Looking for a unique holiday, joined by like minded travellers and filled with the right mix of culture, nature and adventure, without not compromising on comfort?
Join us for the first ever "Hud Hud Retreat" in January 2020 starting in Muscat, Oman. This retreat is limited to a maximum of 16 participants for 10 whole days!
There will be active and thrilling experiences such as canyoning and hiking as well as plenty of yoga sessions to stretch the body and replenish the soul. The vast natural and cultural heritage of this beautiful country will of course not be forgotten and there will be plenty of occasions to experience and learn about the wildlife of Oman and to interact with its hospitable people.
Meet and greet at the airport. Private transfer to the Majestic Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Late afternoon private tour of the Royal Opera House and chance to explore the adjacent Opera Galleria before having a sumptuous meal at one of Muscat’s most popular arabic restaurants, Kargeen.
After breakfast, explore Oman’s stunning sea life with a boat trip to nearby Bandar Khiran, a popular place for snorkeling and diving while keeping your eyes out for one of the many species of dolphins and whales that can be found in the Omani waters. Have lunch at a local restaurant before visiting the National Museum of Oman , which holds a wealth of information and displays about Oman’s culture, natural and cultural heritage. Afterwards, transfer to Riyam to do a very pretty walk from there, following an old trail over the hill to Muttrah. By the time you arrive the Muttrah Souk will be coming alive for the evening. Your guide will introduce you to the different Omani items for sale and might even give you a lesson in haggling.
Early monring tour to your next adventure in Wadi Tiwi. Drive to the Village of Mibam, around 2 hours from Muscat and trek a short distance through the gardens and farms down to the water where you will start your abseiling. Descend two short waterfalls of around 15 & 10 metres, protected by the instructors. The option is there to be lowered by rope if you do not want to abseil. Once into the main part of the wadi the trip becomes a lot of fun, swimming and jumping through crystal clear pools. Exit the wadi via a Falaj back to the cars. Once dried off and back in vehicles, head into Tiwi Village for a local restaurant meal. Then you will visit the eastern Hajar Mountains. Following a steep gravel track that, in a short time, takes you to the peak of the impressive Selmah Plateau over 2,000 m above sea level. Views to the north are of the Arabian Sea and, to the south in the hazy distance, the Wahiba Desert. This track passes ancient villages that were, until a couple of years ago, only accessible on foot or by donkey. This long, west facing ridge is spectacularly lined with numerous beehive tombs built by the Umm Naa people around 2500BC. Leave the mountains behind you and head through Ismaiyyah. Passing the 18th Century fort at Mudayrib, leave the tarmac road behind you to enter the desert and drive the final stretch on sandy tracks before reaching the camp, set-up with the russet red dunes. The camp will be nestled deep within the desert, away from other tourists and light pollution from streets and villages at the desert’s edge. The skies are crystal clear and covered with stars. Once settled in youwill enjoy the sunset from one of the nearby dunes before enjoying a delicious 3 course dinner under the stars.
Watch the sunrise over the imposing Sharqiya Sand dunes from camp, or for the more energetic, join your guide on his sunrise walk. After breakfast, drive out of the desert to Wadi Bani Khalid, one of the greatest, most dramatic wadis in Oman, a green oasis spectacularly set against a mountain backdrop. The village still farms in a traditional manner growing dates, bananas, mangoes and papaya. The wadi flows out of the village and into a dramatic and steep sided canyon, which winds up from its entrance. This is a great adventure for the novice and less experienced canyoneers out there. With multiple long swims, impressive jumps and plenty of good route finding, this is a fun and less travelled route in Oman. The canyon boasts an impressive waterfall with great jumping points from the timid meter high to the really big stuff. Back at camp you can try your hand at sand boarding or join the yoga instructor for a Sunset Yoga , the ideal way to stretch the body after the adventure of today. Alternatively you can just relax and soak up the views before enjoying another fantastic 3-course dinner served beside a crackling log fire.
