The Sultanate of Oman riding holiday in Oman - Far and Ride
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The Sultanate of Oman, Oman




Programmes


• Wahiba Sands Ride

 

Horses



Type of horses:

Purebred Arabian and Arabian-crosses from the Royal stables.

Nature of horses:

Good temperament, sure footed and forward going, with great stamina.

Height of horses:

14 - 15hh

Weight limit:

85kg/187 lbs

Tack type:

English tack (some synthetic and some Leather). Horses generally wear snaffle bits, are ridden on a loose rein and respond to light/weight aids.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

Oman is one of the last truly Arabic countries in the middle east, free from excessive western influence and the distorting lens of wealth. Here, travellers have a rare opportunity to witness the traditional Arabic charms and Bedouin values of old. Here is a land that has been nearly forgotten by time, with an abundance of natural beauty, ranging from wind-swept deserts, spectacular mountains and pristine coastlines. In this respect, Oman offers a fantastic contrast of riding terrain between mountains, desert and coastal plains. The diversity of the landscape and the wonderful local people make this a truly memorable and one-of-a-kind horse riding holiday.

These unique rides are organised by Emmanuelle Lancon who has been pioneering rides in the area for many years. Working closely with the nephew of the Sultan Qaboos - who has a particular interest in endurance and long distance riding - these trails have gained increasing popularity and offer some of the finest quality riding and accommodation. Oman is a member of the World Arabian Horse Organisation and the Sultan himself has taken a very keen interest in the preservation and development of the Omani Arabian horse. The result is a team of nimble and hardy little horses who are able to cover great distances, over some of the most challenging of terrain with great ease and enormous heart. The complexity of the topography does often limit the pace of these rides, but when the landscape allows, you will find that these Arabs have an amazing "turn of foot".

During the trails you will stay in hotel accommodations in Muscat at the beginning and end of the trail, as well as spending one night in a luxurious fixed desert camp retreat near Wasil. On the subsequent riding days you will stay in desert camps with basic facilities, such as a shower tent. In all cases, you will enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the Omani people and be very well cared for by a full team of back-up staff including guides, horse grooms, chef, drivers and camp attendants.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation on the first and last nights of the trail is provided in a hotel in the capital of Muscat. One night will be in a luxurious fixed tent desert camp close to Wasil - these generally have large walk-in tents with proper beds and bathrooms with running water and hot showers. The other 4 nights will be spent in mobile camps in the desert which will be set up by the back-up team before your arrival each evening. These accommodations are more basic, offering smaller walk-in canvas tents with sleeping cots and bedding provided. There is usually a "wash" tent with a bucket shower and water can be heated for you, although you will need to be very frugal. Typically evening meals will be served outside, under the stars, unless the temperatures become too low in which case there is more than enough space to eat in the large mess tent.

Generally the weather is pleasant and you can sleep under the stars if you wish.

Omani cuisine has a great deal of influence from India. Many of the back up staff - as well as hotel and restaurant staff - are originally from India or Bangladesh. Breakfast is generally filling, with bread or chapattis, perhaps boiled eggs or omelettes and is usually served with tea, coffee and fruit juice. Lunch and dinner are both cooked by the camp chef - generally rice with various curries, samosas, chapattis, meat kebabs, barbecued chicken or fish. There is a good supply of bottled mineral water - not only at meal times but also when riding, so that no one gets dehydrated on the ride. The back up vehicles are never far away and can reach the riders at any point.

After riding, a thermos of hot water is usually on the table when you arrive in camp for tea or other hot drinks. Coffee is drunk Bedouin style, in very small cups, often very strong and flavoured with cardamom. Alcohol is not easily available except in some of the bigger hotels. You are welcome to take your own bottle of duty free but please note that the Bedouin are quite traditional and we would ask you to respect their traditions and not drink openly in front of them.

 

Activities

Non-riders are welcome on the tour and can join as hikers or on camels, meeting the riders each evening at camp.

We would highly recommend taking a few days either side of your riding tour in order to discover the delights of Oman.

The capital, Muscat, is an incredibly elegant port town dotted with beautiful old Arabic buildings including the Grand Mosque, the Sultan's palace, the Royal Opera House as well as a whole host of charming souks and markets to discover. When not in the saddle, you may also wish to spend some time on the glorious unspoilt beaches of Oman - miles of pristine sand extending from the port of Muscat to the border of Saudi Arabia, nearly 200km to the northwest.

For the more adventurous, then why not discover the ancient forts and souks of Nizwa - considered the pearl of Islam - or take a 4x4 safari through the desert to the Wadi Bani Khalid or the green mountains. Or you could take to the water to enjoy diving, snorkelling, boat tours and fishing, surrounded by crystal clear water with intermittent interruptions by playful dolphins and graceful whales.

