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This ride is for those who like adventure, riding sensitive and forward going Arab horses and are curious to explore this new and exciting country in our selection. Enjoy faster riding along the beach at Barka and through the desert dunes. The riding is a mixture of half and full days in the saddle, covering up to 30 km in a single day on a mix of horses, mostly Arabian thoroughbreds. The tour also explores some of the best cultural and historical sites of Oman as well such as the Grand mosque, Nizwa Souqe (market), Misfat al a breem, and Jabrin Castle. This is a great compilation of adventurous riding on forward-going horses for competent riders and cultural exploration of this Arabian jewel.

The first night and the last 2 nights are spent in a charming equestrian centre about 1km from the beach with comfortable accommodation and a nice pool outside for cooling dips after riding. One night is spent in the beautiful Jebel Shams Resort, and the rest of the trail is spent in camps with camp beds and mattresses, toilet tents and solar shower.  

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from PC of Broughton-in-Furness on 02/02/2018

Ride Summary
We were told it was still in the exploratory stage which did turn out to be correct however the hosts did their very best to make it a good holiday for the group although the riding opportunities were limited both in terms of time in the saddle and challenging riding.
What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify) Was pleased to have been informed it was an exploratory ride and so. Oils change when in the country     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
We experienced four different guides for the rides, all of which were perceptive and efficient and prepared to admit they did not know the horses! However they dealt with th situation well, assessed risks and in view of the fact some riders were not up to standard, adjusted riding accordingly. Also they assessed language difficulty(we had 6 French riders) and sourced. French speaker.
Meals
Meal Quantity     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Unicorn had fully informed the two clients travelling but Chevalier d'Adventure, the company through which th French group came, did not inform their clients of possible changes and issues so they were very dischuffed with the limited hours of riding and tame rides
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
I am putting this here, I would like to say the hosts, David Maclain and Lynn Greenwood did their very best to ensure we had a good holiday and made adjustments whenever they were aware of the need to do so. They have worked very hard to ensure this holiday delivered what it said it would and overcame huge difficulties to do so. Their Creo Eq. Centre is a really good base with lovely staff, pool, etc.
What could we do to improve this ride?
Market it as a holiday in Oman with the option of some riding !!
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
0
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
do not know what you mean by difficulty
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
I felt I was kept fully informed by a personal email of the likely concerns with the holiday
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments:
I appreciated being kept informed all through the booking and confirmation process, and so felt prepare for changes to the advance programme, thank you. The French group did not receive that benefit so it made them disenchanted. Also, if there are to be so many French clients, they need to source some more French speakers because I had to help out with translating!
Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback! :)

Day 1
You will be met at Muscat airport in the morning and transferred to Barka. There will be a chance to freshen up and change at the equestrian centre before heading out for a few hours sightseeing and a lovely lunch in a Turkish restaurant (or similar). The rest of the afternoon you can spend relaxing by the pool or explore your surroundings before dinner. Overnight at the riding centre.

Day 2
After breakfast you drive to Al Wasil. There will be time for lunch before setting out on your first ride into the desert. Riding in the dunes is a unique experience and provides some great photo opportunities! Your horses are fresh and raring to go so expect some faster riding right from the start. Dinner will be traditional Omani fare cooked by your hosts. Overnight in canvas tents.

Day 3
Experience a camp breakfast this morning before driving out to visit Wadi Bani Khalid. Climbing high into the Eastern Hajar Mountains full of colour and interesting rock formations, the road brings you to this incredible spot of natural beauty in the middle of the desert. A natural spring on the upper limits of the wadi provides a year-round water supply to the plantations and villages which fill the wadi base. You would not think there could be so much vegetation out here, it really is an impressive sight! You return to the horses for another afternoon riding in the desert. Overnight in camp.

Day 4
Today you experience a camp breakfast before setting out for a day of desert riding in the dunes. Lunch is picnic style in the sand dunes, followed by another 3 hours ride to camp. Overnight in camp. Dinner is Omani style in camp and the evening is spent relaxing by the fire.

