a once in a lifetime experience seeing turtles laying eggs at moonlight and babies recently hatched heading back to the sea at night or at sunrise.
We left Ras Al Jinz 11am next day feeling enriched and blessed. The drive to Kempinski Hotel Muscat is less than 3 hours by the coast and we broke it with the scenic Wadi Shab. Some stunning landscapes but more difficult than Wadi Bani Khalid with 2 young kids – so just explored for an hour or so.
Our last leg of these very active adventure holidays Oman was Kempinski Hotel Muscat – the city’s latest 5 star addition, where grand sleek design with Arabic influences meets European sophistication, cuisine and wines are great and service is impeccable. We took it easy for the last 2 days with dips in the sea and pool as well as catching up with friends.
Oman road trip from Dubai is easy, with Muscat 4 hours and 30 minutes drive away. Kempinski Hotel Muscat is also conveniently close to the airport (less than 10min drive), so the last morning we wrapped it up with another beautiful sunrise over a delicious breakfast.
If one has longer than 10 days, also from Oman road trip from Dubai , Khasab is another treasure and relatively easy drive. Khasab Oman daytrip, sailing on traditional Arabic dhow through Musandam Peninsula fjords, swimming with turtles and finding dolphins is a must ! It could be also a daytrip from Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah is relatively easy with an early start; we drove in our own car to Oman border where we have been greeted by Khasab Tour guys for the crossing (our rental car specifically excluded driving in Oman and for 1 day on this occasion we thought best to go with the terms rather than shop around for a more generous geography for the rental car).
A daytrip from Dubai or Ras works out very well: beautiful sunrise by the mountains, a quick border cross UAE-Oman, 8:30am we were in Khasab sipping Arabic coffee, one magic day by Musandam fjords, back to majestic Hajar mountains, sailing with dolphins and swimming with green turtles, a generous lunch by boat with barbecued freshly caught local fish, salads, hummus and few other Omani dishes.
10 days in Oman have been fabulous and left us seriously craving for more! On our list for the next times also: Daymaniyat islands – for fabulous diving; Salalah – the very southern tip for green mountains, streams, waterfalls and more vibrant blue waters and at the other side and even better and closer for Oman road trip from Dubai, Ziggy Bay. Oman we had a blast and we will be back!
Disclosure: Many thanks to Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, Alila Jabal Akhdar, Kempinski Muscat and Arabian Oryx Camp for the media rates and complimentary treats, luxury holidays Oman don’t get better than this! Overexcited kids and opinions in here entirely ours. For more roadtrips from Dubai head here.