Driving Off-Road Oman

Renting a Car in Oman

April 25, 2016

Renting a Car in OmanWith very few options for public transport outside of Muscat, renting a car in Oman should be high up on your budget list. While you can get by with renting a sedan in Oman, hiring a 4×4 could end up saving you some money if you make plans to camp a few nights. In this post I help you weigh your options for renting a car in Oman.

Independence

Firstly, we need to talk about what you will gain from renting a car in Oman, in case you are on the fence: Independence. Yes, it is great to hire a guide to handle all the driving as well as answering all the questions you have about the local culture and sights. But the down side is being locked into a set timetable that most likely is too packed to actually enjoy Oman.

Oman is a big country and large amounts of time will be spent transiting from sight to sight.  Having the freedom to pop over to a random village, stop to photograph a roadside mosque, or veer off-road to a spied beach for a swim is quite nice; and part of why Oman is so attractive.

Opening Doors

How to Park Like an Omani Local: A Visual Guide
One great thing about Oman is the tolerance to park your vehicle however or wherever you would like. Click here for my Oman Parking Guide.

While sedans are available for rent, and could take you to many of the sights you want to see; choosing a 4×4, or even better the venerable Toyota Land Cruiser, opens the door wide open to any place in Oman. Places hike the Hajar Mountians require a 4×4 for safe travel, but it doesn’t have to be a gigantic Land Cruiser.

Available in the rental market are small SUVs like the Nissan Xterra and Toyota Fortuner, alongside the workhorse big brothers, Toyota Land Cruiser and Nissan Patrol. Notice anything about the list? It’s Japanese all the way, and for good reason. The land of the rising sun makes solid 4x4s with proper 4WD systems that work well on the graded tracks and beyond.

It is important to rent a proper 4×4 because Oman is still a developing nation of four million people, and still developing its road network.  It’s difficult to understand that 45 years ago there wasn’t more than a few kilometers of paved road. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that many places are still only accessible by proper four wheel drive vehicles, albeit via a graded track. This just adds to the rustic charm that is Oman.

If you are interested in visiting Jebal Shams, Jebal Akhdar, Wahiba, Empty Quarter, Al Hajar Mountains crossings, and any of the desert camps; you are going to need a proper  four wheel drive vehicle.

Camping

The best thing about Oman is you can literally camp almost anywhere, and I have. But I never thought about how possible it would be for a tourist to camp in Oman with a rented 4×4 until I met a French couple one day at the beehive tombs near Bat.

I was really happy to see the independent tourists and we got to chatting a bit.  Since it was near sunset I was surprised to actually see the couple because there are no accommodations for about 100km, meaning they would have had to be doing some night driving.  So I asked them, “where are you staying?” They replied, “in the car.”

These guys had a rented Nissan Pathfinder, so they picked up some cheap foam mattresses and blankets from the Carrefour to lay down in the back compartment with the rear seat folded down. Voilà! Instant camper for two!

So, now this couple was able to see the magical sunset at the Bat tombs with the golden light hitting Jebal Mistal.  Something not many tourist get see because usually they have already been shuttled back at their hotels to get ready for dinner. Independent travel is truly the only way to do it.

Options

Renting a 4x4 in OmanThere are a number of different options for you to choose from based on your budget and needs. All the major rental companies are represented by local franchisees, and offer many options.

In the table below you can see the different advertised prices according to category: Compact Car (ex. Toyota Yaris), Midsize 4×4 (ex. Toyota Prado, Nissan Xterra), Large 4×4 (ex. Toyora Land Cruiser, Nissan Patrol).

Compact Car

While I do not recommend hiring a compact car, I do include it in the table for comparison purposes.  And I suppose one of you might decide off-road adventure isn’t your cup of tea.

Midsize 4×4

The midsize 4x4s have a wide range in price which I find strange for some reason. The range in prices is probably due to the range in engine sizes, as there are four and six cylinder options with some companies and not others. Mostly you will be finding a Nissan Xterra the best value, but the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (a smaller Land Cruiser) will have a better ride on the rough stuff, larger fuel tank, and a bit more luggage space. Manual transmissions are hard to find or not available at all.

Large 4×4

Large 4x4s demand a large price, but definitely well worth it, especially if you are traveling with a group of four off-road.  The Toyota Land Cruiser is the dominate vehicle, but some companies offer Nissan Patrols or Mitsubishi Pajeros. Large 4x4s can be in huge demand between October and March, so “be sure to book a few weeks in advance,” says my mate at the Budget counter.