Day 5
After breakfast the horses will return home while you embark on a day of sight-seeing, starting with a drive to Nizwa, a historical town full of character. Sometimes referred to as the ‘Pearl of Islam’, this is still a largely conservative town so please ensure you have some modest clothes to wear when you visit. There are several forts and ruins of note in the town as well as an interesting traditional market. You move on to Jabrin Castle, an impressive structure rising out from the desert with elaborately painted ceilings, carved vaults and a great bird’s-eye view from the flagpole. After a picnic lunch your next stop will be Bait al Safa, a living museum that guides you through the culture of Oman through the ages, arousing all your senses. The final destination for today is Misfat al a breem, a very scenic old village nestled on the mountainside near Al Hamra. Your journey ends at Jebel Shams Resort where you will spend the night. Dinner will be a private shuwa, a delicious Omani dish of lamb cooked underground for 24 hours served with salad, away from the other guests at the resort. It can get very cold up in the mountains in winter time, so large fires are lit around the resort and each room has its own fire pit outside.

Day 6
After breakfast you will drive back to the riding centre via the stunning Wadi Bani Auf road, a steep graded road which is only accessible by expertly driven 4x4s. There are incredible views over the mountain ranges from here. Lunch will be at a traditional Omani walled homestead called Bait Bimah, nestled in the gorge close to the entrance of Snake Canyon. You will have a few hours to relax at the riding centre before a 2 hour sunset beach ride. Overnight at the riding centre

Day 7
After breakfast you will go for another beach riding, taking your last chance to have some good gallops along the sand and get some amazing action photos with the backdrop of the Arabian sea glittering in the sunlight. The afternoon is free for relaxing by the pool or perhaps taking a gentle walk before a farewell dinner with your new friends. Overnight at the riding centre.

Day 8
Depart for airport after breakfast.

Subject to availability, a visit to the Royal Stables or the Sultan Touqi stables will be included during the trip. On occasion there may be local show jumping competitions showing off the talents of the Arab horses during the tour which you will be able to visit.

Tented camps are vehicle supported and set up in advance. Camel rides may be available some days for an extra charge (approx. £30).

Extensions:
If you wish to stay longer in Oman and explore further afield there are many wonderful places to go and things to do to suit any interest. We are happy to organise a personalised itinerary to meet your criteria.

For those with an adventurous nature there is scuba diving, abseiling, cliff jumping and trekking available.

The Daymaniyat Islands are located 17km off the coast of Mussanah. These nine, tiny, uninhabited islands are the jewel in the crown for diving in the Gulf of Oman. The diving around the Damaniyat Islands is spectacular with walls, drop-offs, submerged reefs, swim-through tunnels and caves (remember to allow 24hours after any dive before flying).

A trip to Whadi Shab is always recommended. Nature enthusiasts can take boat trips out to see the abundant sea life including dolphins, turtles, leopard sharks and whale sharks or take guided walks to find indigenous plant and wildlife. There are many interesting geological features to visit and explore, and for those wishing to expand their cultural experience can visit the living museum at Bait Al Safah.

And of course if you wish to do more riding then this can also be arranged. Almost any combination of activities, sites and locations can be made into your own bespoke itinerary. Please contact us discuss your criteria and receive a personalised programme and quote.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

The horses are mostly forward-going Arabian thoroughbreds with some crosses. All the horses are in good condition, fit, reliable and well prepared for desert riding. There are a range of temperaments available although most Arab horses tend to be a bit more sensitive and excitable so riders must be confident, calm riders, able to relax at higher speeds. The horses are used to being ridden with a loose rein. Please check with your travel consultant before booking if you have any queries about the riding on this trip.


Tack is English with some endurance saddles. The terrain on this ride encompasses desert, mountain and beach. Rides can cover up to 30km in a day. On half days rides will be 2-3 hours, full days will involve approximately 4-6 hours in the saddle.


All food and drink will be carried in the support vehicles, guests are welcome to bring their own saddlebags if they wish to carry anything with them during the rides.

Rider requirements

Riders must be a confident intermediate level or above for this ride, able to control a horse at all paces including gallop. Good riding fitness is required as there will be up to 6 hours in the saddle on some days and there may be extended periods of canter. Riders may be asked to help brush and prepare horses for riding at times. The minimum age for this ride is 14, younger riders may be accepted depending on experience.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 14 st/198 lb/90 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

The accommodation on this ride is split between camping, Jebel Shams Resort and the equestrian centre.


