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.


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.


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.


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
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

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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  • 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.


    • 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 ?


    • 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 ?

        • 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.


        • 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!

    • 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,

    • 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,

  • 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

    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

    • 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.
    Have you heard of this company or their reputation?

    • 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,

    • 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.


    • Reply D. Michael August 27, 2018 at 1044


  • 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 Ton March 10, 2020 at 0922

        Hi Michael,
        I did the Oman trip last week and it was fantastic. We rented a Toyota Prado from Herz for 10 days. The rate was €70/ day with unlimited miles. I really liked the Wadi Bani Awf. I read that many take it south to North but we did the other way round. Some travellers label it as dangerous and difficult but it was really easy.

        • Reply D. Michael March 13, 2020 at 1256

          Hi Ton. Great you had a good trip in the Prado. It’s a perfect vehicle for Oman general off road. Wadi Bani Awf is steep but that’s about it, so I agree with your assessment. I can show you dangerous elsewhere, ha.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • Reply Christina November 2, 2018 at 0009

    Hi D., I love your webpage. Great info on it. Thank you! My question: I’m visiting Salalah for a family holiday, and at the tail-end of that, I am going to rent a 4×4 there. The rental company tells me that those 4×4 have no air compressors on board, and they also don’t rent them out as an add-on. So I wonder, how do people do any driving on sand if they don’t carry a compressor? I used to own a Land Cruiser Troopcarrier in Western Australia and I did do a fair bit of sand driving. So I know that it requires letting the tires down in almost all cases. Is it that there is service stations at every corner in the empty quarter? Can’t quite imagine that. On my books, an air compressor would be a must-have in a 4×4. So I was wondering whether you might know either any rental companies that make it a standard accessory or places where I could hire an accessory like that separately, or otherwise buy a cheap air compressor in Salalah? Thanks heaps! Christina

    • Reply D. Michael January 3, 2019 at 0858

      Hi Christina, sorry for the late reply. You can purchase a cheap compressor from Carrefour. The rental companies don’t understand the off-road market, despite my trying. Enjoy!

  • Reply Christina November 8, 2018 at 1258

    Hi D Michael, thank you heaps for your super helpful webpage!!! This is fantastic info. One more question: I wonder if I need to carry a compressor for inflating tires although I am not going to do any dune bashing or beach driving. I just want to be sure that I can go off road also in Rub’ al Khali in order to find a well-hidden spot to camp, but staying on the base of the dunes i.e. on the desert floor. What would you advise? Spending the extra money for a compressor? It does not seem to be a standard accessory with car rental companies. Thank you!!!! Cheers, Christina

    • Reply D. Michael January 3, 2019 at 0900

      Yes, carry one! I have a cheap Chinese one that’s been going strong for many years.

    • Reply Jan January 3, 2019 at 1706

      Dear Christina,

      We managed perfectly without one. Just drive carefully to the nearest garage or petrol station. At our desert entry point there was garage where we could inflate the tires on exiting the desert.

      • Reply Christina January 11, 2019 at 2103

        Thank you Jan and D. Michael. In the end, I actually got Al Maha to provide a compressor for me for free and boy, did I need it! One morning I found one tyre completely flat (due to a faulty valve as I found out later), and I was camping far away from the road. So, luckily I had the compressor, pumped up the flat, and thankfully the tyre held enough air to get to the next station. There I got a new valve and that problem got fixed quite easily. But without the compressor, I would have needed to get the spare tire on right there and then, not so much fun for a solo lady ;-).

    • Reply Christina January 11, 2019 at 2111

      Thank you Jan and D. Michael. In the end, I actually got Al Maha to provide a compressor for me for free and boy, did I need it! One morning I found one tyre completely flat (due to a faulty valve as I found out later), and I was camping far away from the road. So, luckily I had the compressor, pumped up the flat, and thankfully the tyre held enough air to get to the next station. There I got a new valve and that problem got fixed quite easily. But without the compressor, I would have needed to get the spare tire on right there and then, not so much fun for a solo lady ;-).

  • Reply Domini November 19, 2018 at 2254

    Hi D. Michael,

    great page and great informations about your country. We are heading to Oman next week and still have to manage some things for our journey.
    As we are planning to rent a 4×4 and do some small off road adventures can you recommend a specific map which we should us or buy at the airport on our arrival?

