The best way to experience the Sultanate of Oman is through a road trip. Starting along the coast and moving inland Emma and Ed Pascoe travelled in their JeepGrand Cherokee covering over 970 km. The teacher couple say road tripping through the country is a bucket list item that all adventure lovers need to add.
Blown away by the warmth and friendliness of the Omanis, the couple enjoyed ‘slow travel’, which emphasises connection to local people, cultures, food and music. Originally from South Africa, they work for an American international school in Sharjah and moved to the Middle East three years ago when they started their international teaching adventure.
Emma teaches kindergarten while Ed is a primary school homeroom teacher. Their students are a mix of international and Emirati children.
Emma says that slow travel relies on the idea “that a trip is meant to educate and have an emotional impact, in the present moment and for the future, while remaining sustainable for local communities and the environment.”
Ed says travelling by road allows them to be fully immersed. He further adds that “planning a road trip through a country you have never been to can be quite nerve-wracking and we mapped out all key areas we wanted to explore based on research. “We would not say that there was anyone in particular who inspired us to do it but it is the type of travel we have always been used to since we were kids. We always used to go on long road trips to explore our own country. Travelling by road is how we explore the UAE and when we realised it was an option to drive into the Sultanate of Oman, we thought, why not?”
Their seven-day trip began after they crossed the Khatm Al Shiklah border to enter Muscat covering 318km. From the capital they travelled to Ras Al Hadd about 244km where the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve was one of their favourite sites.
Freezing cold weather in Jabel Shams was a surprise for them.However, besides Jabal Shams their favourite spots were Wadi Shab and Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. “Driving through the country gives you the freedom to stop at multiple places along your route,” they say.
Due to the pandemic, and their teaching jobs, the couple were unable to travel abroad for most of their time. However, when they heard that the land borders between the UAE and Sultanate of Oman opened on September 1, 2021, they began to plan an exciting road trip as they had been longing to explore since they had arrived in the Middle East.“The country is full of untouched beauty and is raw and natural. This can definitely be a focus area for the future of tourism. Preserving and protecting these natural areas is of utmost importance to ensure that travellers are able to enjoy these beautiful destinations for many years to come,” they say.
They were impressed by local tour guide Khair Eddin Mahmud Omar (@khairoo) who helped them while at Jabal Shams.
They have started making plans for their next road trip back and plan to visit more wadis, beaches and Salalah next time. Their travel adventures are on Instagram@teachers.who.travel
TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS
Download the offline Google Maps for the place you plan to visit
Carry cash. Some shops, roadside stalls that don’t have card machines
When you see a fuel station fill up. Else, will have to drive for very long stretches in the more remote areas
SaveOman emergency numbers in your phone — especially if you are doing off-roading.
Women should wear appropriate clothes while visiting mosques and interior areas