JOIN ACCLAIMED MOTO-JOURNALIST AND NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC AUTHOR, PHOTOGRAPHER & EXPEDITION LEADER CHRISTOPHER P. BAKER ON AN EXHILARATING 10-DAY MOTORCYCLE TOUR IN THE SULTANATE OF OMAN
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 gaudy wealth turned much of the Arabian Peninsula into glitz and glamour. 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, the riding is fabulous! The highways are modern and superbly maintained, while there’s no shortage of gravel and sand roads to add an appropriate sense of adventure.
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 moto-journalist, motorcycle tour leader, and National Geographic author, photographer and expedition leader Christopher P. Baker on this memorable one-of-a-kind motorcycle 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.
- Visit a traditional goat and cattle auction in Nizwah
- Roam fertile wadis and rugged mountains
- Visit the Arabian gulf’s only remaining traditional dhow shipyard
- Spend a night at a luxury camp in the heart of the Sharqiya Sands
- Visit the exotic camel market in Sinaw
- Ride the Jebel Al-Akhdar highway–one of the world’s greatest drives.
- Go off-road to the summit of Jebel Sham, Oman’s highest mountain.
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DATES [9 DAYS/8 NIGHTS]
TBA, 2022 (private tour BMW Riding Academy of Turkey)
ITINERARY [subject to change]j
Participants arrive and settle into our hotel in Dubai. Meet with Christopher in the evening for orientation, then a welcome dinner.
Overnight: Shangri-La Hotel, DUBAI
This morning we’ll pick up our bikes and support van and set off east through the Emirates of.Sharjah, Umma al Qumain, and Ras al Kaimah. We’ll climb a stupendous switchback road to the summit of Jebel Jais… then descend to follow the scenic and serpentine coast road into Oman via the Musandam Peninsula. This rugged landlocked enclave of Oman is at the very northeastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.
Overnight: Shangri-La Hotel, DUBAI
Time permitting, we’ll ride out to the Khor Najd fjord before boarding our high-speed ferry to Shinas (2 hours), on the shores of the Gulf of Oman. We’ll then ride south along the coast highway (with little of the shore in view!) to Muscat, the beautiful, tranquil and modern capital of the Sultanate of Oman.
Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel, MUSCAT
We’ll take the early morning to explore the Mutrah fish market, ūber-photogenic Mutrah souk—full of stalls selling frankincense, intricately embroidered hats, and antique khajars (curved daggers), and iconic Corniche waterfront. We then 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 neighoring 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
This morning drive west via a superbly scenic and snaking mountain road to the 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). The deep sand tracks that lead to our deep-in-the-desert camp are impossible for our bikes [the rental terms do not permit taking the bikes into the Sands], so we will transfer via 4WD vehicles. We’ll thrill to a night camping atop the dunes in a luxury barrasti (tented camp) like something straight out of 1,001 Arabian Nights.
Overnight: Arabian Oryx Camp, SHARQIYA SANDS
Up early today to catch the camel market in the town of Sinaw! 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 late-afternoon, with time to explore the 17th-century fort and spectacular new Sultan Qaboos Mosque.
Overnight: Nizwa Residence Apartments, NIZWAH
This morning we’ll 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 dishdash. 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. Motorcycles are usually not allowed: we hope to gain special permission to make this journey along a road deemed one of the world’s greatest drives [see a Bugatti race a Ducati on this road on TOP GEAR]! Spend the afternoon on an optional hike to Wadi Bani Habib, a palm-lined canyon with groves of apricots and pomegranates and abandoned hillside mud-walled hamlets; or enjoying spa treatments, swimming in the cliffside pool, and simply sunning.
Overnight: Anantara Al-Jalal Al Akhdar, JEBEL AL AKHDAR
Day 8: Sunday
In the morning, we’ll ride up to Misfat, a picturesque mountain village of terraced stone houses surrounded by date palm groves. Then we hit the piste for a steep off-road ascent of Jebel Shams—Oman’s highest mountain. At the road summit, we enjoy staggering views into Wadi Shams, the country’s deepest canyon. Then down to Ibri for overnight, perhaps with time to explore its ancient castle and market.
Overnight: Ibri Oasis Hotel, IBRI
Day 9: Monday (February 14)
Our last day of riding, we head north for the UAE border at Al-Ain, where we’ll sweep and swoop up to the summit of Jebel Hafeet. Then we’ll head across the desert to Dubai, where we’ll drop our bikes and transfer to our hotel. Our final dinner together will be a superb buffet alfresco at the base of the Burj Khalifa—the world’s tallest building—with a superb view of the nightly sound-and-light show.
Overnight: Shangri-La, DUBAI
Depart for home.
All photographs are copyright Christopher P. Baker and may not be reproduced without permission