The best or perhaps the only way of exploring Oman properly is by car/motorcycle. Whether you’re driving a rental, hiring a car with driver, or hitching a ride from friends/strangers doesn’t matter, as long you have some kind of motorised vehicle at your disposal.
Sure, it’s not the cheapest way, but if you choose taking public transport, you’ll miss out on all the natural beauty Oman has to offer. The few available busses will only take you from town A to town B, which means you’ll have to skip all the beautiful wadi’s hidden in between.
The only big cost will be the actual renting fee. Gas in Oman is literally cheaper than water. At the time of writing, the gas prices were at €0.23 per litre and that’s not a typo.
I was lucky enough to meet Zeina, a magnificent Omani lady who had a car called Boxy and was up for a trip with me. Before I knew it, we we’re cruising on the Omani highway on a road trip from Muscat, the capital, to the coastal town of Sur.
Strangely enough, it started raining cats and dogs as soon as we set off. Seriously?! Rain in the deserts of Oman?! The average rainfall is 10cm per year… I assume it all came pouring down that specific day…Our car Boxy, wasn’t even equipped for such a rare event! Zeina, told me she had never used her windshield wipers before. Which explained the state they were in: practically non-existant. We laughed hysterically and waited on the side of the road until the rain showers eased away.
As soon as the visibility improved we continued our journey and made our first stop. The sinkhole. Although it didn’t look all that attractive in the rain, I jumped in and took a dip anyway. “Ain’t gonna let a bit a rain scare me off”. It turned out to be a great decision as we had the whole place to ourselves and eventually, as always, there was sunshine after the rain.
After a long swim, we resumed our journey to Sur, where we spent the afternoon strolling the corniche.
Once the sun had set, we tried to find the campsite we had heard about. Quite the challenge, considering the road signs were either missing or not lit. According to local villagers who kindly tried to explain where the campsite was, our poor Boxy wasn’t powerful enough too handle the off road terrain on the way there. The villagers guided us to a ‘better’ camping spot. We lit a fire using the washed up logs and chunks of wood. Suddenly, a fisherman in a pick-up truck popped up and drove us to a specific part of the beach to show us something “special”…
The rest of our night on the beach was not uneventful, but that’s a tale I won’t be writing about today. It’s one of those stories that are better told in person, not in writing. The following morning, we kicked off our day in the neighbouring village with a delicious breakfast offered to us by the fisherman. After that, there was a lot of driving, laughing, eating… Your typical road trip scenario with stops in places like these…
Oman is now one of my favourite destinations. I love the spirit of the people, the laid back atmosphere, the emerald waters, the hospitality and generosity, the dramatic landscapes, the culture- some parts of which are strongly linked with the Swahili culture of Zanzibar…
Shokran jazeelan, Oman and Zeina for an unforgettable trip!
Would you consider vacationing in Oman?