Child-friendly hotels, fascinating cultural sites and an array of activities for all ages make Oman a favourite for family travel.
Turtle-watching and hiking
Southeast of Muscat, the Sharqiyah region stretches far inland from the shore of the sea of Oman. Under two hours’ drive from Muscat, the dramatic canyons of Wadi Tiwi and the boulder-strewn Wadi Shab feature caves, gushing waterfalls, palm trees and jade-coloured pools in which youngsters can splash around under parental supervision.
For families who appreciate hiking together, the wadis’ trails present options with varying levels of difficulty. Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve, a responsible tourism destination near the fishing village of Ras Al Hadd, is an ideal base for families looking to explore the coastline as well as the rugged inland geology. Located within a national nature reserve, accommodation is available in luxury eco-tents providing easy access to the Turtle Reserve Visitor Centre and the stretches of golden sand from which turtles hatch between May and September. Alternatively, Turtle Beach Resort features a children’s playground, an infinity pool, plus access to a private beach a short distance from the hatching grounds.
The region’s climatic conditions result in clear night skies, and with low light pollution in many locations, Oman is a rewarding destination for stargazing. It’s enchanting to do so in the desert while overnighting in Bedouin-style tents at Desert Nights Camp. Camel rides and dune bashing in four-wheel drive vehicles are exhilarating ways of moving through the wind-rippled sand. Youngsters aged 14 and older can steer quad bikes through the desert. Skimming down the dunes on sandboards is another thrilling and memorable activity that families can undertake together in Oman.
Muscat has easily-accessible beaches that are ideal for play and relaxation and also boasts plenty of sites of interest. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Mutrah Souq and Qurum Natural Park are just some of the landmarks that promise insightful and fun excursions.
The Crowne Plaza Hotel is a property with a private beach while the Kempinski Hotel Muscat is one of many hotels in Oman with a kids’ club offering supervised activities to youngsters and enabling adults to spend time together.
The Shangri-La Al Waha hotel at the Barr Al Jissah Resort is Oman’s first hotel dedicated for families, with a children’s pool, splash pad and activity club, plus interconnecting rooms complete with a PlayStation or DVD player.
With an impressive fort and traditional souks, Nizwa, in the Al Dahkiliyah Governate southwest of Muscat, presents an inspirational destination for multigenerational travel. After scampering around the city, the Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel and InterCity Hotel Nizwa both have swimming pools where youngsters can play.
Snorkelling and pool exploration are reasons to spend time at Al Fizayah Beach, while picnicking and observing water spurting at the blow hole draw people of all ages to Al Mughsail Beach. Both stretches of sand are easily accessible from Salalah, where the Al Beleed Resort by Antara offers supervised sporting activities, karaoke sessions and an infinity pool. Salalah Rotana Resort’s pools, Flipper’s Kids Club and a beautiful spa ensure it is one of several properties with multigenerational appeal.
Overground and underground
At an altitude of 2,100 metres, Sama Heights Resort in Jabal Shams offers eco-friendly accommodation. It is ideally situated for climbing on the Hajar Mountain Range’s jutting Jebel Misht and in Wadi Nakhr – nicknamed ‘the Grand Canyon of the Middle East’ – which is a great place for hiking and gazing out at the rocky landscape.
Caving may also appeal with the Al Hoota caves among the most celebrated, with vast stalactites, petroglyphs and fossils.
Meaningful moments in Musandam
Dhow cruises are a relaxing way to view fishing communities and the Musandam Fjords in the peninsula that pokes into the Strait of Hormuz. The balconies of the Atana Masandam offer sea-facing views at a resort with a dedicated children’s pool, plus a dive centre where older children can enjoy a scuba diving experience. At the Teen Club at the Six Senses Zighy Bay resort, youngsters can try their hand at archery, raft-building and other adventure activities, such as canyoning, while Chaica’s Club entertains four to 10 year olds.
Wherever families travel in Oman, they can expect a warm welcome, a wide choice of accommodation and activities suitable for all ages.
Become an Oman Ambassador
To learn more about Oman, take the online training course Oman Ambassadors at omanambassadors.com