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Discover the ancient roots of Arabia in Oman, a country where
Bedouin culture blends with the vibrant
legacy of Indian Ocean trade routes. Delve
into spice bazaars, explore wild canyons
and desert oases, and learn about Oman’s
unique form of Islam. Then cross the sands
to glitzy Dubai, taking a wildlife safari in the
dunes and visiting conservation projects
along the way.
Visit sites excavated by National Geographic grantees: the UNESCO World Heritage site of Bat, the fishing village of Qantab, and the rock art of Tanuf.
Explore two of the Middle East’s most
magnificent mosques and learn about
Oman’s moderate Islamic sect.
Discover ancient, fortified oasis towns in
the sands of the Arabian Peninsula.
In Dubai, ride to the top of the world’s tallest building for views across the Persian Gulf.
Itinerary - 10 Days
Day 1 — Muscat, Oman
Arrive in Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman, and check in to our hotel.
Al Bustan Palace
Day 2 — Muscat/Quantab
Learn about Ibadism, Oman’s main Islamic sect, at the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Visit the Oman Botanic Garden and take in views of Al Alam Palace. Wander through the Muttrah Souk, an Arabian bazaar. In the village of Qantab, see the boatyard featured in National Geographic’s documentary Sailing the Treasure Ship, and meet with archaeologists.
Day 3 — Wadi Shab
Explore the natural wonders of Oman: visit the Bimmah sinkhole, hike through cliff-walled canyons, and take a swim at Wadi Shab; or take a scenic
Day 4 — Birkat Al Mawz/Jabal Al Akhdar
Travel inland to the palm tree oasis of Birkat al Mawz and walk through a traditional falaj irrigation field. This type of irrigation system has been in use here for some 1,500 years and was recently added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. Visit the 17th-century fortress and museum in Nizwa, and uncover the mysteries of Jabal al Akhdar, a mountain range named for its lush green terraced fields. Set out by 4x4 to visit the abandoned mud-brick village of Tanuf. Then travel up to the lovely mountaintop village of Misfat al Abreyeen, where we’ll meet with local farmers and enjoy a traditional home-cooked Omani meal.
Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Bahla/Bat/Al Ain
Explore Oman’s largest fortress, Bahla Fort, then head to the Al Ayn tombs and the prehistoric settlements, towers, and tombs of Bat. Learn about the Bat Archaeological Project, co-directed by National Geographic archaeologist Christopher Thornton and supported by the Society. This afternoon, cross the border into the United Arab Emirates and stay in the gateway city of Al Ain.
Hili Rayhaan By Rotana (B,L,D)
Days 6 & 7 — Al Ain, United Arab Emirates/Al Maha Desert Resort
Visit the Al Ain National Museum and discuss
regional development with a local expert. Continue to the Al Maha Desert Resort, located inside the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve—home to desert species including a few hundred rare Arabian oryxes. Take an evening 4x4 safari. Rise early for a falconry demonstration and a guided walk. Then choose between several
Al Maha Desert Resort (B,L,D daily)
Day 8 — Dubai
Travel to Dubai and wander through the narrow lanes of the historic Bastakiya quarter, founded by merchants in the 19th century. Head to the top of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, and enjoy free time this afternoon to shop, or swim in the sea.
Ritz-Carlton Dubai (B,L)
Days 9 & 10 — Abu Dhabi/Dubai
This morning, set out on an excursion to the capital city of Abu Dhabi. Enjoy lunch aboard a traditional dhow boat and meet a conservationist to discuss coral reef studies funded by National Geographic. Later, visit the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This evening, return to Dubai and enjoy a festive farewell dinner. Transfer to the airport the next morning for your return flight.