    • Reply D. Michael January 3, 2019 at 0902

      Hi Domini, thanks for the question. I don’t really know what is on offer at the airports. Have a look at them and choose the one with me most roads identified. The one I use is VERY old. Good luck!

    • Reply Jan January 3, 2019 at 1659

      Dear Dominic,

      We have just returned from Oman. At the tourist information desk at the airport they have a reasonably good map of all Oman, but it is not suitable for off the road driving. For this it is best to buy the Oman Off-road explorer book and or the app based on this book. The book is a bit difficult to get your hands on but we saw it at the Muscat airport bookstore for 40 euro’s on leaving Oman. The book is nicer, but the app is more handy as it van be used in combination with gps.
      Hope this helps,

  • Reply Mario Camici November 22, 2018 at 1648

    I have a bird watching tour October 2019 of 9 Person to lead in Oman .
    I’m looking for 4wheel cars to rent. If possible with an extra large interior
    I need to have at least 5 people plus driver comfortably place on it

    I know such cars from Safaris in Afrika – place for 6 to 8 persons.

    Have you such cars in Oman to rent – could you help us with some Adresse.
    Als Alternative – they exist some 4whel Minibusses?

    Thanks for your help and soon Reply

    Best wishes Mario

    • Reply D. Michael January 3, 2019 at 0905

      Hi Mario, good questions. I don’t know of any 4×4 mini busses. Do you really need a 4×4? consider hiring a bus and driver. The largest 4×4 I’ve seen on offer for hire is a 200 series Toyota Land Cruiser or Nissan Patrol. Have a good trip. The bird watching is off the wall here, but you know that.

  • Reply Athirah November 27, 2018 at 1520

    Heya D,

    My family and I are going to vacation in oman this december and we are planning to drive to musandam and abu dhabi. Do you have any recommendations which company could provide us on:
    1. Carseats
    2. Return car in dubai
    3. 1st week to rent 4wd and then change to 2wd

    Or do you think is better to rent from local company first, then rent from an international company so that we can return the car in diff country. Hope you get what im writing hehe

    • Reply D. Michael January 3, 2019 at 0909

      Hi Athirah, Really sorry for the late reply. I’m not good and replies lately. Sorry about that. Hope your trip went well. For others with the same question. You will not be allowed to return the car to a different country, as far as I know. The “international” companies are actually local franchise operators. 1. I have no idea, sorry. 2. see previous. 3. yes, keep it simple.

  • Reply Noémie November 30, 2018 at 1205

    Hi michael,
    Thank you for this wonderful website and updates!
    I’m travelling with my boyfriend in December to Oman and we are talking to the Value Plus agency. I can’t find any ratings on the internet about them. I’ve already asked them to send me the insurance policy but they just tell me everything is included and that I don’t have to worry. So I was wondering if you have any experience with this company and if they are thrust worthy? Their prices are good though.
    Thank you very much.
    Kind regards,

    • Reply D. Michael January 3, 2019 at 0911

      Hi Noemie, Thanks!
      I’ve not heard anything negative about them. I will not list company with known problems.

  • Reply Clement December 8, 2018 at 2254

    Hi Michael,
    Thank you for your excellent website. I really find a lot of useful information there, which helps ease my stress planning the trip so late (will be flying to Oman in a week). Just a quick question: as far as you know, is Value Plus a reliable/reputable car rental company? In their email confirmation to me, they do not provide any instructions about how to pick up the rental at the airport. So, I assumed that they have a service counter there. But when I check on the airport’s website, it seems they don’t. Your reply would be greatly appreciated!
    Kind regards,

    • Reply D. Michael January 3, 2019 at 0912

      Value Plus had a desk in the old airport. Not sure about the new one though. How did it go?

    • Reply Rutger January 7, 2019 at 1444

      Hi Clement,

      Have you returned from your trip and can you share your experience with Value Plus?


  • Reply Omar December 15, 2018 at 1117

    Hey Michael

    For renting a car, what sort of documents are required? Is a license and passport enough? or are other documents required?


    • Reply D. Michael January 3, 2019 at 0915

      Hi Omar. Those documents are enough for most people. If your license is not written in English, you should also bring an “international drivers license,” which is basically a translation of your actual license, done in your home country.

  • Reply Marc January 3, 2019 at 2249

    Hi there,
    tanks for all the tipps.
    We had just 3 rentals with Ajay from Al Maha (see above), 2 in Maskat and 1 in Salalah and we were completely satisfied. Top cars, top service, no extra charges for anything, lowest price. Everything prebooked by email.

