Oman

  • Day one: Our first day in Muscat is mostly a sightseeing trip that starts with the Sultan Quaboose Grand Mosque. The only mosque in Oman accessable for non-moslims.
  • It is a very modern mosk, built in 2001
  • The entrance of the mosk reminds me very much of the gardens of the Alhambra in Spain
  • The sweet smelling flower of Frangipane
  • Of course you need to be decently dressed and women need to cover their hair before going in.
  • Guarding the entrance in the shade. What surprised at first was that there were no weapons to be seen anywhere in Oman, not even at the airport. A nice peaceful country!
  • Inside the praying room for females
  • A local guide and Sarah, one of our Brittish guides
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  • The chandelier in the praying room is amazing. One of the largest in the world. Of course our guide told us how many light bulbs and Swarovski crystals it contained, how much it weighed etc and that actually someone can enter it by a hidden door.
  • The dome above the chandelier is magnificent as well.
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  • All of a sudden someone comes out of a hidden door, carrying a vacuum cleaner...
  • Every door has been carved by hand
  • Each part of the mosk has a different style of mosaics, with patterns and materials from all over the world
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  • Next stop: The Royal Palace.
  • It's a pity we can't go inside, as the outside is quite impressive!
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  • Lunch in the shade
  • Muscat's landmark, the incense burner
  • Walking along the corniche
  • Some kind of Heron
  • a plover-like bird
  • Curlew, a bird we know in the Netherlands as 'wulp'
  • A lot of interesting animals are visible below the water as well
  • A huge ray
  • And a seaturtle - the first one I've ever seen outside of a zoo!
  • The Muttrah Souk
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  • Sometimes you do need to look up at the ceiling to discover the best bits
  • The jewelry available is quite nice
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  • Cooking pans for every size of family
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  • Dresses for the modern Omani women
  • Very elegant
  • Below the black they are dressed very colorful!
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  • Of course the men need to look good as well
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  • Found something interesting on the beach. Anyone who can help me with a translation? Our Omani driver could not...
  • During dinner we speculated what might be inside those packages.
  • Greg did not speculate - he just opened oned. The contents was disappointing - just paper tissue.
  • Day 2: Into the wild. A cycade chirping loudly is the first creature I meet.
  • Fort Nakhal
  • Entrance to Fort Nakhal
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  • The patterns on the ceilings are interesting
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  • All of a sudden I get the feeling I've seen this place before...
  • The road becomes narrow and steep
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  • The entrance to the gorge of Wadi Bani Auf
  • Looks like we should go there
  • The gorge of Wadi Bani Auf
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  • Balad Seed, a nice surprise at the other side of the gorge
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  • Back on the road again
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  • A abandoned village along Wadi Ghul
  • The new village, with a soccer field in front of it
  • Jabal Misht in the distance
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  • Sunset - time to find a place to camp
  • Our first campsite
  • Nice flat rocks to put your tent upon. Just don't use the pegs.
  • Day 3: Hey, we got a visitor (he ate all our bananas...)
  • At the start of our trip along Wadi Ghul
  • A new village on top of the wadi. Did these people live down below before?
  • Souvenirs and fossils for sale
  • Today's walk is an easy trip along the top of the wadi
  • Some nice shade resting places along the route.
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  • There is an abandoned village at the end of the wadi
  • The terraces are still there, but not in use anymore
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  • People used to live here until a new village was build for them, with electricity and water
  • It must have been hard to leave anyway
  • Only 40 years ago, people still lived here
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  • One of the nicest thing about this spot was the sound of birds singing all over the place
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  • Tanuf, a village bombed during the Jebel Akdhar war
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  • Lucky shot really, driving along the peaks of Jebel Akhdar on our way to the next campsite
  • We'll stay here for two nights
  • Jebel Akhdar means Green Mountain. Well, according to Omani standards this is quite green.
  • Day 4: A walk down from our camp to Bani Habin
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  • Bani Habin, another deserted village, with a wadi full of walnut trees. A nice spot to have a picnic.
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  • Some rules about how to behave when you visit an Omani village
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  • The fallaj - the water channels that mean life to the farming grounds
  • Oh well, they are fun for tourists as well
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  • One new terrace per generation - you could calculate how long people have been living here
  • young pomegranate trees
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  • Back to our camp by a dusty road
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  • Intrigueging dots on the rock. Fossiles or just erosion?
  • Sunset at Jebel Akhdar
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  • Moonrise at the other side
  • Flowers in front of my tent
  • Day 5: the next walk goes down this wadi
  • Not the easiest path - but as long as it is going down, I don't mind
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  • Nope, we don't have to go down these stairs
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  • Don't remember the name, but it is an interesting succulent for sure
  • Down again, we need to cross this wadi to the other side
  • And back up again
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  • Lunch with a view
  • Looking down to Niswa. We will spend the night down there.
  • A long road going down, down, down. Only accessible with 4-wheel drive, even if it's tarmac
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  • After dinner we visit the local hypermarket - open untill 11 pm
  • Our hotel at Niswa - beds and showers!
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  • Next day: the souk of Niswa. Most shops are closed though because of Idd
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  • Loads of Khanjar: the typical omani dagger - although I've only seen one man actually carrying it.
  • The old souk of Niswa. What a shame most of the original house have been neglected.
