Chris was the perfect trip leader. His knowledge of the country and its history is vast and he enthusiastically wanted to share it with us along with his years of experience as a photographer… He’s talented, interesting, accessible, and fun to travel with. Plus, he really did seem to care about each of us — if we were okay, getting good images, too tired, too hot, etc. I would certainly travel with him again. He certainly kept up the high standards of a Jim Cline Photo Trip.”
JUDY B., COLOMBIA 2018
Chris, you are a one of a kind. Really enjoyed you as a photographer, a guide, and of course as a fabulous story teller. You have so much knowledge, and I loved your positive energy.”
ASA M., CUBA 2020
It was a delight to travel with you. Thanks for being such an integral part of a wonderful experience. I hope we’ll see each other again on another JCPT trip.
SUSAN S., SULTANATE OF OMAN, 2020

The yin to the United Arab Emirate’s yang, the mysterious and slow-paced sultanate of Oman is “old” Arabia, harking back to the days before the distorting lens of gaudy wealth turned much of the Arabian Peninsula into glitz and glamor. Utterly photogenic, Oman has everything fabulous that the Arabian Peninsula has to offer: Traditional and affable Arab and Bedouin cultures… colorful carpet-filled souks teeming with frankincense and spices… glittering gold markets… old Arabic and Portuguese forts… and abundant natural beauty, from rugged mountains and verdant wadis to vast expanses of sand perfect for camel safaris. Plus, Oman is safe!

We’ll visit when Oman’s wonderful winter climate is at its most perfect. Plus, we’ll stay at some of the region’s top hotels, including a luxury desert camp amid the dunes!

Join renowned travel journalist and National Geographic photographer Christopher P. Baker on this memorable one-of-a-kind photo tour, and…

  • Explore Muscat, the atmospheric capital city, with its spectacular mosque and souk, and where every building must feature a dome or arabesque window.
  • Photograph a traditional goat and cattle auction in Nizwah
  • Roam fertile wadis and rugged mountains
  • Visit the Arabian gulf’s only remaining traditional dhow shipyard
  • Enjoy an optional camel ride across the Sharqiya Sands
  • Shoot the exotic camel market in Sinaw
  • Thrill to a journey by traditional dhow sailing ship through the fjords of Musandam 

TOUR DATES:
February 5-17, 2022 
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PRICE:
TBD
 

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ITINERARY (SUBJECT TO CHANGE):

Day 1: Saturday (February 5)
Participants arrive and settle into our hotel in Muscat. Meet with Christopher in the evening for orientation, plus a set-the-scene slide show, then a welcome dinner.
Overnight: CROWNE PLAZA MUSCAT

Day 2: Sunday (February 6)
We begin by visiting the Mutrah fish market, where the day’s catch is delivered at sunrise. Then we’ll explore the famous and ūber-photogenic Mutrah souk—full of stalls selling frankincense, intricately embroidered hats, and antique khajars (curved daggers). After resting the midday hours at our hotel, we’ll roam the backstreets of Mutrah, Muscat’s oldest area, and photograph from atop Mutrah Fort before spending the “blue hour” shooting along the iconic Corniche waterfront, with its floodlit mosque. Dine on the Corniche.
Overnight: CROWNE PLAZA MUSCAT

Day 3: Monday (February 7)
Depart Muscat and follow the Qurayat-Sur coast highway, along the scenic base of the Hajar Mountains, via Wadi Shab, a palm oasis with pools and ancient aqueducts. Arriving at the ancient fishing village of Al-Ayjah, we’ll explore the old town (where houses feature elaborately carved doors and lotus-pillar porches) and neighouring Sur, with its fascinating Maritime Museum (recalling Sur’s once-mighty prowess as a maritime port). Our photographic highlight here will be witnessing boat-builders at work in the dhow shipyard—the only one of its kind still remaining in Oman.
Overnight: SUR PLAZA HOTEL, SUR

Day 4: Tuesday (February 8)
This morning drive west to the gorgeous mountain oasis of Wadi Bani Khalid—a chance for a refreshing plunge in natural freshwater pools. Then continue to the legendary Sharqiya Sands (formerly Wahiba Sands) Driving into the sands proper, we’ll thrill to two nights camping atop the dunes in a luxury barrasti (tented camp) like something straight out of 1,001 Arabian Nights. We’ll photograph a Bedu and his camels at sunset.
Overnight: ARABIAN ORYX CAMP (OR EQUIVALENT)