Some of the tour companies will hire Land Cruisers from the rental companies (or are affiliate companies already) and have the need for special features like a roof rack. Also, the oil industry has a need to hire Land Cruisers with special safety modifications like a rollover bar (PDO Spec). What this means for you is, it’s possible to hire a vehicle with unique features that meet your special needs or driving habits. You just have to ask the desk, or call ahead.

Do you prefer to drive a manual transmission? Do you like a diesel engine? Want to try and get a roof rack? The Large 4×4 category can have you covered with a little luck and a small amount of leg-work.

Finally, there are some great deals available like Europe Car’s unlimited mileage along with an available manual transmission Toyota Land Cruiser for 36 OMR/Day.  Sign up for that one!

Tips for Renting a Car in Oman

  1. Book in advance during the high season.
  2. Book directly with the company via phone.
  3. Negotiate! (while researching every agent offered something lower than what is listed)

What do you prefer, a manual transmission or automatic? Leave me a comment below:


Options For Renting a Car in Oman

CompanyLocal #Compact Car
(Day / Week)
Midsize 4x4
(Day / Week)
Large 4x4
(Day / Week)
KM Included
(km/day)
Al Maha+968 24603359contactcontactcontactcontact
Arabia Cars+968 9808278715 / 8440 / 25055 / 355200
Avis+968 2451034221 / 13754 / 35065 / 423200
Budget+968 2451081515 / 9145 / 30155 / 350200
Europe Car+968 2412116518 / 9343 / 22961 / 322unlimited*
Hertz+968 2462520015 / 9036 / 21648 / 280200
Nomadic+968 9933627315 / 9140 / 25946 / 308200
Sixt+968 2451022411 / 7533 / 21060 / 325200
Thrifty+968 9171024115 / 8040 / 21355 / 286200
Value Plus+968 2451029210 / 6030 / 180N/A200

D’s Notes For Renting a Car in Oman

CompanyNote
Al MahaLocal Company w/o airport desk. Sales agent says to contact him at +968 9946 7384 or ajay.krishnan@alhajiry.com
Arabia CarsMT Toyota Land Cruiser available for 55 OMR/Day
AvisMT Toyota Land Cruiser available for 55 OMR/Day
BudgetMT Toyota Land Cruiser available
Europe Car*Website says mileage is unlimited?!, and a MT Toyota Land Cruiser is available for 36 OMR/Day
HertzDiesel Toyota Land Cruiser available for 60 OMR/Day
NomadicLocal Company w/o airport desk
SixtNo Toyotas, Xterra for 33 OMR/day and MT Patrol available for 50 OMR/Day
ThriftyCrappy website
Value PlusGreat Prices

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73 Comments

  • Reply Cafer May 18, 2016 at 0020

    Why this web site do not have other languages?

    • Reply D. Michael May 18, 2016 at 1226

      Sorry, the target market is travelers to Oman which overwhelmingly understand english as one of their languages. What language would you prefer to see, maybe I can help you out?

  • Reply Arnold October 12, 2016 at 1153

    Thank you for the informative website. You have done a great job! We can’t wait to visit and experience Oman. I would greatly appreciate your advice on the following-
    1) do you know of any car rental companies that rent their 4WD and allow for off road driving. We do not plan on any car sports or bashing. We just want to visit the countryside but would like to make sure their insurance cover for it.
    2) May i know in your experience in travelling along the east coast of Oman –
    – say from Sur to Al Khaluf, I see a small coastal road running along the coast. Is it possible to drive our 4WD there comfortably? How is the terrain like?
    – if we were to travel further south down from Al Khaluf, does the coastal road continue? We do not want to reach as far as Duqm. But we just want to know if there are any sites worth seeing between Al Khaluf and Duqm? Again how easy are the roads?
    3) Are we allowed to camp along the coast? I read that the turtle sanctuary is protected and do not allow for camping. May i have your suggestion as to the nearest place to camp so we can visit the turtle sanctuary.
    4) Do you know how we can get to Masirah island cheaply? Do you think the local fisherman can charter their boats?

    Thanks again for your help.

    • Reply D. Michael October 14, 2016 at 1156

      Thank you for your questions.
      1) I can’t say for sure, check with Nomadic and al Maha first.
      2) The road is now paved. You can drive the full coast of Oman by tarmac road now.
      3) You can camp in Ras al Haad to the north. There are also beaches which are near the sanctuary that you must do a little searching to find. Have a look at Google Maps.
      4) I don’t fully understand this question because there is a reasonably priced ferry boat available. You can take a ferry boat to carry you, with or without your car. I suggest if you are going to take the car and camp on a beach. Don’t bother with a day trip, Hilf, the ferry terminal on the island, is not a place to visit. I suppose you can try to arrange a fisherman to take you without your car, but the ferry service is there so you might not have luck, then you will have no transport on the island. So, take the ferry with your car. Plan for 1 or 2 nights.

