YPT is delighted to announce the Oman & Socotra Arabian Combo Tour for 2018. We will officially be chartering a whole ship to take us to Socotra and back from the Omani port city of Salalah. If you’re travelling to Oman anyway why not take a few days to take in what this inviting sultanate has to offer. We’ve designed the perfect combo tour to make sure you get the best out of Oman and Socotra combined.
Oman’s low-rise towns retain their traditional charms and Bedouin values remain at the heart of an Omani welcome. With an abundance of natural beauty; from spectacular mountains, wind-blown deserts and a pristine coastline, Oman is the obvious choice for those seeking out the modern face of Arabia while wanting still to sense its ancient soul.
Suffering civil war, coups, revolutions, not to mention bombings in recent years, the country of Yemen is generally off the radar for tourists. Unless that is, you know about the island of Socotra.
Located between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula where the Arabian Sea meets the Indian Ocean, Socotra is an ecological wonder of the world. Alien landforms sit above beautiful beaches, and the archipelago is home to a diverse and often unique flora and fauna.
Whether it’s coming to a new and inaccessible country, or exploring an ecological paradise, Socotra is a place for everyone.
Demand is big and spaces are limited on this one so sign up fast!
Arrival in Muscat, Oman. Own transfer to the Riyam hotel.
Meet in the lobby at 1pm for our city tour
We will visit the Bait Al Zubair Museum. The Sultanate of Oman’s preeminent museum!
Next we’ll have a photo stop at the official residence of his Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, The Al Alam Palace, which is flanked by the 16th century Portuguese forts of Mirani and Jalali.
From the Palace, we’ll take a walk through the old town – the real Muscat!
We’ll see the Muttrah Corniche and visit Muttrah Souq which retains the chaotic atmosphere of a traditional Arab market albeit nowadays housed under modern timber roofing. We’ll stroll through the Souq, where you will have the chance to buy Omani specialties like Frankincense and Omani daggers. Bargain hard here – your local guide will be on hand to help you reach the best price!
Next we’ll head for diner and then have tea along the corniche taking in the cruise ships along the water at Mina Al Sultan Qaboos Port.
We will then head back to the hotel and Overnight in Muscat.
Thursday 3rd May – Muscat – Bimmah Sink Hole – Wadi Shab – Sur – Turtle Watching
Breakfast at the hotel and Pick up time 8.30 a.m.
We will travel through the mountainous landscape arriving at the dramatic Bimmah Sinkhole for one epic swimming location!
Once suitably refreshed we’ll depart for the drive south toward the direction of Quriyat which contains some of the most spectacular Wadi (valleys) in Oman.
Upon arrival at Wadi Shab we’ll transfer to a small fishing boat to sail across the wadi. The word breathtaking is an understatement!
We’ll walk through this amazing canyon until we find the famous Keyhole where we can relax and dive in the pools. Through the keyhole you will find a magnificent cave, complete with an incredible waterfall.
After a lunch in Wadi Shab, we’ll drive to Sur to first check into our hotel
Free time and relax at the hotel before dinner at 7:30 p.m.
After dinner it’s off to the Ras Al Hadd beach in search of turtles! There is no guarantee of any sightings as it is a natural phenomenon but sightings are very common.
Overnight in Sur
Friday 4th May Sur – Dhow Building Factory – Wahiba Sands – Desert Camp
Breakfast at the hotel and departure at 8:30 a.m. Our first stop will be at a traditional ‘Dhow’ building (wooden ship building factory), where Arabian dhows have been built by traditional carpenters for hundreds of years.
We leave Sur and travel to Wahiba Sands famous for its multicolored tones.
We arrive and set up for the night at our very own Desert Camp. The camp is a Bedouin style air conditioned accommodation with private bathrooms!
Next we have the opportunity to go dune bashing with our experienced driver. We set out on an adrenaline fueled 4WD safari across 150-metre dunes and finish with a spectacular view of the sunset
After working up an appetite it’s back to camp to experience the local Arabic Cuisine.
Sit back and relax around the camp fire whilst enjoying the live entertainment the camp has to offer.
Rise and shine for an early breakfast at the desert camp.
We depart on a wonderful 4WD journey through the nearby mountains.
Our first stop will be Wadi Bani Khalid. The wadi has clear deep blue water and holds its water supply all year round. We also check out the villages of Wadi Bani Khalid that cling precariously to the rugged mountainside.
