When we think of “Oman,” we believe primarily of Muscat, Musandam, or Salalah, cities which are among the most famous destinations in this vast neighboring country. This time, Dubaimadame takes you to a slightly more unusual, but just as exceptional, place: the region of Ad-Dākhilīyah, south of Muscat, one of the country’s main tourist centers. The cities of Al-Ayn (and not Al Ain as in the Emirates), Bahla, Nizwa, or Sayq are all essential, which will allow you to deepen your discovery of the sultanate during an extended weekend.
Today is the route offered by Dubaimadame from Al Ain (just before crossing the border) to the Sayq Plateau.
How to get there?
By car, allow a little over four hours to drive from Dubai, or two hours to drive south of Muscat. If you are coming directly from the Emirates, we advise you to spend a day in Al Ain (city of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, right next to the border), to cut your trip and visit a few key elements there.
Your first step – Al-Ayn
- The tombs of Al-Ayn or “the archaeological site of Bat” – monuments over 5,000 years old, listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. Access can be difficult, and the statues are hardly indicated: you can find them on Google Maps here. Park your car below and walk the rest of the way.
Wadi Damm –
It is preferable that you are equipped with all-terrain to get to the Wadi without any problem. Allow about 15 minutes on a track in good condition to arrive at the dam (well signposted) and its succession of turquoise pools in which you can swim (be sure to keep an instead covering outfit).
For your first night and a day between history and nature – Bahla
– Also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bahla Fort offers a breathtaking view of the Djebel Akhdar mountain range and the entire city. Completely renovated, it provides a glimpse of the typical architecture of the military forts that dot the whole country.
Open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Al Hoota Cave
Over two million years old, Al Hoota Cave is the only visitable cave in the Arabian Peninsula. Of the 5 kilometers that run through the cave, a 500-meter route has been made accessible to the public. The road to the main entrance is very well laid out, and you will then have to take a small train to get to the actual access to the cellar. Visits are every half hour, in groups with a guide, and last about forty minutes.
Open every day, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Price: 7 OMR (approx. 67 AED) / adult – 3.5 OMR (approx. 33 AED) / child
For the visit Khasab Fijord:
Fort of Nizwa
It is the most visited national monument in Oman. The foundations of the fort date from the 12th century and most of the building would have been built in the 1650s. While strolling there, you will be able to contemplate a whole exhibition of everyday objects and weapons of the time: jewels, tapestries, dishes. … Do not forget to climb to the top of the ramparts to enjoy a 360 ° view of the whole city, its mountain and its palm groves in the distance.
Open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The souq of Nizwa
Right next to the Fort, we go to the souq of Nizwa to observe real scenes of local life. Fish market, goat market, fruit market are all places where you can watch the population come to haggle, early in the morning or from 6 p.m. A “craft” wing, at the western end of the market, will also allow you to bring back some souvenirs of the city.
Open every day, from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
A rather special route
The least that can be said is that the road that takes you to Sayq town (a day trip from Nizwa) is an experience in itself! The Sayq plateau is located at an altitude of 2000 meters, and you will need a 4×4 to access it. If the road is in excellent condition, it is its slope that can be impressive. A checkpoint at the entrance to the way will check your car, your insurance, as well as your driving license, and will give you all the necessary advice. The climb takes about 45 minutes to the main village.
Wadi and hiking
You can take a beautiful hike (accessible to all levels) on the plateau from Wadi Bani Habib (equipped with a parking lot). From there, you can descend the steps and take the marked path leading to pretty abandoned villages.
You can also take the opportunity to visit the small village of Al Aqua, nicknamed “the village of roses.”
At the end of the day, before heading back to Nizwa, meet at sunset at Diana Point (named after Princess Diana’s arrival in November 1986), available free of charge by entering the sublime Anantara resort. Al Jabal Al Akhdar.
Nizwa Fort Coffee Shop – to the left of the main entrance of the Fort – for an Omani coffee or a lemon mint and a catering – tables on the sidewalk and frequented by locals.
Restaurants in the vicinity of Nizwa (allow 1 hour + to get to the resort because you have to walk mountain paths)
– Al Qalaa @ Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort. The restaurant is located in the Anantara tower and serves modernized Arabic cuisine – meat and fish – elegant setting, inspired by Khasab Castle (Musandam, Oman).
– Bella Vista @ Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort. This is an Italian restaurant located in the Anantara next to the pool at Diana View’s Point. The restaurant serves Roman Italian cuisine facing the canyon and mountains of Al Jabal Al Akhdar (“the green mountain” in Arabic). Great views of the canyon.
For Khasab Tours Booking: Khourshem tours packages
Hotels or guesthouses in the vicinity of Nizwa
– La Misfah Old House
The village of Misfat Al-Abriyeen (Al Hamra), a small traditional guesthouse, located in the heart of a palm grove, crossed by aflajs (irrigation systems) below the village. This is an old Omani family home previously owned by the owner’s grandparents, who completely renovated it. Simple, basic, but charming, you will be very well received with excellent Omani cuisine prepared by the boss’s wife. Half pension.
And since there are only 9 rooms, it is quickly full. Another guesthouse of the same style, Al Misfah Hospitality Inn, which is also run by an Omani member family, is also an authentic and charming place to experience local life.
– Nizwa Heritage Inn – in the heart of the old town of Nizwa, a stone’s throw from the Fort and the souk, an old restored Omani house, which immerses you in authenticity.
To find out more: Dhow cruise