 

Further Details

Languages: English, French and Arabic

Health requirements: All riders should be fit & healthy, able to withstand long hours in the saddle and happy to ride a forward going and often spirited arab horse.

Age limit: 14 + (with plenty of experience and good rider fitness)

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation, meals as per the itineraries, all riding with an English speaking guide, all back-up and equipment transport during the whole tour.

Not included: Flights, airport transfers, lunches in Muscat, drinks (please note that alcohol is not traditionally available in Oman, although some hotels do serve it), sleeping bag, visa fees, tips and travel insurance.

 

Travel Information

The meeting point for all trails is at Muscat airport, where you will be collected by a representative from the tour company. We will arrange collection times in accordance with guests flight arrival times - this may mean that you may have to wait for other guest's flights to arrive and be transferred together. The transfer costs c. 10 om (c. USD 26) each way.

British Airways and Oman Air fly direct to Muscat from London Heathrow each day. A number of other flights are also available from mainland Europe, as well as from other countries in the Arabian gulf.

NB: Entry visas are required in order to enter Oman. These can be purchased on arrival at Muscat airport very simply and cost around £10.

Airport: Muscat (Seeb) International airport

 

Programmes


Wahiba Sands Ride



Ride on the beautiful beaches and Wahiba Sands of Oman, discovering sand dune valleys, long wadis and bedouin villages. Spend each night in comfortable camps with local dinners, bedouin music and Omani hospitality. Non-riders are also welcome to join on foot or camel, meeting the riders each evening.

Day One:

Arrive at Seeb International Airport and transfer to your hotel which is located  near to Muttrah Souk and the Old Muscat city, with its palace and museum. 

The afternoon is set aside for a tour of the city, visiting the souk and walking its labyrinthine streets of imported fabrics, exotic spices, perfumes and artefacts. After exploring this old quarter of Muscat you transfer a short distance to the magnificent Al Alam Palace - the official residence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, the ruler of Oman. The palace is an architectural marvel for both its design and location, being between the twin Portuguese forts of Mirani and Jalali. Between 3-5pm you then join a boat tour on the Oman Sea before dinner at your hotel. (Lunch is to your own account today).

Day Two:

After breakfast you are driven c. one hour to meet some horses and ride along the beach, stopping for lunch on Sawadi Beach. After lunch, you transfer c. 3 hours to your camp in the desert, where your horses and team will be waiting for you. After dinner under the stars you will learn about your itinerary for the rest of the week. 

Overnight in this comfortable camp.

Days Three, Four, Five, Six:

For the next four days you will ride in the amazing Wahiba desert which is famous for its red sand dunes, camels and bedouins. The Wahiba is a vast desert of 10,000 square kilometres and the challenge of living here has been mastered by the Bedouin. The Omani bedouin are proud of their hospitality which is an important way of life for them, so they will invite you into their camps made of palm leaves and you may meet their camel caravans as they traverse the desert. The Omanis are famous for breeding the best camels in the Middle East.

To avoid the heat of the day, you will ride early in the morning and late afternoon/evening, perhaps even at night, with long midday siestas. You ride eastwards for the most part, along tracks of compact sand which allow good progress and let the Arabian horses show you their stamina. Each evening your team will set up the mobile camp in a new location and prepare your meals before you dine under the stars around the camp fire.

Day Seven:

Leave the horses behind and transfer to Wadi Beni Khalid, the most well-known wadi of the Shargiyah region. Its stream maintains a constant flow of water throughout the year and there are large pools of water and boulders scattered along the course of the wadi. 

In the evening you return to Muscat to spend the night in a four star hotel, and dine in a seafood restaurant. 

Day Eight:

After breakfast you can relax and check out of your hotel, or extend your stay. No other meals are included today. A taxi to the airport will cost c. 10 om (c. USD 26)



Minimum group size: 5
Maximum group size: 8
Ability description: Strong intermediate to advanced. You should have a light independent seat and should be able to control your horse at all paces using a light hand.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 5 days of riding (c. 5 hours each day)
Departure dates: 2017/18:
18-25 November; 9-16 December*; 27 December-4 January; 13-20 January; 3-10 February; 10-17 February; 17-24 February; 24 February - 3 March; 3-10 March; 13-20 October; 27 October-3 November; 10-17, 17-24 November; 1-8, 15-22 December; 27 December-3 January 2019.

* The ride of 9-16 December visits Buhla Horse Festival on the final day instead of Wadi Ben Khalid.
 
Pricing: 2017/18:

Approximately £2152 per person (please contact us for exact quote)
£117 single supplement