Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Tracy Reller hosted by a local family for a meal in Oman.

Tracy Reller and her family having dinner in a local home.

Our family (with two 17-year-olds) spent an amazing spring break (March 23-April 1, 2024) in Oman! It offers varied landscapes, warm/friendly people, interesting culture and very few Americans. Dan Waters did a great job planning a family trip that included a bit of everything Oman offers. We explored the capital of Muscat, visited mosques/forts/small towns/abandoned towns, snorkeled with turtles, dined with a local family, spent a night at a tent camp in the desert and hiked in wadis and mountains.

Our guide, Fahad, was superb and really added to our trip. We spent a good amount of time driving around the northern part of the country and had many interesting conversations about religion, daily life, challenges of our respective countries, history of Oman and Sultan Qaboos. This is the main reason we use Wendy Perrin and the travel specialists. You get built-in access to locals and closer to the local culture and way of life. Fahad was fine with our eating and drinking in the car despite his fasting during Ramadan and even stopped at grocery stores for us to get mid-day snacks, allowing us to eat despite many restaurants being closed during the day. Our one regret is that we didn’t get to meet his family as we thought there wouldn’t be time before our departure. We were thrilled to see him one last time as he chose to handle our transfer from hotel to airport.

Our favorite experiences included my teen daughter thanking me after swimming with sea turtles on her first snorkeling experience, seeing camels and spending the night in the desert for the first time and off roading/hiking in Wadi Ghul and then experiencing same canyon from the top on Balcony Walk in Jebel Shams. Wadi Ghul was surreal driving through the gorgeous canyon, sometimes through remaining water from the winter rains, with date palm trees growing, abandoned stone buildings and towering canyon walls.

Our dinner with a local Omani family gave us a peek into their home life, such as seeing typical sibling interactions, eating on the floor and our teenagers engaging their 4-year-old boy in an amusing game of indoor soccer. We felt very fortunate to be able to share Iftar (fast-breaking evening meal of Muslims during Ramadan) while learning about Ramadan, Omani education, family sizes and new foods.

Also memorable was our crazy hard “Lost Village” hike in Jebel Ahkdar 600 meters down to an oasis in the canyon and 600 meters back up. Incredibly impressive was our hiking guide doing it while fasting!! We also enjoyed Al Hamra, one of Oman’s oldest towns now mostly abandoned except for the interesting heritage house Bait Al Safah.

Oman is a fascinating country. Huge variety of scenery, from lush date and coconut plantations on the coast to quite high mountains to deserts with lots of sand dunes. The history is interesting—the country has made huge strides in the past 60 years, from an underdeveloped 3rd world country in 1970 to a modern prosperous environment. Travelling is easy—roads are great, there are lots of hiking trails and camping facilities, Oman Air was on time, etc. The government has spent a lot of effort preserving old forts and castles (there are many of both). Our touring included many of these historical structures, hikes through old towns, visits to several mosques, 2 stays in the desert, a visit to a Bedouin household and stays in 3 of the most luxurious hotels we have ever seen (and some not so great but quite acceptable). This is a beautiful country, with long white sand beaches, that is just being discovered, mostly by travellers from Europe. I highly recommend it for people who have an interest in the history and culture, or just want to enjoy the warm weather and beaches.

Daniel Waters and crew did a great job of the arrangements in Oman, everything unfolded exactly as planned.

Amy Evers | November 4, 2023
Amy Avers and her husband having coffee and dates with Omani locals.

Amy Evers and her husband talking world politics with Omani locals over coffee and dates.

Our trip to Oman and Jordan October 14th- Nov. 1st, 2023, was extraordinary! Even with the slight unease regarding the war, while in Oman and Jordan, all was well and safe. There did seem to be some extra military presence in Amman but that didn’t interfere with our trip. We are very happy we did not cancel!

Out trip planner, Daniel, did a wonderful job talking through everything with us ahead of time. He was honest about his thoughts about things that are worth it and that aren’t. He was conscientious of our budget and recommended wonderful hotels and activities. He was open to suggestions I made too. There were a couple of things that I specifically requested to be added in that they don’t usually do. He looked into it and went ahead and added them in. The information provided during planning and prior to departure was useful. My only slight disappointment was that while in Oman, prior to going to Jordan, I reached out to Wild Frontiers, both to Daniel and Niraj, mostly for reassurance that things were still good on the ground in Jordan given the war in Israel and both of them were out of the office. I suppose I could have reached out to the ground operator but I didn’t have any previous relationship with them. Also, as it turned out, the information for the guide in Jordan given prior to departure had changed to someone else. In the end, we decided to go anyway and all was well. It just would have been nice if we had a contact within Wild Frontiers that wasn’t out while we were traveling. Other than that, all details were well organized and executed flawlessly. Our guide/driver in Oman was alright. Our driver and guide in Jordan were excellent.

Some of the highlights of our trip were:

Oman: Eating and drinking dates and Omani coffee with locals, dinner with a local family in Muscat, learning about the culture, talking with a local at the Grand Mosque to learn more about Islam, swimming and exploring Wadi Shaab and Wadi Bani Khalid, dune bashing in Wahiba Sands, the via ferrata course in Jebel Akhdar, biking down the mountains in Jabel Shams, the random barber shop experience for my husband to get his beard trimmed (hilarious and wonderful cultural experience), & the balcony hike in Jebel Shams.

Jordan: Petra during the day/night and the back door hike in, SCUBA diving the wreck in the Red Sea (not organized by Wild Frontiers), ‘soft’ canyoning in Wadi Al Mujib, floating in the Dead Sea (so unique and funny!), & discussions about current issues with our guide.

I feel very lucky to have experienced this trip, especially in today’s political climate. It is always good to learn more, have more awareness and to become better global citizens. Thank you!

A friend and I recently traveled to Jordan with assistance from Dan Waters, one of Wendy Perrin’s expert planners. We especially wanted to spend some time in Amman, have at least three days hiking throughout the country, visit Petra and Wadi Rum, and end up with a soak in the Dead Sea. Dan planned the perfect itinerary for April 2023.

As two women traveling alone, we always felt secure with our amazing driver, Monther, and our local guides in each location, but especially Abdulrahman in Petra, Madaba, and Dana. My favorite part was when we were off the beaten path, hiking Wadi Dana to the Feynan Ecolodge. We never would have known about this wonderful place if not for Dan.

At Petra, we were able to avoid the crowds and were treated to an outstanding hike led by both our English-speaking guide and a local Bedouin friend. We traversed the trails and canyons that the locals use to navigate the site without seeing any tourists. One day, we came to a spot that overlooked the Treasury and had it all to ourselves.

For the entire journey, the hotels were perfect, that activities just right for us, and best of all, the driver and guide worked hard to ensure we met locals all along the way. This is the part we will treasure the most, learning about the local customs and meeting friendly people. This is my fourth trip planned by Wendy’s roster of experts, and I’ll be looking to Dan Waters again when I visit Oman in 2025. Thanks so much.

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