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.

Nature of horses:

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

Height of horses:

14 - 15hh

Weight limit:

Rider limit is generally: 80kg/187 lbs, however, riders up to 90kg may be accommodated by prior notice, please contact the office to discuss.

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.

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

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. With the support of local breeders and a particular interest in endurance and long distance riding - these trails have gained increasing popularity, offering a combination of quality riding and a traditional cultural experience. 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 that the country now has a great many 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 the Omani Arabian horses have an amazing "turn of foot".

During the trail, you will stay the first night in a hotel in Muscat, as well as spending one night in a comfortable fixed desert camp retreat. On the subsequent riding days, you will stay in mobile desert camps with basic facilities. In all cases, you will enjoy the wonderful hospitality of the Omani people and be very well cared for by a full team of backup staff including guides, horse grooms, chef, drivers and Bedouin camp attendants.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation on the first night of the trail is provided in a 3* 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 backup team before your arrival each evening. The final night will be spent in a comfortable guesthouse in the historic town of Al Hamra. The camp accommodations are fairly basic bedouin style camps, offering a large central "mess" tent and smaller, modern, pop-up igloo tents. There is usually basic washing facilities available in the mess tent and water can be heated for you, although you will need to be very frugal in the desert. 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 in the desert and you can even choose to sleep out under the stars if you wish.

Omani cuisine has a great deal of influence from India. Many of the backup 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 backup 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 readily available except to western visitors in some of the bigger hotels in Muscat. It is otherwise an offence to drink or be drunk in public.

 

Activities

Non-riders are welcome on the tour, 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, 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, all meals except lunch on day 1, all riding with an English speaking guide, as well as all back-up support and equipment transport during the whole tour.

Not included: Flights, airport transfers, lunch on day 1 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 member of staff from the hotel you will be staying in, who will take you here to settle in and drop your bags.

We will arrange collection times in accordance with all guest's 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 OMR each way (payable directly on arrival).

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 approx. 20 OMR.

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, meeting the riders each evening.

Day One:

The following programme is based on arrival to Muscat in the morning of the first day of the trail (Day 1) and departure on the evening of the final day (Day 8). Depending on the flight schedule, it may be necessary to book additional hotel nights (at additional cost) prior and following the trail in order to accommodate your travel. Please always check flights with us before booking in order to confirm.

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. A driver can be organised for you in advance or there are reliable taxi services available directly at the airport when you arrive (cost is approx. 10-12 OM).

This afternoon has been 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 the 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. (Lunch is to your own account today).

Dinner will be served at the 3* hotel in Muscat where you will be spending the night.

Day Two:

After breakfast, you are driven c. one hour to the Arabian and Anglo-Arabian breeding stud of Muscat to meet the horses and take a ride along the beach. Once returned from your ride, you'll be able to enjoy a locally prepared lunch at the stud. The stud itself is home to over 120 horses who are bred and trained for Arab racing and endurance. There is a chance to look around, meet the horses and ask questions too.

After lunch, you will transfer c. 3 hours to your camp in the desert, where your trail horses and support team will be waiting for you. After a typical Bedouin dinner under the stars, you will be able to discuss 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 campfire.

Day Seven:

Following a last morning ride in the desert, you will leave the horses and the desert team behind before heading to Wadi Beni Khalid. This is the most well-known wadi of the Shargiyah region and often regarded as the "Grand Canyon" of Oman. 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, which covers a large swathe of low land and mountains. 

In the afternoon you will continue on to Al Hamra village (c. 3-hour drive) to spend the night in a comfortable guesthouse here. The village is over 400 years old and is a traditional Bedu village built on a tilted rock slab beneath the shadow of Mount Shams, the highest mountain in Oman.

If time allows, you can visit the Souk in Al Hamra and witness the traditional sweet, Halwa (Halva), being made.

Day Eight:

An early start will see you now heading to the nearby town of Nizwa. Nizwa is an oasis in the mountains and the principal city of the interior regions of Oman. Here you will find extensive ornamental gardens and palm groves, as well as the dominating old fortress (one of the largest in the country) which once played its part as the administrative set of authority back when Nizwa was the centre of all trade, education and religion for Oman proper. A visit to the large souk will throw up treasures such as ornate silver jewellery and traditional handicrafts. 

In the afternoon you will continue (approx. 2 hours) before returning to Muscat to enjoy a relaxed afternoon/evening. 

Most flights from Oman are scheduled to depart in the evening and a taxi to the airport can be organised for you to get here in time for your flight home. Those wanting to stay on in Oman, extra hotel nights in the city can be organised (at extra cost), or onward travel as necessary.



Minimum group size: 5
Maximum group size: 6
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: 4 full days and 2 half days of riding (c. 2 - 5 hours each day)
Departure dates: 2018:
13-20 October; 20-27 October (CONFIRMED); 27 October - 3 November; 3-10 November; 10-17 November; 17-24 November; 24 November - 1 December; 8-15 December (1 PAX INTERESTED); 31 December - 7 Jan (NEW YEAR RIDE).

* Special offer dates - 5% per person discount when two or more book together and share a room.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1782 per person (based on shared rooms/tents)
£134 single supplement

Price includes 7 nights (2 in hotels/guesthouses and 5 camping in the desert), meals from dinner on day 1 to dinner on day 8, bottled drinking water, 4 full days and 2 half days of riding with an English speaking guide and all transport during the trail ride with an English speaking driver.

Price does not include meals other than specified, drinks (other than bottled water), flights or airport transfers as well as any other personal expenses (visas, tips, etc).