      • Reply Arnold November 1, 2016 at 1349

        Thank you for the suggestions. I am glad to hear the road is all tarmac now. We will probably drive up to the turtle reserve but not to the island.

        • Reply D. Michael November 6, 2016 at 1512

          That’s what I would suggest. The island is nice, but should be low on the list of things to do.

  • Reply forex October 20, 2016 at 1807

    Well said, 100 agree.

  • Reply Jay November 2, 2016 at 2300

    Hey very cool web site!! Man .. Beautiful .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your web site and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find a lot of useful info here in the post, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

    • Reply D. Michael November 6, 2016 at 1457

      You are welcome. Glad you like it.

  • Reply SDHopper March 21, 2017 at 0543

    The list of car rental companies is very useful! I plan to spend the first 2 days of my trip in Muscat. Do you think I should rent a car for those days or only when I plan to leave Muscat? I was worried about finding parking but looking at your post, it seems it won’t be as much of a problem as I thought.
    Thank you!

    • Reply D. Michael March 23, 2017 at 1348

      Hi SDHopper,
      Yes, parking in Muscat is spicy and you can almost park wherever you want, but be careful. There is more of a police crackdown on that sort of thing. Mainly in the popular areas where it gets congested like Muscat Grand Mall and Shati al Qurum. There is also now paid parking where there never used to be. The government is desperate for income and it keeps the riffraff out. So be careful with that.

      With regards to your specific question, it really depends on where you are going in Muscat, and where you are staying. If you are going to visit only one place in the day, then take a taxi. However, if you want to move around a bit more you will probably appreciate having a vehicle. Taxi drivers apply a “tourist tax” that far exceeds reasonable prices. This is the reason the taxi drivers do not want to install meters… They cannot rip off tourists and expats if they do. Figure an average of 5-10 rial per taxi trip in a private taxi, and you can do your math to see what is cheaper if that is important. The taxi ride will be higher if you are departing or arriving at a 5 star hotel.

      The government bus system is quickly improving, but it might not be good for you as a tourist because not every place is serviced in Muscat. Tourist sites of interest that are serviced by MWASALAT include: Old Town Muscat, Muttrah, Ruwi, Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Seeb City Center, Muscat Airport…

      If money is not a huge limiting factor then I suggest to hire the car for Muscat. It will give you great convenience, freedom, no hassle with the taxi drivers, and you get to feel more like a local. You could even pull up to a shawarma coffee shop and honk your horn for service like the locals! If you are staying at Bar al Jissah resort then hire a car.

      Let me know when you are in town, maybe we can meet up.

      • Reply SDHopper March 26, 2017 at 1915

        Thank you! I’ve rented a car and will plan to keep it throughout. I’m happy I saw your price list because it made me look around to find a better deal after my first quotes which were almost double!

        That resort looks gorgeous but way out of my budget. I’ll be at an AirBNB of some sort. I’m arriving tomorrow but think I’ll be leaving first thing Tues AM and then back in a week for a day in Muscat.

        • Reply D. Michael March 26, 2017 at 2321

          Double!!! These guys are very greedy sometimes. Glad it’s all working out. Will reply to your email.

  • Reply Gavin Smith July 20, 2017 at 0426

    Dear D Michael
    I am planning a fishing trip with two of my friends and we are interested in renting an RV/Motorhome. We intend to make our way along the coast down as far as Salalah, stopping off in between for some fishing. Can you recommend a rental company please ?
    Thank you.
    Gavin Smith

    • Reply D. Michael July 24, 2017 at 0915

      Hi Gavin. There is one company I know of. Oman Motor Homes. Note that you cannot bring a RV to most of the beaches along the coast. They are too heavy to go down the track and onto the sand. So a 4×4 and tent camping might be a better option for fishing along the coast. Good luck.

  • Reply Gabe Bres October 27, 2017 at 1657

    Hi D Michael,

    We will be in Oman in January and we will hire a 4×4, do you think we need to carry with us a pump in order to restore tyre pressure if we get bogged in the sand ?

    We are still looking for the best car hire deal.

    Cheers
    Gabe

    • Reply D. Michael October 29, 2017 at 1217

      Hi Gabe,
      I do recommend to carry a tire pump unless you plan on sticking to tarmac only. You can buy a cheap pump at Carrefour for like 5 OMR, 20 OMR will score you a decent one. You can also bring with you a good quality foot pump if you don’t want to waste money. Good luck!

