The story is from traveling from Muscat to Nizwa to visit famous goat market. It took place in October 2016 with a Hungarian girl – Lya, I met on internet 2 years before the trip to Oman.
How to get from Muscat to Nizwa
I flew to Budapest to meet her and take another plane to Dubai. 😉 Thanks Lya, it was fun to be there with you! 😉
This country is very diverse. The capital of Oman – Muscat was really noisy, crowded and empty of friendly people. We were a little confused after getting of from the bus in the middle of that noisy town. In the bus we met a funny old lady from New Zealand. She was so full of energy that we could not believe she is almost 80!!! She told us that she booked quite cheap hotel near the station so we asked if we can join her on the way to the hotel. It was 80 euro per night so definitely over our budget. Imagine the hotel receptionist did not even let us use the wifi to search for another hostel. Finally we stayed at Mutrah hotel – really nice (one of the cheapest in Muscat – still 40 euros!!!) So during those two days in Muscat the taxi drivers tried to cheat on us, the guy on the bus stop wanted to sell us his phone – cheap, shitty, fake iPhone and the bus driver refused to give us a change! WTF! We definitely wanted to leave Muscat as soon as possible and hit Nizwa.
The country outside cities is my type, nothing is prepared for tourist, no convenient solutions. Yup, but thanks to that, there are almost non of them. But after leaving Muscat we finally found those amazing Omani people, who I’ve been reading about before. We took a bus from Muscat to Nizwa (It was from Ruwi bus station). They asked us several times to which Nizwa, but we said – just Nizwa. The country is made of sand. Dark sand are the mountains, red sand is a desert. And in the middle of nowhere are located towns built from bright sand shaped in Arabic architecture. We did not book any hostels hoping we simply gonna find one. Wrong! Expensive hotels and no backpackers guesthouses. In the middle of nowhere the bus driver starts talking on the phone and after a minute comes to me and gives me the mobile. So I say hello and the voice responds: Your trip finish! And they left us with our luggage in the middle of the fast road. It was almost dark and we were sure that there was absolutely no hostel in that area. Some people observed us from the moment we got of from the bus. But we felt safe. We started walking toward some people asking where can we find any hostel.
Amazing Omani people.
They say there’s one 7 km away. It’s getting nervous. Finally we meet a man and start asking him about any information about guesthouses as he speaks English quite well. After few moments he says that his wife gonna take us to the nearest hotel so we can ask the price. We are a little confused but I feel they are really nice and friendly. The guy says: there’s nothing to worry, it’s just my wife and her sister. So we get in. The girls also speak fluent English. They came from Tunisia many years ago and they are doctors. The hotel is really expensive so they offer to take us to another one and if we don’t like it we can stay in their house for one night. It’s really unbelievable 😉 the other hotel is also expensive but they offer to take us to a guesthouse. We drive almost one hour, it’s already completely dark outside. Suddenly the policeman on a motorcycle stops us. We can’t believe this is happening. He talks a lot with the girls. Then asks for our passports. I need to take it from the main luggage which he doesn’t like. They talk so much that I have no idea what can take so long! Finally we can go, after a minute the girls start laughing because the policeman thought that they are smuggling us from Dubai. 😉 The girls ask us if it’s possible to go shopping to the nearest mall. Well of course, we don’t have much choice 😉 Although we are a little hungry. On the way back I notice a guesthouse and finally we decide to stay (it’s only 50 euros! the cheapest in Nizwa!). We give chocolates to the girls for being incredibly nice and patient. One of them gives me her phone number and says to call them in any case. WOW.
What to see in Nizwa. Goat market is a must!
We start discovering Nizwa from early morning. Our goal is to be on Animal market around 7 o’clock. The Goat Market is a very old traditional local custom. Starts early morning. Located in the middle of the city, near the huge Fort. It’s only on Fridays so we are lucky. The Souk – market is incredible. Hundreds of cars in front of the Souk gate. There are fishes, fruits, earthenware, animals and the goat market. The local farmers gather early in the morning to sell the goats. People stand in a circle and farmers go around leading their animals. The noisy auctions start and you cannot stop staring at them. Buyers are shouting out the price, touching the goats on the back and perineum. After we are visiting the 17th century Nizwa Fort, which is one of the oldest in Oman. The panoramic view from the Nizwa Fort is incredible.
We really wanted reach the desert the next day. But guess what – there’s only one bus from Nizwa – in direction to Muscat! So it’s not possible to take any public transport from Nizwa, unless you want to get back to Muscat. The cheapest trip to the desert costs 300 euro, which is out of question for me. We desperately tried to ask in different hotels but the price was same. Finally our reception guy said that his friend driver will take us for 150 euro. And having no choice we agreed, booking the cheapest camp in the desert – Al Raha Camp. The price is high because you need to drive 200 km from Nizwa to reach the desert and you absolutely need 4×4 car. Said – the driver seemed really nice. We got in the brand new white Toyota. After few hours we were there on a red sand, among camels, hoping for an amazing night under a sky full of stars. Read about amazing Wahiba desert.