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  • Purple and gold - one of the most beautiful dragonflies I've ever seen.
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  • Some of the doors of Niswa
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  • Niswa fort and the Friday Mosk
  • Niswa fort. Looks nice, but you have not idea how hot it was.
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  • View over Niswa from the fort
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  • Entrance to the new souk
  • Yup, even here people just have to check their phone about every five minutes.
  • Vegetable souk
  • Dates for sale
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  • The goat market is empty today
  • The meat market is closed as well.
  • Typical Omani luch with nice Indian food
  • Back on the road again. The landscape changes once more.
  • Road into the Wahiba desert
  • Al Mintrib - the last resort before the desert starts
  • Coffee at Mohammed's place
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  • Still in reach of phone connections over here
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  • Letting air out of the tyres is necessary if you going to drive into the desert
  • Off we go!
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  • According to the tracks, this should be the main road!
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  • Don't slow down if you are driving up - you'll get stuck for sure
  • It is getting kind of busy over here
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  • We are not the only once enjoying the sunset
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  • After having campsites with goats and donkeys, it seems tonight there will be some camels around.
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  • Moonrise over the desert
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  • Our camp at sunrise
  • My bed, with a soaked sleepingbag because of the mist at night.
  • Early morning in the desert.
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  • Filling up our water bottles for the next trip
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  • We walk back to the village with the help of Mohammed & his camels
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  • View down from my seat on a camel (it only lasted for about 10 minutes...)
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  • Dung beatle - we did see loads of them
  • Dung beatle digging a hole
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  • Sodom's tree, lovely to see, but very poisonous
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  • Waiting in the shade untill our guides are back from our camp as well
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  • Our roofrack did not survive the trip
  • Fuel prizes are amazing. In euros this is about 25 cents per liter for Super. However, Diesel is quite expensive.
  • A stop at Wadi Bani Khalid. A great place to have a swim after all this sand, even if it is with your clothes on.
  • Omani families enjoying the shade.
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  • Lunch below the date palms
  • Typical Omani buildings
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  • Waiting for the turtles to appear. If you wonder why the light is strange in this pic - this photo was taken at night during full moon.
  • A turtle laying eggs on the beach
  • Back into the sea again
  • A wonderful discovery - hundreds of baby turtles. Just hatched, on their way to the sea
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  • He made it!
  • Sunrise at the beach
  • The beach is full of surprises the next morning: lots of small fish ended up here.
  • Crabs running in and out of the sea
  • Loads of traces of turtle going back into the sea
  • Actually, the whole beach is full of turtle nests
  • Looks like a fox discovered these eggs before they hatched
  • This one did not make it either
  • The road from the beach is pretty though
  • We arrived here at night, quite amazing that we find the place at all
  • Regular Omani road signs
  • We visit Sur, a nice town at the coast
  • The local fish market
  • Fresh tuna
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  • After you've bought some fish, they'll clean them for you at the backside of the market
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  • A beautiful dhow - the typical boat that still is build here in Sur
  • The boatyard
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  • Huge logs of wood for the next boats
  • A huge sawing machine
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  • Old & new tools together
  • Sultan Qabooz on a tapistry in the souvenir store of the shipyard
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  • We get some time to visit Sur, but in fact it is too hot for shopping, so instead we have some fresh fruitjuice in a 'restaurent' on the beach
  • Birdwatching on a terrace
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  • It's a great beach for shell seekers like me
  • Next camp is near the White Beach. The actual beach is very crowded - still because of Idd, but we did find a nice spot for our own camp
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  • The gas is finished, so tonight dinner is cooked on the fire. It is delicious anyway.
  • Another full moon night
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  • Sunrise at sea
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  • A rock lizzard who lost its tail the previous night...
  • This one is still complete
  • A lot of huge birds pass by
  • An Egyptian Vulture
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  • One of the many watch towers we've seen
  • Today we'll visit Wadi Taab, one of the few Wadi's that contains water all year round. We even need a boat to cross it!
  • Still early morning, but it is getting crowded already
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  • From this point you can only go on by swimming.
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  • Not much further is a huge sinkhole, a cave that has collapsed
  • Most people stay on top of it
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  • Sander decides to jump in and have a swim
  • Abdullah seems ready to jump in as well
  • Is he going to do it?
  • He did! 16 meters high!
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  • Of course now Sander has to make the high jump as well.
  • On the highway back to Muscat we see something rare in the distance: It is raining in the mountains
  • When it rains, it poors in Oman.
  • But in Muscat the sun shines as usual
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  • Our Omani drivers, Ahmed and Abdullah
  • Last camp: Instead of sailing on a dhow, we camp on a private beach
  • That's what we wanted to be on...
  • Another sunrise, taken from my tent - closer to the sea side I have never camped
  • Souvenirs to take home
  • The next day we do make a boat trip, although still not on a dhow
  • Ours is a bit faster
  • The palace of Sultan Qabooz seen from the sea
  • One of the forts guarding the palace
  • We go to one of the Omani 'fjords' to snorkel. A pity that I can't show what it was like below the surface. We've seen several sea turtles!
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  • Last night in Oman. A short walk around the neighbourhood before dinner
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  • Dinner at a kebab restaurant
  • Back at Schiphol - finally there is wifi again!