  • Reply Gabe November 4, 2017 at 1307

    Thank you,

    I’ll take with me my tyre pump, we do quite a bit of off-road here in OZ.I think I’ll go for an SUV due the price difference against a proper Land Cruiser. Not interested in dune bashing or extreme off-road, just get close enough and walk from there, take some side road to pick the tent. Do you think a Land Cruiser is really needed or we can do with Prado ?

    Gabe

    • Reply D. Michael November 5, 2017 at 0852

      The Land Cruiser Prado can do everything a 200 series Land Cruiser can do. The choice is yours. Please let me know what you decide to do for renting a 4×4 and the best deal/company. It’ll help me update this page.

      • Reply Gabe Bres November 30, 2017 at 0817

        Hi Michael,

        We found that the prices are pretty much equivalents if you consider limited vs unlimited mileage vs cost per extra km, all depends on how many km you will drive. We decided not to drive like crazy in order to see everything but take our time in each location instead. The best price/miles for a good SUV was with Hertz (I also have a company discount). The last piece on the puzzle is to find a nice drive in the Wahiba Sands for a night between the dunes, any suggestion ?
        Gabe

        • Reply D. Michael December 6, 2017 at 1934

          Thanks for the first hand report Gabe. It is good advice. I have my own 4×4 so it’s hard for me to get the first hand advice but gather the info when I have visitors and from readers like you who can share. The simplest way to camp in the dunes is to take the 1000 Nights track past the camp and finding what you like from that. You can find the location of the popular camps in my post about the Sharqiya (Wahiba). Also, be sure to read my 13 tips about sand driving.

  • Reply Pol Bernat Aguilar November 5, 2017 at 2226

    Hey buddy,

    Thanks for all the info!!!

    Me and my girlfriend are coming to Oman from 1st of December to 10th, meaning we arrive 2nd of December at 7am an we leave Sunday 10th at 9am. Staying in Oman 8 full days.

    Do you know AST Oman? I’ve just emailed Nomad Tours asking for a 4wd with roof top tent. They’ve said that the total cost of the roof top tent and camping equipment will cost 137.5 Rials. Plus they sent me the quotes of the 4wd (via AST Oman):

    MITSUBISHI PAJERO/Fortuner 4.0/Toyota Prado 4.0 L /Simlar Automatic: 264/WEEK – ALLOWED MILEAGE of 1200/WEEK
    – EXCESS MILEAGE of 100 – CWD 5/day

    TOYOTA LAND CRUISER (MANUAL): 294/WEEK – 1200/WEEK – 100 – 5/day

    TOYOTA LAND CRUISER (FULL AUTOMATIC) – 324/WEEK – 1200/WEEK – 100 – 5/day

    Do you think it’s ok? Can I find better options?

    Our initial plan is:
    Day 1: flying from BCN to Oman
    Day 2: Muscat
    Day 3: Mascate – (Sawadi) – Barka – Nakhl – Rustaq
    Day 4: Rustaq – Wadi Bani Awf – Bald Sayt – Misfat al Abriyyin – Al Hamra – Wadi Ghul – Jebel Shams
    Day 5: Jebel Shams – Bahla – Jabreen – Birkat al Mouz – Nizwa
    Day 6: Nizwa – Wadi Bani Khalid – (Sinaw) – (Ibra) – (Qabil) – Wahiba Sands
    Day 7: Wahiba Sands – Desert (Al Khaloof?)
    Day 8: Desert (Al Khaloof?) – Ras al Jinz – Al Ayjah – Sur
    Day 9: Sur – Wadi Tiwi – Wadi Shaab – Sink Hole – (Wadi al Arabia) – (Al Mazira) – Mascate
    Day 10: back to BCN

    Think we have no time for going to Masirah one day. Do you think there’s something silly or crazy in our plan?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Reply D. Michael November 5, 2017 at 2351

      Looks good Pol, bienvenido. Don’t bother with Masirah on a 10 day trip. I’ve not heard of AST, so I can’t say anything about them. The prices quoted are average for the season you are requesting. It’s hard to get deals in the winter because they know they will book their cars sooner of later. Good luck, and let me know how it goes.

      • Reply Pol November 7, 2017 at 1212

        Ok! Thanks for the info! Do you know of any car hire company where I can hire a 4×4 with roof top tent?

        Thank you!

        • Reply D. Michael November 7, 2017 at 1328

          Nomad Tours and Elite Travel both advertise roof-top tents on their websites. There is also rumor that Mark Tours and Bahwan Travels do as well, but you’ll have to contact them directly. I have no experience, 1st or 2nd hand, with these companies. There is another local company that I am encouraging to offer this… one that I can fully endorse, but at the moment they are not in the market. Let me know how it goes.