  • Reply Ms Steele January 7, 2019 at 1557

    Hey D Michael!
    Your site is very informative. Thanks for sharing. My question is, how easy is driving in Muscat please? steep and hills? I’m a mature woman and although I have been driving for centuries my worse fear is driving on hilly areas. I’m a school teacher and will be arriving in Muscat next week. The school has no bus for teachers so I will need to drive.
    The pictures online about Muscat are stunning but the mountains scare me. Please help. :)
    Ms Steele

    • Reply D. Michael January 9, 2019 at 1706

      Hi Ms. Steele, you will find Muscat very flat. Shway, shway, you will love it.

  • Reply john farrington January 10, 2019 at 1716

    Hi Ms Steele
    I was in Oman a couple of months ago and found drivers generally courteous and careful. All I would add is that the main north-south highway through Muscat (The Sultan Qaboos Highway) is pretty fast with exits that come up on you suddenly, marked with places that may not be on the map and so you may not have heard of…. There’s a parallel road between this highway and the sea called (I think) 19 November which is much more sedate and runs from the airport quite a distance into town. Maybe best to use this where you can, and then get a colleague to go with you on Sultan Qaboos for the first couple of trips until you get oriented. A good satnav, or an app on your mobile, is well worth having in town. I’m in my seventies, and if I can drive in Muscat, I’m sure you can! You’ll love Oman! John Farrington

  • Reply Evanne January 19, 2019 at 0923

    Great info! I am considering flying into Muscat and out of Salalah. Do you know if rental companies will let you return to another city?

    • Reply D. Michael February 5, 2019 at 2139

      Hi Evanne, the bigger companies with offices in both cities should be able to accommodate you. Enjoy Dhofar… my favorite!

  • Reply Anya January 23, 2019 at 0141

    Your advice on car rentals in Oman is super helpful!
    Me and my boyfriend are planning trip to Dubai and Oman. I was wondering if it is better to:
    a) fly from Dubai to Muscat and rent a car out of there to drive around Oman, or
    b) fly in and out of Dubai, rent a car there and drive it down to Oman and back?
    Just wondering if the border crossing in a rental car and the extra distance would be too much of a hassle.
    Any advice you can give us would be super!

    • Reply D. Michael February 5, 2019 at 2151

      Hi Anya, thanks for the question. It’s way easier (and likely way cheaper) to just rent out of Muscat. If the flights between MCT and DXB are too much, consider taking the bus. I met a few guys who did that before and Dubai’s transit plugs into Oman’s system for cheap.

      • Reply Anya February 16, 2019 at 2317

        Thanks for the tip! We just bout a cheap flight to Muscat and we’re going to rent a car from the airport.
        Next question – can you recommend a good camp in the Wahiba Sands o visit for a night or 2? We’d rather stay in something smaller and more rustic. We don’t need A/C or any of the mod cons.
        When I visited the Wadi Rum in Jordan we had a guide just take us out in the desert and we slept under the stars. That was wonderful!

  • Reply john farrington February 6, 2019 at 1611

    Hi Michael

    First of all, we had a great holiday in Oman – we’d thoroughly recommend it to everyone, and many thanks for all your useful tips.

    As promised, here’s a bit of feedback on car hire. We hired a 4X4 to go up to Jebel Shams and into the desert. Having read all about the risks of hiring from small local companies who might skimp on maintenance, we went for one of the big Europe-based companies. The car seemed fine on collection and for the first 1000km or so.

    But the front brakes started to grate up in the mountains, which we thought was grit from the dirt roads there. However, this got worse as we went into the desert, and the brakes felt feeble. As we got out of the desert, I pulled into a service station and got them to take the front wheels off. The front brake pads had worn down completely and their backing plate was rubbing on the disc – metal-on-metal contact doesn’t make for very good braking!

    Very gingerly we drove back to the airport and got the car changed – they only had a sedan available, which was OK since from then on we’d planned only city driving. On our return to the UK, and after a lot of arguing with their customer service department at HQ, we got a substantial refund plus a goodwill payment.

