If someone asks you about typical destinations for hiking, Oman will rarely come to mind. In all likelihood, the imaginary vision of deep plains unfolds before your mind’s eye instead, with caravans moving ponderously along, casting their shadow cones in the hazy light of the sun. Surely, with this even surreal imagining, it will surprise you that Oman is one of the top hiking destinations in the world. Because apart from the desert, the Sultanate is dotted with mountains and mountain massifs, which always show themselves from a new, enchanting side. Impressed? Wait until you have explored Oman on foot.
Hiking in Oman will take your breath away – hopefully without altitude sickness. Lace up your boots, pack your backpack, have your camera and lots of wanderlust at the start. With this Oman hiking guide you will get to know the Arabian earth from a different side than you could have imagined in your wildest dreams. The mountain calls!
Carpe diem – the best time to go hiking in Oman
As is often the case when visiting a foreign country, it is impossible to generalize about the best time to visit Oman. For the strange peculiarities of the weather god have a significant say in this. The difference is small, but fine. Therefore, you should first consider in which region and thus altitudes of the Sultanate your hiking trip should lead you and then align your travel period. If you can’t choose this flexibly, vary the choice of trail according to altitude for an exhaustion-free hike.
Oman is an extremely hot country that rarely sees temperatures below 30 °C. However, once this is the case, a hike should definitely be on the agenda. Then you will be able to cope better with the otherwise usual heat of congestion at lower altitudes. Therefore, plunge into the winter months from December to February and enjoy a strenuous but not impotent hiking experience. Your advantage is furthermore that the Hiking Trails with their gigantic canyons and glorious panoramas – independent of location – present themselves in all their beauty without the haze hanging in front of your nose.
You are planning to travel the north of Oman? Hiking in the lowlands during the shimmering hot summer months is strongly discouraged. The Hajar Mountains, on the other hand, are almost 3,000 meters high and offer you a real freshness kick even during the summer months from June to September at high altitudes. While it gets sensitively cold in the mountains at night, in winter you can sometimes compete with the snow eagle.
The same applies to the high altitudes of the Dhofar Mountains in the south of Oman in the Dhofar region. The rainy spectacle emanating from the Khareef monsoon during this period gives you temperatures around 20 °C. However, you must then expect debris avalanches and torrential flooding. Be sure to get local advice on the safety situation during the monsoon season and thus hike much more carefree.
Packing List for a Hike in Oman in Style
If you want to hike in Oman and master the legendary routes with sometimes high demands and diverse weather conditions, you should think in advance in detail about what you ideally carry in your backpack. The following packing list gives you a clue and security:
Dress in the onion look to be ready for all climatic eventualities. Functional underwear, functional shirt and functional socks prevent heat build-up and wick sweat away from the body. This way you avoid that after a few kilometers your underpants are already worn out. A pair of hiking pants that you can zip is handy for sudden temperature changes. If you are traveling during the Khareef monsoon, rain pants are recommended. For insulation, wrap your limbs smoothly in a soft shell jacket or fleece jacket. Sensible hiking boots, a headgear and a set of clothes to change belong to your basic equipment.
Sunscreen with a high SPF is the key if you don’t want to come back like a crab. A first aid kit keeps plasters & Co. ready for emergencies and a roll of toilet paper crumpled into the backpack proves to be a real blessing in case of need.
It goes without saying that you provide your body with the necessary moisture during the strenuous trip. Therefore, you should always have a 1-liter water bottle on board, in which you fill water, unsweetened tea or potassium-rich apple spritzer. To stay well-fed while hiking in Oman, it’s best to organize high-energy snacks such as granola bars, sports bars with special nutrients, and vegetables and fruit. Bananas, apples and pears provide you with short-term energy. Before you lace up your hiking boots, ideally eat plenty of carbohydrates. Make sure your provisions are packed crush-proof!
Sunglasses are not a bad idea in Oman. In addition, hiking poles help you to better overcome differences in altitude. With a trash bag you support the preservation of the grandiose nature and your smartphone will be happy about a powerbank. If you have binoculars and a camera at the start, you qualify as a well-equipped Oman hiker.
