Where Sinbad is at home...
"If you want to experience a fairytale from the Arabian Nights, you have to travel to Oman. For the Emirate's neighbor manages the balancing act between modernity and his proud and old identity."
The Gulf States? Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi come to my mind, crazy skyscrapers, shopping malls as big as airports, swank and building mania and huge motor yachts. Exciting - but not very oriental! If you want to experience a fairy tale from Thousand and One Nights, you have to travel to Oman. Because the Emirate's neighbour manages the balancing act between modernity and its proud and old identity.
It didn't really cool down when we stepped out of the airport building in Muscat. Even now, at 10:00 p.m., the thermometer still reads 25 degrees Celsius.
Ben - what a name - our Omani driver and guide for the next days, hurries to lead us to the air-conditioned, comfortable off-road vehicle. Gratefully we rush in while he stows our luggage. We are supposed to make ourselves comfortable, he lets us know, beaming friendly all over his face.
The transfer to the hotel passes the great mosque, a gift of Sultan Qabu ibn Said to his people, and continues along the coast. After an entertaining drive, our hotel appears at the end of the access road. Well, palace would probably be more appropriate, because a part of the building is reserved for the Sultan's state guests - unbelievable! Only the next morning reveals to us the whole, unbelievable beauty of the complex located in a bay. Endless, finest sandy beach, turquoise, crystal clear water, Dau's swaying in the gentle waves ... YES! This is how fairy tales begin!
We spend the day doing nothing but sweet things. Idleness before the great adventure - our journey of discovery and exploration begins the very next day
Muscat, port and capital, reflects the entire history and development of what is perhaps the most advanced of all Arab countries.
Alongside tradition and modernity, the true treasure of the country lies in the caring and far-sighted leadership of its ruler. Founded by rich but finite oil deposits, the country of a medieval nomadic people developed within a few years into a modern, Arab society, influenced by Western views, characterized by comprehensive education, a functioning health system and an exemplary infrastructure. Sultan Qabus ibn Said's entire ambition is to build up a functioning, versatile economy, so as not to end up paying the high price for dwindling oil wells.
Muscat has a lot to offer, too much for just one day: the undefeated forts Mirani and Jalali at the harbour, the sultan's palace Al Alam or the great Suk in the Matrah district, the great Sultan Qabus mosque, or simply enjoy the strong tea of one of the flying tea sellers in the shade of a palm tree in front of the busy entrance to the Suk and get into conversation with the locals...!
Together with our guide Ben - let's stick to the name - we discover a different and fascinating face of the Sultanate every day on our round trip: the port city of Seeb with its overflowing fish market, the springs of Nahki, the Hadjar Mountains with the life-giving Wadi Samail, the mysterious oasis of Birkat Al Mauz, the silver city of Nizwa - famous for its legendary silver daggers, the precious fragrances from Amouage, the
hypnotizing "sea of palms"... a thousand and one impressions, beguiling scent, spicy food and memorable encounters with friendly, helpful Omanis.
But what is more fascinating than spending a night in the desert under the stars? Even the drive, deep into the interior of the Wahiba-Sands Desert, is spectacular. But you have to prepare the jeep for this tour in advance: the most important thing is to lower the air pressure of the tires and ... bunkering enough water, you never know! The dunes stretch endlessly to the horizon. And yet Ben finds his way. Camels appear at the edge of the road and then our camp. "Welcome to Desert Night Camp"... ...I feel a little like Ali Baba, but without the bandits...
We almost have to hurry a little. Let's enjoy the common welcome drink at sunset on the big dune. And climbing an 80m high dune of finest sand is a real challenge and drudgery!
It cannot be described in words, so breathtaking when the sun sinks into the desert sea on the horizon! Barely blood-red glowing, it is pitch-black with one blow, and... cool! 35 degrees during the day, but woe betide the night. Good that the campfires in the camp are already crackling temptingly... a dreamy opportunity to remember the past, fabulous hours and days! Just like you will often remember this fairy tale from Thousand and One Nights ... back home ... back home!
And for those of you who are now in the mood and would like to learn more about our individual trips, here is a selection of our most beautiful trips!
Or better ... be there next time. We are looking forward to you!