    What did we learn? One thing we did before handing the 4X4 back was check the recorded km on the car against a “service reminder” sticker which we spotted pasted onto the inside of the doorframe. The service was overdue by 8,000km! You can’t always predict when this kind of problem is going to occur – and we were surprised to encounter it in such a large, well-known company – but a useful tip before accepting a hire car is to check the recorded km against the km specified on service reminder stickers. If the service looks to be overdue, refuse the car!

    best wishes


    • Reply D. Michael February 14, 2019 at 0125

      Thanks for your feedback John, and you are most welcome for the tip. Very sorry that you had such an issue. I hope your case is more unique and others post their experiences, both good and bad, here. I hope you can return to Oman soon.

  • Reply Dansktex February 13, 2019 at 1952

    I’m a 73-year-old in very good health who will travel to Oman alone for 7 days. I lived by the ocean for 25 years where I saw dolphins regularly and went on excursions to feed them. I went to a beach where there was paved parking and a shower facility to avoid the sand. I’ve camped in the dessert and eaten dates off the trees around Siwa in Egypt. I’ve seen the green turtles lay eggs on the beach in India. I’ve taken a camel ride and dined in the dessert in India. I see no reason to repeat similar experiences in Oman. I will be there about the 3rd week of March this year (2019), so there should be no reason for me to need to escape major heat.
    Therefore, my main goal is to enjoy the culture, the architecture, and some of the scenic beauty of Oman. Questions:

    1. I am thinking maybe a loop trip from Muscat to Nizwa, down to Sur, and back would be nice. Where would you recommend stopping (villages and sights) along this route?
    2. If I go somewhere else off this list, can you recommend what I might enjoy most?
    3. Will a sedan work for what interests me, or will I still need a 4×4? What will I miss that is worth the extra cost if I go with a sedan? If a 4×4, would a small one be adequate?

    • Reply D. Michael February 14, 2019 at 0140

      Hi Dansktex, all first time posters have to go through a moderation before their comments post. You can definitely do what you want with a Sedan. I don’t recommend a soft 4×4 at all. Either take the proper ride for what you want to do, or stick to the sedan. The soft 4×4 will only give you a false sense of security (unless all you want to do is visit Jebal Akhdar). Consider al Hamra to see the old buildings. You might also like to stay in Misfat Abriyeen, if you get lucky. Jebal Shams is accessible with a sedan, which I’ve done. It’ll be rough, however. For the desert stay, any guest house can arrange to pick you up. Nomadic Desert Camp has the most “authentic” experience, and you can skip the camel ride. Enjoy your visit to Oman and let me know how it goes!

  • Reply Malte Kjærulff March 6, 2019 at 1845

    Hi Michael.
    Coming to visit Oman with a friend for 16 days this month. We are planing to spend 10+ days road tripping and camping by car.
    I found a company called Nomad Tours, who offer both car and tent rental.
    Do you know anything about this company or any similar service?
    Any other advice when camping in Oman?

    Thank you, and great website! Also listened to your podcast which was great.

    Best Regards Malte.

    • Reply D. Michael March 11, 2019 at 1018

      Hi Malte, I’ve heard of the company but haven’t dealt with them or heard any reports. Maybe you can give a report and I can add them to the list? Hope you have a great trip, and my advice is take lot of pictures, and max out your 2 bottle alcohol allowance per person at the duty free in the MCT baggage claim… if that’s your thing. Enjoy Oman!

  • Reply Cheryl March 11, 2019 at 2020

    Hi, I am thinking of visiting Oman in late October/early November. My husband and I live in a city and don’t drive much. Do you think it’d be easy to rent an automatic 4×4? Also, things I’ve read have said driving in Oman can be a little hectic – do you think driving from Muscat – Nizwa – Wahiba Sands – Muscat is an easy drive? For Wahiba Sands, we were thinking of hiring a guided driver who would pick us up where we park our car outside the dunes. Do you have any recommendations for guides to drive within Wahiba Sands? Really appreciate the help!

    • Reply D. Michael March 13, 2019 at 1045

      Hi Cheryl, I am sitting here with my Omani students, giving them a demo about websites. They say renting an automatic 4×4 is easy and driving the route you describe should be simple. I agree. A lot of the desert camps will come to meet you on the tarmac, so check with them if you want a little guiding. You can also drive yourself if feel adventurous. See my guide about sand driving. I don’t think you need to hire a guide unless you really want to. Enjoy Oman.

  • Reply Erica March 14, 2019 at 1223

    How old do you have to be to rent a car in Oman?