Camping: The camps will be set up by the support team while you are riding so that they will be ready when you arrive. The tents are good-quality 4 man tents shared between two people. Each person has a mattress with sheet, pillows and blankets, although guests are welcome to bring sleeping bags if they prefer. Toilet tents will be set up as well as solar showers. Tables and strong camping seats will be arranged for dinner. A large fire will be built each night for heat and light - torches are available but it is advised to limit the use of electric light as it attracts the scorpions! Electronic devices can be charged for short periods at night using the support vehicles.


Jebel Shams Resort: This resort is at the top of the highest mountain in Oman and close to the edge of the Grand Canyon. There are 20 chalets and 15 Arabic tents which will be allocated according to availability. If you wish to have a chalet or tent to yourself there is a supplement. All the rooms are air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter as well as satellite TV – a roaring campfire and a stunning view of the night sky are a much better option though. The resort has an on-site restaurant and coffee shop, and has a swimming pool for when the weather is warm enough. Free Wi-Fi is available across much of the resort.



Equestrian Centre: The charming equestrian centre has a range of guesthouses available, most being 1 bedroom chalets with a private bathroom and dressing room. There is also 1 medium sized chalet with 2 double bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room and kitchen, and 1 large guesthouse with 2 double bedrooms, 1 single bedroom, 2 bathrooms, living room and kitchen. Double rooms for individual use are subject to availability and include a single supplement. All the guesthouses rooms have air conditioning. There is a swimming pool on-site for use all year round, as well as a terrace and grounds to enjoy. The stables and beach are very close by.


All meals are included during the tour. If you are staying for an extension meals will be charged accordingly. Breakfasts will include cereal, toast, coffee, fresh juice, omelette, cheese, marmalade or similar. Lunch will usually be a picnic and may include any of the following: Fish with bread, rice, salad, meat, chicken cooked in the traditional local way. Dinners will usually include Omani meat and fish dishes served with traditional sides. Dinners at the equestrian centre will be 3 courses and include coffee & a cheese board. Dinners during the camping phase will usually be BBQ on the fire. Vegetarians can catered for with advanced notice. If you don’t eat fish please highlight this when making your booking to ensure you are served the correct foods.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Documents – visa and consulate information

The following information is provided as a guide and updated regularly however visa requirements can change quickly and depend on diplomatic relations. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

Visas:

British nationals need a visa to enter Oman. You should apply for an e-visa before you travel. Applications can be made through the Royal Oman Police portal at https://evisa.rop.gov.om/. If you’re travelling as a tourist, you can apply for an unsponsored visa.
U.S. citizens are encouraged to apply for tourist visas in advance via the Royal Oman Police E-Visa website. Tourist visas are also available upon arrival at airports and land crossings. Tourist visas are not issued at Mazoonah and Sarfait (Oman-Yemen land borders). Should this happen, contact the U.S. Embassy. This does not constitute loss of U.S. citizenship.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Oman. You can obtain and pay for a visa upon arrival at Muscat International Airport. Seek advice from Omani authorities for detailed information on requirements related to each type of visa.
Swedish citizens need a visa to enter Oman. You should apply for an e-visa before you travel. Applications can be made through the Royal Oman Police portal at https://evisa.rop.gov.om/
You should take a hard copy of the receipt from your e-visa with you in case of problems in collecting this at the airport. Your passport must be valid for more than six months after the date you intend to enter Oman. Oman does not recognize dual nationality. Children of an Omani father automatically acquire Omani citizenship at birth and must enter and leave the country on an Omani passport. Other passports may be confiscated from those with dual nationality including Omani.
Please be aware that entry via Yemen may have additional requirements and take up to a week for approval to enter Oman. You are advised to avoid entering Oman from Yemen.

Omani embassy in the UK can be contacted at:
Address: 167 Queen's Gate, London SW7 5HE. Telephone: 020 7225 0001. Email: There is an online contact form on the website. Website: http://oman.embassyhomepage.com/

The websites below give up to date travel advice tailored to their citizens on: Entry requirements; Health; Safety and Security including terrorism; Money and Local Customs. Please ensure you have checked the country you are travelling to is a suitable destination for your personal circumstances before booking your holiday.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/oman

In the USA the Department of State gives travel advice at
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/oman.html

In Canada the Government of Canada gives travel advice at
https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/oman

In Sweden the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gives travel advice at
http://www.swedenabroad.com/