Day 5: Wednesday  (February 9)
Rise early to photograph the desert sunrise with camels! Then, after breakfast, ride to a Bedu camp, where we’ll engage with a Bedouin family—a chance to interact closely with the women, dressed in exotic abeyas (robes) and beaked half-face burqas (many adorned with glittering jewels). After relaxing mid-day at our camp, we’ll venture out in late afternoon to a nearby Bedu village for sunset photography. We hope to perhaps also watch a camel race in the desert.
Overnight: ARABIAN ORYX CAMP (OR EQUIVALENT)

Day 6: Thursday  (February 10)
Up early today to catch the camel market in the town of Sinaw. Here we’ll explore the exotic souk, where colorfully adorned Bedu (bedouins) trade goats and other livestock. Sinaw souk is also famous for its craftsmen skilled at making classic khajar curved daggers. After lunch, continue to Nizwah, where we’ll check into our hotel in mid-afternoon then photograph the spectacular new Sultan Qaboos Mosque at sunset and the blue hour. The nighttime photography in Nizwa is sensational as we explore its dusty backstreets, souq, and 17th-century fort.
Overnight: INTERCITY NIZWA 

Day 7: Friday (February 11)
Up with the dawn this morning to visit the Friday-only livestock market, where goats, cattle and other beasts of burden are sold off amid boisterous bargaining by bearded old men in colorful turbans and jalabas. We’ll also explore Nizwah’s colorful souq. In the afternoon we’ll head to Bahla to photograph the massive 800-year-old fort; and the Aladawi pottery potteries, tucked in the narrow backstreets and where terra-cotta vases and other earthenware are hand-crafted in traditional manner.
Overnight: INTERCITY NIZWA

Day 8: Saturday (February 12)
In the morning, we’ll visit Bait Al-Safah, a “living history museum” in Al-Hamrah, one of Oman’s oldest mudbrick oasis villages—superbly photogenic for its semi-decrepitude. Here we’ve arranged for a private photo-op with Omanis in traditional costume. We’ll also spend time photographing in Misfat, a picturesque mountain village of terraced stone houses surrounded by date palm groves. Then, ascending via a spectacularly sinuous highway, we’ll arrive at the Anantara Al-Jalal Al Akhdar, a luxury hotel atop the Saiq Plateau. Its spectacular cliff-top location offers sensational sunset views from Diana’s Viewpoint.
Overnight: ANANTARA AL-JALAL AL AKHDAR

Day 9: Sunday (February 13)
This morning we’ll hike to Wadi Bani Habib, a palm-lined canyon with groves of apricots and pomegranates and abandoned hillside mud-walled hamlets. After lunch at our hotel, we’ll return to Muscat, stopping en-route to photograph Sultan Qaboose Mosque, with its stunning contemporary architecture, breathtakingly rich prayer hall, and the world’s second-largest hand-woven rug. The balance of the day is at leisure to enjoy the hotel swimming pool or partaking of optional activities.
Overnight: CROWNE PLAZA MUSCAT

Day 10: Monday (February 14)
This morning we take a short flight to Musandam, an Omani enclave (totally surrounded by the United Arab Emirates) at the northeast tip of the Arabian Peninsula, jutting into the Straits of Hormuz. We’ll have the afternoon free to roam the streets of the small and photogenic port town of Khasab. In past years, the city-folk—male and female—have proven extremely welcoming and open to our cameras. In late afternoon, we’ll venture to the nearby fishing village of Qadah for more serendipitous photography.
Overnight: ATANA MUSANDAM RESORT

Day 11: Tuesday (February 15)
This morning we’ll join a local family aboard a traditional dhow for a relaxing half-day cruise through the “fjords” of the Musandam coastline. The rest of the day is free in Khasab.
Overnight: ATANA MUSANDAM RESORT

Day 12: Wednesday (February 16)
We fly back to Muscat today. En route to our hotel, we’ll visit the boutique Enfleurage frankincense distillery, with its old copper stills. The balance of the afternoon will be at leisure to relax, perhaps by the hotel pool with its superb views over Qurm Beach or for further photography in Mutrah souq and the Corniche.
Overnight: CROWNE PLAZA MUSCAT

Day 13: Thursday (February 17)
Depart Oman for home.

 

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