  • Reply Barb November 12, 2017 at 1834

    Love your website. Going to do a combination of hiring a guide/driver (for Jebel Shams and self-driving other areas to help keep costs down. Would a saloon car be okay for visiting the Rustaq area and up and down the coast (visiting Sur, Wadi Tiwi and Wadi Shab)?

    • Reply D. Michael November 12, 2017 at 2054

      Hi Barb,
      Yes! A saloon car should be fine for those areas. Enjoy your trip to Oman.

  • Reply BZ November 14, 2017 at 0230

    Hi Michael

    Me and my wife are coming to Oman from 27st of December to 6th of January.
    We need e mail adress for rent a car agency. (Al maha or another with low prices).
    Thanks for all useful information in the post.

    • Reply D. Michael November 14, 2017 at 2009

      Hi BZ, sorry I don’t have the email addresses, so you’ll have to do the leg work yourself. I find getting responses via email difficult in Oman, but maybe the tourism sector is better. Good luck.

  • Reply Stefan Schaap January 16, 2018 at 1350

    Hi Michael ,
    Thanks for the post, really helpful.
    My girlfriend and I are going to be in Oman in April and planing to rent an SUV. We are only 2, you think a Prado should be fine or is a bigger one absolutely necessary to drive around the north of Oman?

    Thanks in advance,

    Stefan from Luxembourg

    • Reply D. Michael January 17, 2018 at 0009

      Hi Stefan, welcome to the Sultanate. Go for a Prado mate. Best value in town right now. It has loads of space for you two.
      Thanks for the question, and for checking in from Luxembourg

  • Reply Alex Gheorghe January 21, 2018 at 1911

    Hey Michael!
    My girlfriend and I will arrive in Muscat next week and we are planning on renting an 4×4.
    Also, we will spend 1 night at 1000 nights, in Wahiba. Do you think we absolutely need a guide for the desert road or we can go by ourselves?
    Also, for the desert driving, do we need a Land Cruiser/Prado/Xterra? Or is it ok to go in a Tucson/Santa Fe, Honda CRV, maybe Outlander, as i see that the prices are lower for that particular cars?
    Thank you and greetings from Romania,
    Alex G.

    • Reply D. Michael January 21, 2018 at 2357

      Hi Alex. You certainly can do most things with a soft sport ute… like reaching 1000 Nights, although one section might be difficult. Just follow my sand driving techniques and don’t hesitate to deflate BEFORE you have traction issues. Beyond 1000 Nights you should not go unless you have a proper 4×4 like LC, Prado, Xterra. As long as you stick to the dirt track you will be fine. If you want to have a go at sand driving or visiting some of the more remote beaches you need LC, Prado, Xterra. No guide needed as long as you know where you are going. I suggest GPS. Waypoints for Camps are here on my Wahiba page. Welcome to Oman.

      • Reply ALEX GHEORGHE January 26, 2018 at 2345

        Hey, Michael, thank you for the tips! We ended up renting a Pajero 3.8L. Do you think i need to use 4Llc or 4Hlc in Wahiba? I read in your article on sand driving that you recommend low range, but others say that you should use 4Hlc, which i know is the high range?
        Thank you again for the tips!:)
        Alex G.

        • Reply D. Michael January 27, 2018 at 2252

          Hi Alex, Thanks for the question. It depends on so many things like the type of vehicle, 4×4 system, terrain, speed….. Generally 4×4 low will tell your vehicle you want center diff lock and traction control off, all good for sand. It is a great place to start if you are doing serious sand driving up and over dunes with varying heights and softness of sand. If you need speed or are traveling over an established track, then 4×4 high will be preferred. Good luck. Remember, tire pressure is the most important element here. Let me know how it goes!

      • Reply john farrington February 26, 2018 at 2352

        Hi Michael

        Thanks for such a brilliant website!! My wife and I are coming out to Oman in November and plan a couple of days in Dar Sawda (Sama Heights) and Wahiba (Oryx Camp). I guess my question is similar to the one raised by Alex Gheorghe last month – can we manage with a Tucson/Santa Fe/ CRV/Outlander (given that we won’t be driving off-track) or do we need to go for the more serious Xterra or Prado?

        We’ll certainly let you know hire prices once we start to book.

        Thanks again for your very helpful pointers.

        John

        • Reply D. Michael February 27, 2018 at 0951

          Hi John. Glad you like the site. You’ll probably be fine in the locations. Jebal Shams has no police checkpoint checking 4×4. I’ve taken a Toyota Yaris up there ;) Let me know how it goes!