    • Reply D. Michael March 19, 2019 at 1953

      I believe 21, but it will likely be different for some companies. You’ll have to check directly with the companies. Please let me know if you get a specific answer to that question.

  • Reply LCarter May 21, 2019 at 2347

    Hi, I am traveling to Oman in October this year. I want to rent a 4×4 and also want to drive offroad and see places like the Wahabi Sand , Jebel Shams etc. A lot of rental companies say that is is not permitted to drive on unpaved roads and that damage resulted in driving off-road is not coveredv(even with extended coverage). Do you have any tips on dealing with this? (because I read a lot of stories about people driving off-road in Oman with rental cars.

    Beste regards,


    • Reply D. Michael June 9, 2019 at 1015

      Hi Lorenzo, thanks for the message. No insurance will cover off-road driving, that’s the nature of the beast. Even my private car insurance excludes this. You just have to take the risk yourself if anything is damaged. So just be careful. If you follow my sand driving tips you should be fine, but your millage will vary. Jebal Shams you will be fine (covered) as this is still considered a public road, despite the fact tarmac is missing in parts. The sands are not considered public roads, naturally.

  • Reply LCarter June 18, 2019 at 2154

    Hi Michael, thank you for the response, that is what I thought. Really looking forward to visiting Oman!


  • Reply Aaron Jenkins July 9, 2019 at 0625

    I really like reading this article, thanks for sharing this article.

    • Reply D. Michael October 12, 2019 at 1221

      Glad you find it useful Aaron.

  • Reply Jamie Hardward July 17, 2019 at 1938

    Thanks so much, really glad you enjoyed it. Stay tuned for more Oman adventures very soon!!

    • Reply D. Michael October 12, 2019 at 1222

      Thanks Jamie.

  • Reply Paola August 9, 2019 at 1653

    Hi Michael,
    I’m Paola, a teacher too.
    My husband and I will be in Oman in December and this may be our tour; we’re used to drive for tourism but never in unpaved roads so your advice is precious.
    23th December: Muscat
    24th: Muscat- (185km) Bahla-Jabrin; nigth in Nizwa
    25th: Nizwa: (48km) Al Hamra e (7km) Wadi Ghull– (68km) Birkat al Mawz – (38km) Diana’s Point; nigth in Nizwa
    26th: Nizwa- (240km) Wadi Bani Khalid – (47km) Wahiba Sands; nigth in the desert
    27th: Wahiba Sands – (395km) Duqm (rock garden)- (220km) Al Khaluf; nigth in Mahout (but actually I can’t find an accomodation there; could you help me?)
    28th: Mahout- (287km) Ras Al Jinz; nigth in the Turtle Reserve
    29th: Ras Al Jinz- (50km) Sur -(68km) Wadi Shab; (43km) night in Qalhat
    30th: Qalhat – (52km) Bimmah Sinkhole – (20km) wadi Ar Alberieen; (130km) nigth in Al Qurum Resort
    31th: Qurum – Rustaq Loop and back in Italy

    We need you opinion:
    1) Too many kilometres?
    2) Is better a sedan or a 4×4?
    3) We contact your car rental list for a midsize 4×4, and actually best price is 262.5 for a Renault Duster; what about you?

    Thanks in advance and congratulations for your website very useful!

    • Reply D. Michael October 12, 2019 at 1226

      Hi Paola, Looks like a good trip.
      1) It should be fine.
      2) I prefer 4×4 for camping, but you can do this with a sedan, apart from Jebal Akhdar as a 4×4 is required via a checkpoint.
      3) December is high season, so the price will be difficult to negotiate. That’s not too bad for that vehicle.

      Enjoy your trip, and let me know how it goes!

      • Reply Paola October 12, 2019 at 1628

        Hi Michael,
        we’ve two more questions, if you could answer:
        at the end we booked for a Nissan Kicks at 137.07 OMR:
        1) Is it ok for the checkpoint? And to reach the camp in the desert (we booked Desert Retreat Camp)?
        2) We couldn’t find informations about roads from Duqm to Al Khaluf: are paved?