Mountain adventure in Oman – Hiking at the most sensational spots in Arabia
Hiking Spot #1: Jebel Shams | Challenging ***
If you think that the Grand Canyon in Arizona is the only one of its kind in the world, the hiking region around Jebel Shams in the middle of the gigantic Hajar Mountains will prove you wrong. You can reach the area from Muscat in about 3 hours and 240 km. You should be in good shape for a hike along stunned precipices at an altitude of about 3,000 meters, where expressions like “Holla, the forest fairy!” constantly leave your throat. Prepare yourself for the fact that hiking here is not a walk in the park, but should be done with care if you want to return safely. For the asphalt routes are unmistakably designed for cars, but not necessarily for hikers.
If you manage to pass the unpaved paths, you will be rewarded with three breathtaking viewpoints on the summit. The Saiq Plateau with Diana’s Viewpoint – dedicated to Princess Diana, who approached the plateau via helicopter in 1990 – is legendary and absolutely steeped in history. By the way, you won’t find any gastronomy up here and therefore you should equip yourself well with drinks and snacks. Tip: The early bird catches the worm! Grab the first hours of the morning and witness the sunrise cutting its blood-red rays into the rock massifs. An unforgettable experience!
Hiking spot #2: Al Wakan Village | Demanding **
A beautiful hideaway, about 1.5 hours and 130 km from Muscat in the district of Al-Batinah, a montane agricultural village awaits you with enchanting orchards spanning the terraced plains like a pearl-studded web. You will hike uphill on three trekking trails to an altitude of about 2,000 meters, while plantations of grapes, pomegranates and apricots smell at your feet. Feel the fruity aroma catch in your nose and give the mountain farmers your best smile as you climb to the watchtower.
Hiking Spot #3: Jebel Akhdar | Comfortable *
You don’t want to drift quite so far towards Central Oman and stay close to the capital region while hiking in Oman? In about 2.5 hours and 150 km from Muscat, the nature reserve around the Jebel Akhdar mountain range sucks you into its green lungs. Due to its precipitation-rich habitat, it is also known as the “Green Mountain” far beyond the country’s borders. To hike in Oman as a beginner, you are in the best place.
The paths are asphalted and are lined with gastronomy at regular intervals. You will be granted access to the site through a police checkpoint – a mini-check for which you do not need a separate license. When you are not distracted by sweet fruit, breathtaking valleys await you. If you give in to temptation, your pupils will get stuck on countless pomegranate farms sideways of pretty little mountain villages. An Arabian idyll that will give you your best Oman memories with a toothy, charming smile of an Omani mountain farmer.
Hiking Spot #4: Wadi Shab | Comfortable *
Pure hiking is not your thing and you need the prospect of a reward for your sweat for the highest possible motivation? You should get this on a hike at Wadi Shab while diving into dazzling natural pools. You can reach the Sharqiyah region from Muscat in 2.25 hours and 170 km. The trail leads you through the central axis of rocks lying to the left and right, at the feet of which small pools pool.
With a little luck you may share your bath water with donkeys and mules. The wadi is known for its cliff jumpers. However, it is strongly discouraged to seek the thrill of a Salto Mortale. Due to the rocky terrain, this can mean danger to life in the worst case! Alternatively, hike to the pretty cascade that awaits you in the face of a cave mouth. You can’t get more variety for a relaxed and adventurous hike in Oman.
Hiking Spot #5: Desert Hiking Rub Al-Khali | ONLY on guided tour with guide
If for once in your life you want to blink your eyes at the Omani starry sky and let out your shout of exultation at the endless silence in the resonating space between mighty dune ridges and valleys, hiking in the Rub Al-Khali sand desert is THE highlight that outshines anything you’ve ever seen before.
If you value your life and don’t want to face the embarrassment of breakneck rescues just to hike in Oman, book a guided desert hike online. Is there a more beautiful smoke signal to the Arab gods than the glow of the flames of an Omani desert campfire?