THE best decision Tahnia Hafeez, a British expatriate, made during her family holiday was deciding to travel to the Sultanate. Impressed during her first visit, this Secondary School Science teacher living in Kuwait plans to visit again during the Khareef season in Salalah. A relaxing holiday was what they experienced.
Oman according to her has a ‘very relaxing and yet invigorating effect’ on any visitor.
“Upon arrival in Muscat, we were welcomed in a friendly manner. The city is a mixture of both modern and the traditional,” she mentions.
How did the Hafeez family come to visit Oman?
“As a family of avid travellers, we often meet up once a year for a holiday. It can be a definite challenge to agree on a destination that is new and of interest to everyone. However, we agreed upon Oman as the destination which caught us by surprise in the end.”
She happened to see beautiful pictures of wadis, sand dunes and deserts posted by Aryaf Jibreen Tourism Tours while browsing the Internet. Mohammed al Hinai, its owner, posted videos of Jebel Shams and the Green Mountain on social media.
Enquiries with Mohammed about their interest and how to go about revealed interesting facts. For the family based in Manchester, Mohammed came up with a special package tour to which they finally agreed. With a helpful and friendly guide in Mohammed, they undertook the tour after it met their specifications and budget.
After deciding to visit, Tahnia and Lamees, her sister and Zahid Hafeez, father, packed their bags and flew down to Muscat from UK for five days.
The entire holiday was relaxing and awesome, she reminisces. “My family had a fabulous time which we thoroughly enjoyed. It was incredibly reassuring to have a guide like Mohammed. “His passion and knowledge about Oman clearly shone through. He was very respectful and made great efforts to look after my father with daily doses of Kahwa (Omani coffee) and dates with tales of Omani history. My father had the time of his life!”
The family appreciated the grateful help from Mohammed for making their holiday to Oman special. His generous attitude and kindness continued even after the tour ended.
Having travelled to over 30 different countries which include Europe and Far East, Oman for Tahnia was very special. “I am passionate about teaching and learning, enthusiastic about education, as well as travelling the world and expanding my horizons.” From their travels in Oman, they enjoyed traditional cuisines which helped infuse the trip and to know Oman’s culture and tradition. “Omani culture is evident everywhere and permeates everything and it is very beautiful to see and interact with,” Tahnia adds.
She praises Mohammed who guided her family around Muscat including the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque where her father attended Friday prayers. During their five-day visit, they zipped across Nizwa, Al Hoota Cave, Jebel Shams, Jebel Akhdar, Wadi Tiwi, Bimmah Sinkhole, turtle watching at Sur, as well as day-and-night at the 1,000 desert night camp.
Oman, according to Tahnia is a very tourist friendly country with many sights accessible to travel for free or for small fees. However, she says it can be very difficult to find some spot due to bad sign posts unless one takes the help of locals. She suggests better signage for tourists who choose to explore alone without a guide. Encouraged and inspired by the visit, they have already charted plans to visit again during the Khareef season.