  • Reply Jurgen Otto February 18, 2018 at 0436

    Very nice page, the most informative one I found so far on travelling by rental car in Oman ! And thanks for answering everyone’s questions so diligently and thoroughly. I might be visiting the country in early 2019 and may have some questions later one. Cheers from Australia.

    • Reply D. Michael February 18, 2018 at 2255

      Glad you like it. Let me know when you come.

  • Reply Andrew Bartsch February 19, 2018 at 0135

    Really appreciate your site Michael! Agree with the previous comments that this has been the most helpful so far.

    While I don’t plan to do any serious off roading, a 4×4 would give me peace of mind and enable us to reach some mountain hikes near Nizwa. Because 4×4’s are 3x the price of a sedan, wanted to gut check our itinerary and see where you think it would be most needed.

    – Start Muscat
    – 2x nights in Nizwa -> I’ve read a 4×4 is critical to reach some mountain peaks / hiking trails. Assuming it’s necessary, which would you recommend?
    – 1x night at Desert Night Camp -> Obviously off-road is required, but we could arrange a pick-up if required
    – 2x nights Ras Al Hadd -> Not sure if anything in this area requires 4×4
    – Back to Muscat with wadi stops along the way

    Thank you!
    Andrew

    • Reply D. Michael February 19, 2018 at 1734

      Hi Andrew, thanks for the comment. Jebal Akhdar requires a 4×4, otherwise you can do your whole trip with a car if you arrange a Sharqiya pickup. If you camp you can save money, and make up the difference between the 4×4 and the car. Let me know how it goes!

  • Reply kristina March 1, 2018 at 0215

    Hi Michael, Thank you so much for your great posts about Oman. My boss is coming to Salalah in March to visit this area for 3 days. Is it necessary to have a 4×4 to camp on the beaches nearby like Al-Mughsayl beach or if you think another place that would be better? He’s looking for an off the beaten track experience. Are there any companies that rent 4x4s/cars with camping equipment as he can not bring his own? Thank you in advance.
    Kind regards,
    Kristina

    • Reply D. Michael March 4, 2018 at 0708

      Hi Kristina, thanks for your message. Personally I think it is required to have a 4×4 so you can be curious and drive down the random tracks for good camping sites. Sure you can do it without, but you might have to compromise with camping in places that are closer to the road and not ideal. I don’t know of any rental places in Salalah that also rent camping equipment. Sorry. Good luck!

      • Reply kristina March 6, 2018 at 2229

        Thank you for your advice :)

      • Reply kristina March 10, 2018 at 2017

        H Michael, I have another question. Do you know a good spot near Mirbat for camping or is it allowed to camp on the beaches there? My boss will have a 4×4 on your advice :)
        Thank you in advance,
        Kristina

  • Reply john farrington March 6, 2018 at 1722

    Hi Michael

    just a bit of feedback on hire companies at Muscat airport. In the end we decided to go for a RAV-4 from Europcar, costing around £330 sterling over 5 days for November 2018. Not cheap, but the “real” 4x4s such as a Landcruiser cost at least 20% more. Our choice of RAV-4 is largely because we won’t be doing a lot of off-track driving. The cost includes around £30 for a mid-level insurance (against personal injury and tyre/windscreen). We already have an annual policy from Insurance4carhire covering collision damage waiver, which others might find interesting.

    Two points on the Muscat companies: one is that most don’t give unlimited mileage but impose a limit (usually 1000 – 1500 km). Anything above this is charged per km at a pretty high rate, so worth being sure whether these limits are adequate for what you want to do. Europcar generally doesn’t have these limits, which was one of our reasons for going for it.

    a second point (particularly relevant to older drivers like me!) is that some hire companies (and some of the agencies such as autoeurope who provide searches across companies) impose an extra charge for drivers of 65-75 years of age. Strangely, if we had hired from Europcar via autoeurope they would have charged a total of around £30 for this over the hire period, but going direct to Europcar involved no charge!

    thanks again for all your help and best wishes

    John Farrington

  • Reply Kres May 19, 2018 at 0726

    Great page – and I followed the advice to sleep in the back of a 4×4 while touring.

    I’d like to add some info on independent rental companies in Al Khuwair. There is a cluster of these small businesses behind the Al Khuwair KFC, and nearby. You can see them on Google Maps. They are cheaper than the international brands listed on this page, but do not have the convenience of an airport presence. The vehicles are probably older too. If you’re already in Al Khuwair, they may be a good budget choice.