        Finally a favour: are there accomodations in Mahout? We sent a lot of mail in these months but nobody has ever answered; if you know a hotel and you could send me a link to contact…

        Thanks in advance,

  • Reply Nic August 22, 2019 at 1642

    Love this page. Your tips are invaluable. Makes me feel much more comfortable driving in Oman. With the cost of the rental 4 x 4 we are going to have to limit hotel stays. If we are car camping a lot what do you recommend for showers? Is there anywhere we can get a shower at places? Also in October how cold do the nights get? Will I need to bring a sleeping bag for the car or are the nights warm? Thanks

    • Reply D. Michael October 12, 2019 at 1231

      Hi Nic,
      Glad you are choosing to car camp, you will like it. Evenings in October are doable, temperature wise. What temperature will depend on your altitude and location. Up the mountains you’ll find 10C probably, so bag required. In the flats in the 20s. A very simple bag will work. If you need some gear hit me up. I have a set of car camping stuff for two people available for a small donation. I really need to make that page still.

    • Reply D. Michael October 12, 2019 at 1234

      Sorry, I forgot about the showers. I use a shower bag, or find places to swim in the ocean then rinse with fresh water from a 1.5 liter bottle. I find it easy to find privacy as there’s only a few million people in the whole country!

  • Reply Ton Staassen September 12, 2019 at 1346

    Hello Michael,

    I have been reading a lot of great info on your site while preparing a trip to Oman end of februari -beginning of March next year.
    One thing I can’t quite figure out. To visist Jebel Shams, would you recommend just to drive up to the viewpoint, passing Al Hamra, Misfat al Abriyyin or are there any other routes in that area that you recommend. On the map I see for example a road going from Al HAmra tot Balid Sayt. Do you know this route?


    • Reply D. Michael October 12, 2019 at 1239

      Hi Ton. Access to the Jebal Shams viewpoint is only via al Hamra. Since Misfat is near, it’s worth at least a few hours to look around. Al Hamra to the coast via Bilad Sayt is a completely different area of the Hajar Mountains (not considered Jebal Shams). A great route on it’s own, I know it well. Recommend a proper 4×4 for this route, as you need the low 4×4 gears to be safe. from al Hamra to Jebal Shams, I’ve taken a small sedan ;) Enjoy!

  • Reply paul hurdsfield October 14, 2019 at 2048

    hello michael,
    what a cool informative website you have, i don’t suppose you have heard of a car rental place called al-rawasi? they seem very reasonable (prado 32 omr per day) but i cant find any reviews on them anywhere on the internet. oin advance
    thank you in advance


    • Reply D. Michael October 14, 2019 at 2310

      Hi Paul, Thanks for the comment. Sorry, I haven’t heard of them. However, that isn’t necessarily bad. There are a lot of small rental companies operating here. Good luck, and enjoy your trip.

  • Reply Paolo Mazza November 27, 2019 at 2104

    I am planning a trip to Oman, arriving on December 4th and leaving on December 11. I am looking for a guide/driver from December 6th to December 9th.
    This is the trip I want to do with my wife:

    1st day – Wednesday 4th December. Arrival at 20.00. Transfer from the airport organized by you. Overnight at the Crown Plaza hotel in Muscat;

    2nd day – Free day. Overnight at the Crown Plaza hotel;

    3rd day – Muscat, visit of the city starting from the Great Mosque. Overnight at the Crown Plaza hotel;

    4th day – Muscat – Nizwa – Jabal Akhbar. Overnight at Anantara Jabal Akhdar;

    5th day – Jabal Akhdar – Wadi Bani Khalid – Wahiba sands desert. Overnight at Desert Night Camp;

    6th day – Wahiba – Wadi Tiwi – Bima Sinkhole – Quriyat. Overnight at Crown plaza hotel Muscat

    Day 7 – Free day at Crown plaza hotel at Muscat;

    Day 8 – Transfer to the airport for the flight departing at 12.00.

    All hotels have been booked already. Could you help us in finding a good guide/driver?

    Kindest regards.

    • Reply D. Michael December 14, 2019 at 1046

      Hi Paolo, looks like a great trip. I do not give any recommendations for guides and drivers as this site focuses on independent travel in Oman. Also, for anybody else reading. If you have specific questions like this, it is best to contact me directly through the contact page of this site for more speedy replies. Hope you had a great trip Paolo.

