OMAN – A 10 day road trip Oman itinerary from Salalah to Muscat in a 4×4

Oman - Nakhal - Fort
Oman - Nakhal - Fort

Oman is an ideal country that’s suitable for a road trip. I did this road trip during a December holiday with my wife and kids. We planned various activities from culture, nature and some leisure. In this Oman itinerary I take you day by day and step by step through Oman including GPS tracks. We drove from Salalah to Muscat but of course you can drive it also the other way. I always suggest to never backtrack the same route but to drive either a circle or drop the car just at the end point. Much more efficient! Now enjoy this Oman road trip itinerary with me.

A few general tips when driving the Oman itinerary

If you drive in Oman you have to keep a few things in mind to not get lost or get into trouble. The worst thing that can happen is you end up without gas in the middle of nowhere; or two flat tires. Just keep these simple rules in mind.

  • Always fill up the tank if it’s half empty, to avoid running out of gas. Especially in area’s where there are no towns.
  • Make sure you have a spare tire and the tools to change it. If you need to change it do go to the nearest place to get the other fixed. The last thing you want is two flat tires.
  • Take enough water to survive a day or two in case you go out on the desert roads.
  • Have a good GPS device or smartphone with a car charger. Make sure your maps are offline as there is not always internet service.
  • If you go off road, make sure that you know what you are doing.
  • Always have your passport at hand in case you run into a security checkpoint.

Oman is perfectly safe to drive, so enjoy your trip!

Oman Itinerary – Day 1 – Arrival

We actually did not start our trip in Oman, we had a few days before in Kuwait to see this country. Read about our days in Kuwait. It will depend from where you are but a day extra before the actual road trip could be needed to adjust for the timezone.

We had a Kuwait Airlines flight from Kuwait to Muscat. There we had to wait about 2 hours for our connecting flight on Oman Airlines to Salalah. As this was a business class flight (read my tips & tricks to book cheap business class flights) we could enjoy the first class lounge at Muscat Airport which has great service and food! We arrived late evening at the Salalah Airport where we picked up our 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser at Europcar which we would later drop off at Muscat Airport. We arrived at our hotel on Christmas Eve, the Crown Plaza Salalah. We missed the celebrations, but that’s part of traveling a lot. The next day our actual Oman road trip would start.

Oman Itinerary – Day 2 – Salalah & surroundings

Our first day of our 10 days in Oman. The fifth day of our complete trip. We started the day by driving east from Salalah towards the Taqah Castle in Taqah (coordinates: N 17.04113 ; E 54.39600). We continued to archeological site of Khor Rori which is part of the Frankincense Trail UNESCO World Heritage Site (coordinates N17.04176 ; E54.43580). Next on our list was Mirbat Castle and a drive through Mirbat (coordinates N 16.99358 ; E 54.69314). We made a quick stop at the Mausoleum of Bin Ali.

At this point we turned back to Salalah and after 15 kilometers we drove towards Tawi Atayr to see the Baobab trees and an antigravity point. This is really awesome! From here we drove passed Salalah to the Marneef Cave and Blowholes at the Mughsayl Beach. Next on our list were unspoiled beaches towards the Yemen border, just follow the road and go off road (at coordinates N16.85160 ; E53.71511) after all the hairpins. We finished swimming in the afternoon and we drove back to Salalah and made a quick stop at the archeological site of al-Balid before continuing to our hotel.

Read our experience:
OMAN – A day in Salalah; the start of our road trip itinerary

Oman - Salalah - Mughsayl Beach & Unspoiled Beaches
Oman – Salalah – Mughsayl Beach & Unspoiled Beaches

Oman Itinerary – Day 3 – Salalah to Duqm

Day 3 was the longest drive on this itinerary from early morning till late evening. Start early, around 8 AM not later. First stop is at Job’s Tomb (an-Nabi Ayyub) (coordinates: N 17.11054 ; E 53.99492). Next up is prophet Hoods Grave (N17.21361 ; E 54.09549). In case you run late like us skip this one! While going up the mountain to the desert you will see signs to the UNESCO Frankincense Trail: Frankincense Park of Wadi Dawkah. Stop here for a while to see the trees which produce Frankincense since ancient time.

The last stop for today will be in the middle of the desert: UNESCO Frankincense Trail: Archaeological site of Shisr. It is located at N 18.254958; E 53.648690. Take 70 KM after Thumrait a left turn over the desert road, the old road. From Shisr it is nice to drive towards N 18.675047; E 54.081860 in a straight line over the desert road as well. You will find camel skulls, some lonely plants and desert as far as the eye can see. The last part to Duqm, still some hours, is over well paved tarmac.

Read our experience:
OMAN – Exploring the Frankincense Trail on our way from Salalah to Duqm

Oman - Frankencense Park of Wadi Dawkah
Oman – Frankencense Park of Wadi Dawkah

Oman Itinerary – Day 4 – Duqm

Today is a day we will spend around Duqm and more specific a 5 kilometer deserted stretch of white beach. The beach is called Ras Markaz beach. Drive towards Hayma and after around 17.5KM drive to Jazar (signs say Ras Madrakah 64KM). After 49KM go left (at coordinates N 19.221277; E 57.630410) to Ras Markaz beach; it’s about 14 KM off road from there to the beach. In case roads change (there are many new roads constructed) use the GPS coordinates to get to that point and then drive to the beach.

Read our experience:
OMAN – A stretch of white beach near Duqm you cannot imagine!