After breakfast you will try out one of the oldest modes of transportation and set off into the desert on camel back . After about an hour leave your camels behind and join the guides and 4WD’s to continue your 100 KM crossing of the wahiba sands. On the way you could try your hand at a little off road driving in the sands when they put you behind the wheel of a 4x4. Under the expert tutelage of our seasoned Omani drivers, you will be given little tips and tricks about how to rescue even the most deeply embedded vehicle. Stop for a delicious picnic lunch under the shade of a tree before we make the final stretch to the fishing village of Qihayd. From there you will continue south along the coastal road towards Bar Al Hickman, crossing a 40km salt flats before reaching the next camp, set on a white sand beach near a lagoon, where you can often see flamingos, and the Indian Ocean. It is a large salt pan that is home to a vast community of sea birds as well as a host of migratory birds. After a delicious 3 course BBQ dinner, you will explore the night skies with an astronomer.
After breakfast we take our Stand Up Paddle Boards to the Lagoon and depending on the level of the group we might combine this with some SUP yoga . A light lunch will be served at camp, after which we will enjoy a chat with a wildlife enthusiast who will explain about the different species that call Bar Al Hickman their home and hopefully we will get the chance to get close to some of them. We enjoy the fresh sea air while having another freshly prepared 3-course dinner.
After a relaxed breakfast on the beach we wind our way north and our route takes us through the small market town of Sinaw. This is where the Bedouins come to do business and the souq, particularly on a Thursday, can be a thriving and fascinating affair with all the hustle and bustle of a Middle Eastern market at its finest. Sinaw souq is amongst one of the oldest preserved souqs in Oman and one of the few places you can find traditional silver Bedouin jewellery. After a light lunch drive to the date plantations of Birkat al Mauz, at the foothills of Jebel Akhdar. Shaded date plantations are overlooked by the ruins of the original village of Birkat, which was evacuated during the Jebel wars. This is the ideal spot for another Yoga session, which will help you stretch after the drive of the morning. You can take a short walk along the afalaj, which is incorporated into the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Afalaj Irrigation Systems of Oman, which consists of five afalaj systems representatives of some 3000 systems still in use in Oman and which are believed to have been used in agriculture and farming for many centuries. Then start your ascent of Jebel Akhdar and wind up 2,000m to the Saiq Plateau, reaching the Alila Hotel in time to view the sunset over the magnificent Hajar mountain range. Dinner included at the Alila Jabal Akhdar.
After breakfast, dive into you next adventure, the Cave Adventure with Via Ferrata. Not for the fainthearted, this adventure dares you to step out onto 20-metre-high ropes and traverse a cave mouth – a thrilling experience you will never forget! The whole adventure happens right under the noses of resort guests where, just a few meters below the ridge, a natural cave stretches into the mountainside. Stop for a peek inside as you make your way across. After a delicious lunch at the hotel, you will explore some of the villages in Jebel Akhdar, on what is often referred to as the “3 village walk”. This interesting and easy walk will give us insight into how the diverse roses, fruits and vegetables are farmed on Al Jebel Akhdar, which translates to The Green Mountain. Return to the hotel for a refreshing Sunset Yoga session on the hotel’s yoga deck before enjoying another tasty dinner by the hotel’s culinary team.
Today, make an early start to join one of the most unique and culturally interesting markets in Oman, the Nizwa Friday Cattle Market. After a locally sourced breakfast join the local crowd to see the goats, sheep and cows being paraded in a circle for those that came to buy cattle. As many of the sellers and buyers are still of the older generation, this is a great place to observe the Omani men and women in their traditional clothes. Explore the Nizwa Souk, with its different areas for selling fruits & vegetables, meat, fish, dates and of course traditional handicrafts and souvenir items. Then you will visit the Nizwa Fort, which not only provides a great location to view the surrounding date plantations but also houses a museum displaying the different functions of the rooms and other areas within the fort. Make your way towards Al Hamra, a 400-year old town, which is home to some of the oldest preserved houses that can be found in Oman and after lunch at a local restaurant make your way towards Balad Sayt, a beautiful mountain village, from where you will continue your descend through the impressive Wadi Bani Auf. This route takes you through the Hajar Mountains, with a steep descent and is considered by many to be one of the greatest and most memorable off-road drives of Oman. Pass through some very rugged and extraordinary mountain scenery, through small jebel villages and often through plenty of water on the track. Exit near Rustaq and take the tarmac road to Al Mouj Muscat, where your final hotel is located. After some time to refresh, enjoy a farewell dinner at the Kempinski.
Departure from your hotel to the airport.