  • Reply Jodie December 24, 2019 at 1917

    Hi Michael,
    First off, great website! So much useful information, thanks! I had one question regarding the insurance of the rental companies. I will be travelling through Oman with my boyfriend for two weeks in march. We are planning on renting a 4×4 and will visit a lot of the usual sites. On the nomad rental site they state ‘The Renter will not use any of the vehicles on rough roads except 4WD / SUV category which will be used only on dirt roads & paths already existing. The vehicles shall not be operated on terrains that have no roads or paths’. We we’re wondering whether you knew if this was also the policy for the larger companies or whether they only allow driving on paved roads? The other thing we we’re wondering was whether some companies offer insurance that is still valid in the UAE? Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Reply D. Michael January 3, 2020 at 0911

      Hi Jodie, every company will likely have some different intricacy or wording which you’ll have to do your homework, if you think it is important. However, from what I understand, the classification of roads in Oman extends to unpaved, graded, and marked dirt roads. Which is what you will mostly be encountering. No company will offer coverage to go seriously off road to do something like dune bashing or wadi bashing across undefined “off-road.” You will be surprised what is considered a road here, complete with all the normal road signs and the necessity for 4×4. Regarding UAE insurance, some companies allow you to take their cars to the UAE (I don’t know which because I do not encourage it). Again, you need to check with them and maybe get some additional paperwork which will allow you to cross certain border gates. Not all UAE border gates are equal so be sure to ask them which ones will accept you. Finally, keep in mind that you will still have to return your vehicle to Oman. I hope that was helpful… you’ll be fine taking a rented 4×4 onto the dirt roads (off-road) in Oman. Just do it. Enjoy your trip!

  • Reply Mansoora January 7, 2020 at 2147

    Hi, D Michael. Happy new year! Very informative article, thanks for sharing – and replying to the many messages on there. I have gone through them, but would like to check something with you if I may. I am coming to Oman in a couple of weeks and looking to rent a 4X4. The prices differ quite a bit depending on the type of SUVs, the Rav4 and Mitsubishi Outlander are significantly cheaper.
    We are planning to spend a night in a desert camp (so some sand driving will be necessary) and a couple of nights in Jabal al Akhdar (going up the mountains to Alila).
    Which type of SUV would you recommend for desert and mountains? Do you think the Rav4, Mitsubishi Outlander or Toyota Prado can work?
    Also, I doubt you would have any insight on this point, but just in case you do, my husband is disabled and I would be looking to get a vehicle that is not too high so he can get it easily.

    Many thanks,


    • Reply D. Michael January 10, 2020 at 1504

      Hi Mansoora, great questions. I would recommend a Toyota Prado because it has a proper 4×4 transfer case compared to the other “soft” SUVs. I’m actually on the lookout for a Prado for myself as a second car. They are strong, easy to drive, and parts are easily available.. I do have big insight on traveling with companions who have disabilities. You can read about my friend Jeff here, who basically introduced me to traveling. So, you can do most things in Oman with a soft 4×4 like a Rav4. What you can’t do, or I do not recommend, is drive off the track through the dunes, or up/down big off-road tracks. Something like a Prado is between a “soft” and a proper 4×4 (closer to proper), and I try to recommend them because it might keep you more safe if you find yourself in a sticky situation. Something like: going downhill on a steep, washed-out track. Resting the brakes on a low-gear 4×4, like the Prado, can be very helpful in overcoming your lack of off-road experience in an unfamiliar territory. However, most of your driving will consist of easy driving, and you should look at a “soft” 4×4 if it better fits your budget and improves your husband experience in Oman. Have a great trip!

  • Reply Mansoora January 10, 2020 at 1536

    Thanks so much. We will get the prado. Budget is not much of an issue tbh, well it is a bit but I’d rather be safe than save. :) thanks also for sharing your inspiring story about Jeff. A remarkable man. A great friendship.

  • Reply Laura January 17, 2020 at 0308

    Thank you for providing all of this information. Very helpful as I research visiting Oman from Maine, USA. I have never driven or rented a car in a different country. How does insurance work? Do companies in Oman take advantage and charge more money for damage or ‘wear and tear’ on vehicles when you return them? I am so happy to learn about Oman and hope to visit in 2020!!

    • Reply D. Michael January 26, 2020 at 2118

      Hi Laura. Escaping the cold I see. ;) Insurance is different with every company, so you will have to check with who you choose directly. My experience is that comprehensive insurance (CDW) is included in the rate, but again, please check before. Just ask whoever you decide to rent with about the coverage to make you feel better, likely you will find it is included. Insurance will never cover your 4×4 if you are off-road, but you will be surprised what is considered a on-road here. Enjoy your trip!

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