Oman - Ras Markaz Beach close to Duqm
Oman – Ras Markaz Beach close to Duqm

Oman Itinerary – Day 5 – Ras al Jinz Sea Turtle Reserve

Today we drove from Duqm to the Ras al Jinz turtle reserve (on the top east point of Oman) to see the magnificent sea turtles. It takes around 4 hours over the newly paved road along the coast. A pretty straight forward drive and we arrived in the afternoon at the turtle refuge center. Late evening and early morning next day where the tours to the beaches to see the turtles. This is a lifetime experience.

Read our experience:
OMAN – The Ras al Jinz Sea Turtle Reserve; a unique experience

Oman - Jas al Rinz Turtle Reserve
Oman – Jas al Rinz Turtle Reserve

Oman Itinerary – Day 6 – Ras al Jinz (close to Sur) to Muscat

Halfway during our Oman road trip we had a long day of driving and stopping at various places. The first stop was at the Ras al Had fort (located at N 22.525837; E 59.791153). It’s a small fort after which we made a stop at the lake (right side of the road towards Sur) nearby. From there Google maps took us to Sur, first the lighthouse (N 22.568931; E 59.540464), onwards to the castle Billad Sur (N22.554094; E59.489303) and the Sinaysilah Castle (N22.579927; E59.503765). The next stop was the ancient city of Qalhat (N 22.694526; E59.372538) and a bit further down the road the Bimmah Sinkhole in the Hawiyat Najm Park (N 23.033611; E 59.069868). A bit of the main road we visited the Wadi Dayqah with its dam (N 23.186287; E 58.965498). The last stop before driving to Muscat was a small fort located in the town of Quriyat (N 23.265196; E 58.916002).

Read our experience:
OMAN – From Sur to Muscat: forts, ancient cities and beautiful nature

Oman - Sur to Muscat
Oman – Sur to Muscat

Oman Itinerary – Day 7 – Nakhal & Rustaq Forts and off-road through the Hajar Mountains

Our base for the last part of our Oman road trip was in Muscat, the capital of Oman. This day trip would be one of the highlights of our journey as we would drive off-road through the Hajar Mountains. A dangerous road! Today we drove first from Muscat to the Nakhal Fort (N23.394819, E57.829787). We continued to the fort of Rustaq (N23.390747, E57.425654). These two are the main and most beautiful forts in that area of Oman.

It’s important to finish these forts around noon to be able to drive through the mountains during daylight. I don’t recommend driving at night as at certain area’s you have cliffs down and up on both sides reaching 800 meters. Make sure you have a 4×4 vehicle and know how to operate it. It’s important that you fill up with gasoline before driving through the wadi. Take enough water and make sure you have at least one spare tire with you.

Start at approximate coordinates (N 23.341944; E 57.493056) and drive towards the mountains. Go to HATT village (after 13 KM) and after about 16 KM more you are at Snake Gorge. You can make a great hike there into the gorge. Balad Sayt is a nice mountain village to visit; very peaceful. You will arrive at the other side in Nizwa. We drove from there back to Muscat which was another 2 hour drive. See the GPS map for our route through the mountains.

Read our experience:
OMAN – Dangerous roads: Off-road through the Hajar mountains

Oman - Hajar Mountain Range
Oman – Hajar Mountain Range

Oman Itinerary – Day 8 – A day in Muscat

New Year’s Eve in Muscat. We decided to stay in Muscat and explore the city all day to be back at the hotel for the New Year’s Eve party. In the morning we started at the grand mosque called Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque: the highlight in Muscat. We continued to the other side of Muscat were we would visit: the Sultans Palace (Al Alam Royal Palace), the Muscat Gate and Clock Tower, Cornice with the Souks. We had a quick look at the three main forts: Al Jalili, Al Marini and Mutrah Fort. In the afternoon we went swimming and after that it was party time!

Read our experience:
OMAN – Must see places in Muscat if you have only a day

Oman - Muscat - Grand Mosque
Oman – Muscat – Grand Mosque

Oman Itinerary – Day 9 – Nizwa, Jibreen, Aflaj, Bahla and Bat

Today we headed back (the fast way) to the region around Nizwa. This is a very long day, start at 6AM or stay overnight in Nizwa at day 7 and then do the day in Muscat. We started at the Jibreen fort which is not that big but in very nice condition. After this we continued to the large fort of Nizwa in the city center. After the fort of Nizwa we visited the UNESCO Site of the Aflaj Water System (N22.971779, E57.548810). We continued to the Bahla Fort (including old town and city wall which is the 3rd largest in the world) located at N22.964824, E57.300368 also listed as UNESCO Site.

From here we wanted to visit the Bee Hives Tombs which are listed as UNESCO Sites. They are not really on track on the sightseeing routes, we drove in total around 4 hours to explore two most important sites. One row of around 12 Tombs located at N23.213997, E56.965333. From there we drove to Bat Bee Hive site which is the most important (located N23.267862, E56.743664). The site was fenced and not open for visitors without appointment. A small secret: at the site is a power station where there is a 1 meter between the housing and the fence. We from there walked in and explored the site in detail. Late afternoon we drove back to Muscat in about 3-4 hours.

Read our experience:
OMAN – Nizwa and its forts and the beehive tombs of Batt in a day from Muscat

Oman - Bee Hive Tombs BAT
Oman – Bee Hive Tombs BAT

Oman Itinerary – Day 10 – Departure to Abu Dhabi

Today we took the plane to Abu Dhabi on Etihad Airlines arriving just after lunch time. This was leg one of our flight home. We stayed for two nights in Abu Dhabi. Read about our days in Abu Dhabi here. We had lots of fun during this Oman itinerary. A road trip we will not forget. We learned about Omans culture, nature and food.

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