The British Embassy in Oman can be found at: Mina Al Fahal 116، Muscat, Oman
Telephone: (968) (24) 609000
Email: muscat.enquiries@fco.gov.uk
Office Hours Local Time:
Sun-Thurs: 0730-1430
Website: https://www.gov.uk/world/oman

The US Embassy in Oman can be found at: Jamiat Al Dowal Al Arabiya, Bldg. 32, Shatti Al Qurum, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Telephone: (968) (24) 643400
Email: ConsularMuscat@state.gov
Office Hours Local Time:
Mon-Fri: 0830-1630
Website: https://om.usembassy.gov/

The Canadian Embassy in Oman can be found at: 7th Floor, Getco Tower, Muscat, Oman
Telephone: (968) (24) 794928
E-Mail: CanadianConsulate@daud.om
Office Hours Local Time:
Mon-Thurs: 0830-1230 & 1315-1730, Fri: 0830-1300
Website: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/oman

The Swedish Honorary Consulate in Oman can be found at Infinity Showroom - 3rd floor
Suhail Bahwan Automobiles, Qurum, Sultanate of Oman
Telephone: (968) (24) 560971
Email: alexborges@suhailbahwanautogroup.com
Office Hours Local Time:
Sun-Thurs: 0900-1200


Last update: 20/3/2018

Climate Summary

The climate here is "desert." During the year, there is virtually no rainfall in Barka. The average annual temperature is 28.1 °C in Barka. In a year, the average rainfall is 75 mm.

Climate Chart
Barka climate chart
Health

No special health precautions are required for visits to Oman, for further details please see your local doctor. We do advise taking plenty of sunscreen!

For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org.

We strongly advise you to consult with your General Practitioner before travelling. The best medical advice regarding suitable immunisations and prophylaxis to enable you to travel safely requires knowledge of your medical history and therefore cannot be covered in this advice sheet. Recommendations are also subject to change and it is important to obtain the most up to date information available.

Health (ride specific)

No specific health recommendations.

Electricity

Voltage is 240 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. The sockets are the same as in the UK (Type G) and can be accessed using adapters for other appliances.

Film and Camera Equipment

There will be opportunities to charge phones and cameras while staying at the resort and equestrian centre, and limited charging during the camping phase via the support vehicles. The resort and equestrian centre both have Wi-Fi.

Packing List

Please bring loose-fitting light-coloured clothing for riding and warm clothing for the evenings. Temperatures can drop to below freezing in the winter, especially in the desert and at Jebel Shams. There are a few riding helmets available at the riding centre but you are advised to bring your own. Please also ensure you have modest clothing for visiting mosques and conservative areas.

Riding helmet or a broad rimmed hat which must stay on firmly
Sunglasses with string are essential
2 pairs of riding trousers at least
Half chaps
Riding gloves
Lightweight riding boots or trainers with heel
Warm jumper/jacket for the evenings
Shorts
Long sleeves shirts
T-shirts
Sarong
Swimsuit
Sunblock
Torch (optional)
Saddlebag
Camera on a shoulder strap with a pouch which can be secured to your belt
Spare batteries
Shoes for the evenings.

Blankets and bed sheets are provided, however it is advised that you bring your own sleeping bag.

Programmes

This is an 8 day/7 night programme with 5 days riding available on set dates between October and March. Private groups can be accommodated on request.

Departure Dates

2018: 9; 23 Oct; 6, 23 Nov; 4 Dec.
2019: 1, 15, 29 Jan; 12, 26 Feb; 12, 26 Mar.

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2018/198d/7n5double pp2,115
2018/198d/7n5single supplement195
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2018/198d/7n5double pp2,425
2018/198d/7n5single supplement219
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2018/198d/7n5double pp2,735
2018/198d/7n5single supplement249
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2018/198d/7n5double pp24,889
2018/198d/7n5single supplement2,265
Wildlife

Camels, goats, Oryx, scorpions and various birdlife.

Other Activities

Scuba Diving, Dolphin watching, Golf, Go Karting, Opera show (Muscat Royal Opera house, has an itinerary of shows on their
website), day trip Whadi shab.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Muscat Airport
Transfer:
2018/9: Approx. £33 return from Muscat Airport at 9am. Return transfer for flights no earlier than 10am, approx. 30 mins.
Flight Guide:
London - Muscat return from £320
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