    Some prices for 4-wheel drive rentals from the various businesses:
    – Hyundai Santa Fe, 20 OMR/day. My choice – back seats fold completely flat.
    – Renault Duster, 15 OMR/day (new) or 14 OMR/day (older model). Seats don’t fold down.
    – Mitsubishi Pajero, 18-30 OMR/day depending on length of rental. Seats fold down, but maybe not flat?
    – Mitsubishi Outlander, 13-25 OMR/day depending on length of rental.
    – Nissan Patrol, 25-50 OMR/day depending on length of rental.

    The cost of washing the car before returning is not included, and if you drive on a foreign licence you will need to pay 50 or 60 OMR deposit to cover any traffic fines. This can be claimed back 15 days after returning the vehicle. The daily limit is 200 km.

    • Reply D. Michael May 24, 2018 at 1025

      Hi Res, thanks for sharing. This article is already on my list to update with some of the options you mentioned. The problem is most folks will want to reserve a car during the high season because there is always a serious crunch on arability, and a lot of these companies are VERY poor at dealing with online/email requests/inquiries. I tested a few companies through making suggestions to some of my followers’ email queries by having them try reserving via theses local companies. Unfortunately it didn’t go well. So my advice is these guys will not be the best option for everyone, but a good option nonetheless.

  • Reply Ajay Krishnan June 7, 2018 at 0905

    Hi Michael,

    I work with Al Maha Rent a Car. You can add my mail id and number (+968 9946 7384) so folks can contact me for their vehicle requirement. Looking at the rates you have posted above, Al Maha can offer competitive rates.

    • Reply D. Michael June 9, 2018 at 1448

      Surely I will. I also sent you and email seeking more detailed info. Please reply. Thanks for reaching out.

    • Reply Marc October 7, 2018 at 1955

      Hi Ajay,
      thanks for this information. Are number/mail still actual, so I could send you our inquiry?
      Best regards, Marc

  • Reply André Heinrich June 30, 2018 at 1039

    Hi
    Your Websire is amazing and very helpfull. Thank you mate!

    We come in August for kitesurfing. I asume it is very windy that time along the cost. Would it be possible to camp in this season?

    We try to find a car rental for minivans dismounting the seats and buy a matrass so we sleep inside. But we have not found any companies so fare. Any recomondations?

    Kind regards
    Andy

    • Reply D. Michael July 13, 2018 at 1805

      Hi André, Yes it is wind along the coast in Summer. This makes it more comfortable for camping, but you do have to mind the wind. I don’t know of any companies that are renting mini vans. Most people want 4×4. You can do what you want in a midsize 4×4 or larger. Contact al Maha @ ajay.krishnan@alhajiry.com. You can hire a Fortuner or Prado to do this. Most rentals are located in Salalah for the summer to support the Khareef tourism season, but I’m sure you can work it out.

  • Reply jan July 5, 2018 at 1907

    Dear D. Michale,

    Thanks for the work you have done, it is very helpful for tourists such as myself. I’ve managed to get a good deal for a landcruiser at a Muscat company called Global Car Rental & Leasing but am hesitating to close the deal.
    http://www.globalcarrental-oman.com/
    Have you heard of this company or their reputation?
    Thanks,
    Jan

    • Reply D. Michael July 13, 2018 at 1811

      Hi Jan. Sorry I have no details about this company, but the phone number checks out. Let me know if it’s good, how it goes, and I’ll update the page. Good luck.

      • Reply Laetitia August 13, 2018 at 1724

        Hello Jan,

        Do you have any updates about your car rental? Have you traveled with the car already? Could you share with us the price you paid for the landcruiser ?
        Thank you very much for your insights!

  • Reply Jan July 13, 2018 at 1943

    Thanks, they seem to check out on the internet as they are part of a very large company. They gave us A deal we could not refuse so we made our booking.
    Kind regards,

    • Reply Jan August 14, 2018 at 2019

      Dear Laetitia,
      We agread to pay 500 OMR for a Landcruiser for 18days, which I think is a good deal. However our visit to Oman is inNovember so I can’t yet tell you what our experience was with this company. All contacts by email until now have been very satisfactory,
      Good luck on your search for a rental.
      If you end up booking with them and have your holidays before november I would be very interested in hearing about your experience.

      • Reply D. Michael October 8, 2018 at 1321

        That is a great deal! Congrats.

  • Reply Roberta August 1, 2018 at 1931

    Hi, We will be travelling to Oman in November to run an ultra 137km trail Birkat Al Mawz to Al Hamra. I will need to support teh runner and be able to access Sharaf and Alila as well as other places.
    Question 1:is it ok for a woman alone to drive in this area including at night?
    Question 2: how are the roads?
    Question 3: what type of car would be most suitable? Would a small 4×4 be enough?
    Many thanks

    • Reply D. Michael August 27, 2018 at 1117

      Hi Roberta great questions. Sorry for the delay in reply.

