Travel to Oman

Oman

Oman, a nation on the Arabian Peninsula, has terrain encompassing desert, riverbed oases and long coastlines on the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman. Wahiba Sands is a region of dunes inhabited by Bedouins. The port capital, Muscat, is home to the massive, contemporary Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, and the old waterfront Muttrah quarter, with a labyrinthine souk and busy fish market.

Overview

Oman is the choice for those seeking out the modern face of Arabia while also wanting to experience its ancient, authentic soul.  Oman is one of the most open and stable countries in the middle east, which makes it a perfect destination for those who are curious but hesitant to explore this fascinating region.  Oman is an easy place in which to feel instantly comfortable. Blessed with a bustling capital - Muscat - a stunning coastline dotted with beautiful beaches, and an exotic but accessible desert interior, there is plenty to see and do in Oman.

Natural history lovers will want to plan their visit around the turtle nesting time - there are 5 species of sea turtles that are found in Oman, four of which nest there: Green - which are endangered; Loggerhead ; Olive Ridley - the smallest; Hawksbill; Leatherback - the largest and a visitor only in offshore waters.

People

Oman’s official religion is Islam. Omanis have inhabited the territory that is now Oman for thousands of years. In the eighteenth century, an alliance of traders and rulers transformed Oman’s capital Muscat into the leading port of the Persian Gulf. Omani people are ethnically diverse, the Omani citizen population consists of many different ethnic groups. The majority of the population consists of Arabs, with many of these Arabs being Swahili language speakers and returnees from the Swahili Coast, particularly Zanzibar. Additionally, there are ethnic Balochis, Lurs, Lawatis, Swahili and Mehri.

Language

Arabic is the national language of Oman, but most Omanis will speak good to excellent English, particularly in major tourist areas and cities.

History

As early as 2,300 BC Oman was recorded by the Sumerians of Ancient Iraq as being a rich source of copper. In Ancient Times Oman was also a source of frankincense. After about 500 BC Oman was controlled by the Persian Empire based in what is now Iran. Later they were ruled by other Iranian Empires, the Parthians and the Sassanids.

In the 7th century AD the people of Oman adopted Islam. At that time Iranian influence ended. In 1507 the Portuguese arrived in Oman by sea. The Portuguese needed bases to protect their sea lanes to India and in 1515 they captured Muscat. The Portuguese controlled the coast of Oman for nearly 150 years. However in 1650 the Omanis of the interior drove out the Portuguese. Meanwhile in 1646 Oman signed a trade treaty with England. In 1698 Oman captured Mombasa (Kenya) and Zanzibar.

Then in 1737 the Persians invaded Oman. However the Omanis soon rallied. In 1747 the Persians were driven out of Oman. In 1832 the ruler Said the Great moved his capital to Zanzibar. However after his death in 1856 his sons fought over the succession. As a result Zanzibar and Oman became separate countries. Finally in 1913 the interior of Oman split from the coastal region. By the treaty of Seeb in 1920 the Sultan granted the interior autonomy. However in 1959 the Sultan regained control of the interior of Oman.

In 1967 oil was exported from Oman for the first time. Oil wealth transformed Oman from a poor country to a rich one. After 1970 the sultan modernized the country in what became known as the Omani Renaissance. In 1971 Oman joined the Arab league and the United Nations. In the years from 1970 to 2013 life expectancy in Oman greatly increased. In 2003 women in Oman were allowed to vote for the first time.

Today revenue from oil is declining but the government of Oman is trying to diversify the economy. Today Oman is a prosperous and developed country of 3.3 million.

Travel Guide

Currency

The rial is the currency of Oman (OMR). It is divided into 1000 baisa.  OMR 1 = approximately USD 2.50

Weather

October through April are the best months to visit Oman. Outside of these months, the temperatures can climb to 110 degrees F in the desert.

Health Requirements

No shots or medications are required for entry to Oman.

Visa Requirements

A 10 day single entry visa on arrival is OMR 5. This process can take an hour or more.  For those wanting to avoid the wait, visa in advance is available online at https://www.rop.gov.om/visa/english/onlineservices_visaapplication_main.aspx
Entry is denied citizens of Israel carrying Israeli passports. Israeli visa stamps in US passports are accepted.

Tipping & Porterage

Tipping is expected and appreciated. Tipping guidelines will be included in final documents packets.

Credit Cards

Visa and Mastercard are accepted at hotels and major shops and restaurants in Muscat. In markets and local cafes, cash is required.

Electrical Appliances

Sockets are Type G also known as British BS-1363. Adapters will be required for US appliances.
Voltage is 220 - 240, converters will be required for US appliances which typically run on 110 volts.

Water

Bottled drinking water is easily available at most stores. Tap water is generally safe; however, most Omanis drink bottled water and Africa Answers advises our guests to do the same.

Map

Destinations

Explore the rest of our Oman destinations:

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