After a buffet lunch at Wadi Bani Khalid, we continue our journey and drive up the Mountain to the stunning Grand Canyon of Oman. The panoramic mountain drive brings us to Jebel Shams (Mountain of the Sun), the second highest peak in the Arab Gulf region, rising to over 3000 meters.
We will check in at the resort in Jebal Shams, have dinner and spend the night at a traditional eco chalet.
Sunday 6th May – Jebel Shams – Nizwa – Muscat – Salahah
After breakfast we will check out from the resort and head to the cultural capital of Oman – Nizwa.
Our first stop will be the spectacular Nizwa Fort with its massive Circular Cannon Tower
Visit the Nizwa traditional Souq. The Souq is a lively place and an ideal location to purchase handicrafts and souvenirs. After a little bargaining in the Souq it will be time to begin the journey back to Muscat.
We’ll head to the airport for our evening flight south to Salalah.
Late dinner and overnight.
Monday 7th May
After breakfast we head for the old town and check out the Haffa souq local market and the beach
Lunch at the Ba’albek café for Lebanese food
Free afternoon to explore the Sultanate’s second city and stock up on provisions for the boat ride
We board our very own YPT charter ship at 6pm for the overnight sailing to Socotra.
Dinner on board but pack your own drinks!
Tuesday 8th May
9am arrival at Socotra and transfer to Adeeb’s eco-lodge in Hadibo to check in, relax, recuperate and have lunch.
After lunch we head to Ayhaft Canyon National Park. Hike in the park and swim in the freshwater pools. The park is renowned for it’s vegetation and birdlife
Drive to Delisha beach. Go for another swim in either the sea or the freshwater lagoon
Climb the huge sand dune overlooking the beach and watch the sunset over Delisha
Dinner and overnight at the Adeeb’s Eco-lodge
Wednesday 9th May
After an early breakfast, drive to the northeast of Socotra and explore the Dihammri Marine Protected Area
Dihammri is famous for snorkelling and has the best coral reef in Socotra. We’ll spend the morning diving or for those less keen on the water checking out the beach (diving equipment available to hire)
Lunch on the beach
Drive to Terbak village
Hike up the hillside then explore Hoq Cave (4 hour hike). Hoq is over 3000 metres deep and is the site of many archaeological findings in Socotra that date back nearly 2000 years.
Drive to Ras Erisel, the eastern point of the island where the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean meet. Known as a ship graveyard to the locals many wrecks are sunk in the ocean here.
Climb the Arher sand dune for a panorama of the area and to watch the sunset
Dinner and overnight camp at Arher campsite
Thursday 10th May
Set off after breakfast for a drive through the canyons of Defarhu Valley to the southern coast of Socotra.
Stop off in traditional villages for a look at rural life in Socotra
Drive to Hayf and Zahek villages which stand in the shadow of enormous sand dunes, before heading to Omak beach on the Indian Ocean
Swim, sunbathe or relax on the beach, or hike up to Digub Cave and explore it’s stalactites and stalagmites
Drive up to Dixam plateau (700 metres) to the Shebahon viewpoint for a spectacular view and a look at the Dragon’s Blood Tree – the quintessential example of endemic local fauna on Socotra
Dinner and overnight camping will be at the Wadi Dirhur campsite
Friday 11th May
Up bright and early to explore the western part of the island. Our first stop will be Qalansiya, a small traditional fishing town. From there we will hop on a boat and head to Shuaab
The boat ride is fun in and of itself, but we’ll try and spot spinner dolphins that regularly follow the boats!
Arrive in Shuaab and swim at the beach before we explore the mangrove swamp just behind it
Lunch in Shuaab
Get the boat back to Qalansiya and check out the Detwah lagoon, another place famed for its landscape and wildlife
Dinner and overnight camp at Detwah Lagoon Protected area
Saturday 12th May – Departure
After breakfast we have a free morning to enjoy the beach before we transfer to Socotra seaport and grab lunch.
Check out the visitor centre in Hadibo and grab provisions for the boat
Early evening sailing on our YPT charter boat and overnight on the boat
Sunday 13th May –
Arrival in Salalah and end of tour
For those continuing to Somaliland we spend the night in Salalah before flying to Dubai.
– Flight from Muscat to Salalah
– Boat trip between Salalah and Socotra
– Entry fees in the protected areas
– Accommodation Fees: hotels, tourist resorts, eco-lodges, camping in protected areas
– Camping equipment, cooking equipment and cook.
– Transportation: 4×4 private cars Toyota Land cruiser
– Local tour guide: (English, Arabic and