        1. No problem.
        2. Roads are general good, in mountains they can be rough and dirt, but these are improving all the time.
        3. You definitely need a 4×4 to access Alila. Not because of the roads, but because of police requirement. Small 4×4 should be fine.

          Good luck with the race!!
  • Reply Laetitia August 13, 2018 at 1718

    Dear Michael,
    Thank you again for your very useful and comprehensive website.
    I just wanted to double check if the prices you put on the table were in Dollar or in OMR.
    Thank you,
    Laëtitia

    • Reply D. Michael October 8, 2018 at 1317

      They are in OMR – Omani Rial

  • Reply Rome August 23, 2018 at 0145

    This is very informative and timely. I’m planning to go to Oman next month.

    Thanks?

    • Reply D. Michael August 27, 2018 at 1044

      Great!

  • Reply john farrington October 3, 2018 at 2143

    Hi Michael

    greatly appreciate all the advice given in your responses.

    We’re due to visit for 10 days in November and have hired a 4×4. We have a slightly different question, concerning what’s IN the car! For instance, if we are stopped by the police and they find alcohol in the car, is this likely to be an issue?

    many thanks

    John and Christine

    • Reply D. Michael October 8, 2018 at 1307

      Hi John and Christine, you will have an amazing trip and you shouldn’t worry too much about being in possession of alcohol for many reasons:

        1. Anybody can buy alcohol from the airport Duty Free.
        2. Non-muslim expats have access to local shops with license.
        3. Alcohol is served in many bars and restaurants.

      With all that said, it is still not 100% clear what will happen if you are in possession of alcohol along the road. The expat booze license says you must take and consume it at home. Personally I don’t worry about it. Only once in 8 years have I been searched to that level. The police didn’t inspect the compartment where my beer was stored (not thorough), however they looked in my cool box and pulled out a clear jar with vodka in it. They asked what it was and I said “water.” In hindsight that was very stupid to lie. But they didn’t open to smell it, sooo…. I should have said it was for wound care ;)

      My advice is this:

        1. Keep your receipts from the airport, incase of questions.
        2. Be friendly to police to put them at ease.
        3. Decant hard liquor to not so obvious containers.
        4. Make nothing stick out.
        5. Relax.

      Police checkpoints are operated to look for weapons smuggling, unregistered vehicles, and to occupy the police. NOT to look for booze carried by tourists. Likely you won’t even be searched and it’s probably not a problem if they do find a bottle of Bombay Sapphire. Oman is super tolerant, but your milage will vary. Enjoy your trip!

      • Reply john farrington October 9, 2018 at 1016

        Hi Michael

        Very sound advice regarding alcohol (not that we can’t live without a drink!!). Very many thanks and will report back on our trip!

        best wishes

        John and Christine

  • Reply Paul Brown October 6, 2018 at 1849

    Hiya D. Michael
    We are coming to Oman for 3 weeks in Feb/March 2019 and are just planning our route. We are reading your blog and are concerned that we need a 4×4 as we have never driven a 4×4 off read before. Are off road driving skills needed for the mountain roads and the desert or is it just because the roads are rough?
    Thanks Paul & Elaine Brown

    • Reply D. Michael October 8, 2018 at 1316

      Hi Paul and Elaine, It depends on the place. Mountains are generally fine for most people, just rough. However the desert and sand driving does take some experience. Check out my sand driving tips. You’ll love it!

  • Reply Rutger October 23, 2018 at 0007

    We’re heading for Oman late January and want to do some camping as well. I guess we won’t be doing any dune bashing ourself but will go off the road and on the beach to find camping spots, as well riding wadi’s and dirt tracks in the mountains.

    We won’t care much about (interior) size but I wonder if I should pay a lot of attention on engine size, as the offers seem to start with 2.5 liter engines going up to 5 liter. Would the first be sufficient?
    Also, does anyone have any experience with insurance and going off the road? As most (international) rental companies seem to forbid such.
    We would love some advice here.
    Thanks
    Rutger

    • Reply D. Michael October 23, 2018 at 0829

      Hi Rutger, thanks for the question. I don’t worry much about the engine size. It’s more important to have a traditional 4×4 system that has a LOW 4×4 option in the case. You’ll need that option to safely climb many mountain tracks in Oman. Regarding insurance, I’ve not found anyone to offer coverage off-road. Enjoy your trip. January is lovely.

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