On my first trip to Oman I was captivated by its majestic mountains, pristine waters, rich cultural heritage and warm, welcoming people. I also discovered what I now regard as ‘my scent’, Jubilation 25. Finely crafted by Oman’s niche fragrance house, Amouage, with distinguishable heart notes of rose and frankincense, I’ve worn no other perfume since. I was compelled to return to Oman, not only to purchase more of this divine elixir, but also to see what other treasure trove of wonders was waiting for me to discover.
Friends and family had become familiar with my endless tales of this beautiful country, yet their first responses had been almost always the same; “Oman … where is that?” My geography lesson had become practised in response. “In the Middle East” I’d say. “The Arabian Peninsula, with the Arabian Sea on the east, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia on the west and Yemen at the south.” Often the next question was, “Is it safe?” to which I’d recount the fact that Oman is a liberal, safe and stable destination rated by the Global Peace Index as the most peaceful country in the Arabian Gulf and 22nd in the world. This was enough to seriously pique their interest, so it was no surprise when a small group of my friends decided to visit Oman. Of course, they were not going without me.
Oman is a vast country covering a total land area of 309,500 square kilometres with a population of just over three million people. The terrain varies greatly and provides some exhilarating scenery, with its magnificent coastline fringed with stunning beaches, endless desert sands, rugged mountains, wadis (dry riverbeds), hot springs and green oases – and we wanted to see it all in two weeks! The sheer variety of things to see and do made it hard to know where to begin. So I made a list for the girls to choose from, comprising information gathered from my previous trip and the Sultanate of Oman tourism’s website (tourismoman.com.au), and together with adventure travel specialists Peregrine (peregrineadventure.com) we put together an itinerary which covered our wish list of sightseeing and adventures. Flying Etihad (departing from all major Australian capital cities) to Abu Dhabi for a plane change and a quick one-hour flight to Oman’s capital, Muscat, was a great way to start our trip.