Begin your private trip with pickup from your Muscat hotel, and settle inside your comfortable, climate-controlled 4x4 with your guide.
Cruise through Muscat’s pretty streets and then head south toward Nizwa, the capital of Oman during the 6th and 7th centuries. On route, hear about Oman’s history from your guide, and soak in views of the craggy Al Hajar Mountains, quiet villages, and extensive palm oases that punctuate the route.
After around two hours, arrive in Nizwa, and head for the main souk. Delve into the covered alleyways and courtyards of this old-time marketplace, and peruse the spice, pottery, antiques, and perfume shops. If you wish, purchase souvenirs, perhaps with haggling tips from your guide.
Next, visit Nizwa Fort, the town’s immaculately restored 17th-century fort and Oman’s most-visited national monument. Explore the towers, staircases, and courtyards, and hear how the fort was built by Sultan bin Saif al-Yaruba of the Ya’aruba dynasty to defend Nizwa from the Portuguese.
Admire the mountain views from the battlements, and view the remnants of rock carvings and paintings thought to be more than 2,000 years old.
Next, drive into the mountains, ascending winding roads up Jebel Shams, the highest peak in the 430-mile (700-kilometer) Al Hajar range. Watch for shepherds tending to their herds on the slopes, and drink in the barren landscapes, sparsely dotted with tiny stone villages.
At the summit of Jebel Shams, absorb the spectacular views of the surrounding ravines and gorges, part of what’s known as Oman’s Grand Canyon.
After enjoying the scenery, descend the mountain and stop at Birkat al Mauz, home to an abandoned hillside village. Walk through the banana groves to view the crumbled, mud-brick houses, and hear the village’s history before returning to Muscat.
Your tour then concludes with a hotel drop-off.