Oman is blessed with a unique geography. The northern and southern parts are dominated by mountains; the Hadjar Mountains in the north, often visited by geological research teams, and the Dhofar Mountains in the south, rising up to 3300 ft before dropping in chalk cliffs towards the sea. The monsoon rains turn this low plateau into a green oasis from June to August. The western and central regions are covered in desert sand; they are scarcely populated, and should you take your rental car through this area you will only occasionally encounter signs of human life, such as Bedouins on the move.
In summer temperatures rise above 104°F, making it rather uncomfortable for the average American; that is why the best time to travel to Oman is between October and April. However if you decide to venture into this nearly intolerable heat, it is bst to book a rental car with air conditioning!
Many cultural symbols will seem strange to you at first. For festive celebrations men wear a Khandjar on their belt, a traditional short sabre that only has ceremonial purposes. Traditional dress is colorful and with great care for detail, largely reflecting the locals’ attitude towards life. As long as treated with considerable respect the locals will be more than happy to tell you about their oriental culture and share their life philosophy in addition to their bread with you.
A great route is along the Al Batinah, a coastal strip in the northern part of Oman, mainly used for agricultural production. In the Dhofar Province a trip to Salalah, the country’s second biggest city, is inevitable. As is a visit to Oman’s capital Masqat, the pulsating heart of the country, located on the northern coast. Old districts like Matrah still leave room for impressive modern architecture. Strolling around the markets, picking up the scent of oriental spices and incense will instantly make you forget the monotonous daily routine every one tries to escape.
As you can see Oman is a country filled with mystery and diversity; it is also a very hospitable place, colorful and friendly, and the locals invest genuine care in making the best of your time.