5 outdoor adventures in Oman

Go snorkelling, spot sea turtles and explore magnificent sand dunes


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From its mountains to its beaches, Oman is a beautiful country, and with Jumeirah Muscat Bay as your base, you’ll have its landscape on your doorstep. Make the most of it with these 5 outdoor adventures to suit every traveller.


Cruise the Musandam Peninsula

Stretching into the Straits of Hormuz between the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, Musandam is a largely undiscovered area that comprises the 18km Khor Shem, which is often compared to Norway’s fjords due to its cliffs and gorges. Hop aboard a dhow boat with Dolphin Khasab Tours, who operate full-day and half-tour tours, and make yourself comfortable amid the traditional boats’s carpets and cushions as you gaze at the spectacular coastline. When it’s time to see more of the peninsula, arrange to disembark at one of the ancient fishing villages of Sibi, Qanah, Maqlap, Shim and Nadafih, which line the fjord, before heading inland to explore the regional capital of Khasab, which is home to a 17th-century Portuguese-built fort.

The fjords of Musandam


Swim in a natural plunge pool

Despite its dunes, Oman is surprisingly fertile as it’s crisscrossed by streams and wadis (riverbeds) that water mango trees, orchards and date palm groves. When it’s time to cool off, make for one of the region’s water pools. About an hour’s drive from Muscat, Wadi Arbaeen in the north of Oman is an attractive option. Formed by a ravine on the eastern side of Mount Hajar, it is close to hiking routes, a collection of small, tumbling waterfalls and a handful of villages where locals tend to fruit crops. Meanwhile, at Wadi Shab, the fresh water that flows from the nearby mountain range merges with sea water. The area is 1.5 hours from Muscat and private tours will collect you from your hotel and transport you to the docks at Tiwi, where you can access the wadi by boat. Following a short walk through limestone ravines, on arrival you’ll be rewarded with your own natural swimming pool where sunlight filters through the rocky surrounds and dances on the pool’s surface.

Wadi Al Arbeieen in Oman

Watch turtles by moonlight at Ras Al Jinz reserve

Be enchanted by green turtles making their way towards the sea at Ras Al Jinz. These endangered creatures are now protected by the Omani government, and this fishing village provides a sanctuary for them to build nests and lay their eggs. During the day, this sandy stretch makes for an attractive walk, framed by sandstone cliffs and the Gulf of Oman. However, for the best chance of spotting turtles visit during summer, between May and September, and join a tour with a guide from Ras Al Jinz reserve. These take place under the twinkling night sky at around 9pm or with the blush-pink of dawn as a backdrop at around 5am.

A green backed turtle in Ras Al Jinz


Snorkel off Daymaniyat and Sawadi islands

A sprinkling of islands off the coast of Muscat, the Daymaniyat archipelago is a protected marine reserve that’s one of Oman’s snorkelling hotspots. Dive beneath the surface to see Red Sea clownfish and Arabian butterflyfish darting among coral reefs and seagrass. If you are lucky, you might also spot inquisitive sea turtles and mighty whale sharks – the gentle giants of the ocean. From the village of Al Sawadi on the mainland, it’s easy to spot another snorkel site. Off the coast are the seven mountainous Sawadi Islands, and boats regularly transport visitors to explore the waters around them.

A fish swimming in a reef near Daymaniyat

Discover the Empty Quarter

As the backdrop to blockbusters including 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and 1999’s science fiction film The Matrix, the golden sands of Rub Al Khali, or the Empty Quarter, have been viewed by cinemagoers around the world. At 1,000km long and 500km wide, the desert is shared by Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. Its otherworldly lunar landscape is punctuated with lake beds formed thousands of years ago when monsoon rains fell in this now arid area. Experience it firsthand by visiting the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula with Beautiful Salalah, who run 4x4 tours and offer guests the opportunity to meet and camp overnight with Bedouin tribes, in order to learn more about their fascinating way of life.

The sand dunes in Oman's Empty Quarter

Having explored Oman’s natural beauty, relax back at Jumeirah Muscat Bay set in the secluded cove of Bandar Jissah between the Al Hajar Mountains and the Gulf of Oman.