A Geology Field Trip to Oman
Saturday 15 – Thursday 27 January 2022 Alumni

Alumni Tour led by Professor Mike Searle & Professor Bruce Levell


A Geology Field Trip to Oman
Saturday 15 - Thursday 27 January 2022 Alumni Tour led by Professors Mike Searle & Bruce Levell Alumni

Oman is a fascinating country, its history and culture shaped in no small part by its geography. This is a rare opportunity for amateur geologists to explore the landscapes and geology of Oman, with visits to cultural sites included. You will discover this geological paradise including the world’s largest and best exposed ophiolite, eclogites, sheath folds, fantastic exposures of Mesozoic limestones and ancient Tethyan Oceanic seamounts, as well as its amazing deserts and beautiful coastline. It is suited to amateur geologists who want to learn about Oman and to apply their existing knowledge in the field.

Professor Mike Searle,Professor of Earth Science, the University of Oxford

Professor Mike Searle was brought up in Oman since age 15 when his father worked for the oil company PDO (Shell). He did fieldwork for his his PhD (1980) in Oman and has spent the last 30 years working almost every year on his own research projects with students and colleagues both in Oman and the United Arab Emirates. He has been at Oxford University since 1990 and is now Professor of Earth Science and a Senior Research fellow in Worcester college. He has published more than 220 papers, co-edited 5 books, written 2 books including 'Colliding Continents' (Oxford University Press) and appeared in 5 geological programmes for the BBC, Channel 5, History channel and others on the making of Everest and other Himalayan topics. He has also carried out feldwork along the Himalaya, Karakoram, Tibet, Burma, Vietnam, Jordan, Syria and teh Aegean islands, Greece."

Professor Bruce Levell visiting Professor at the University of Oxford

Professor Bruce Levell  first visited  Oman as a young field geologist in 1981 and has been fascinated by the country's geology ever since.  He was in charge of exploration in PDO, the national oil company on secondment from Shell, from 1997-2001  when he was involved in the discovery of several large oil and gas fields. Since retirement in 2013 he has returned to Oman  yearly  to undertake his own research in this fantastic geologic wonderland.

13 days from £4,995.00 per person
London - Muscat - Al Sawadi - Wadi Al Abyadh - Rustaq - Wadi Bani Kharus, Hajir & Mistal - Nizwa - Bahla & Wadi Nakhr - Saiq Plateau - Muscat - As Sifah - London
  • Traverse Jebel Akhdar, the highest peak in Eastern Arabia and witness the Mesozoic shelf carbonates
  • Drive to the rim of Oman’s Grand Canyon with its amazing views, spectacular hill villages, flowing streams and deep wadis
  • Drive through some remote parts of the Oman Mountains around Wadi Hawasina
  • Witness the world’s largest and best exposed sheath fold along Wadi Mayh gorge
  • Explore the magnificent coastline around Muscat, including the fjords of Bandar Jissah and the old souq at Muttrah

Contact a
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Itinerary View Map

Day 1: To Muscat

Saturday 15 January

Depart from London Heathrow onboard Oman Air flight WY102 at 20:05.

Day 2: Muscat

Sunday 16 January

On arriving in Muscat International Airport at 07:35 you will be met by your trip scholars and drive 40 minutes to the Crowne Plaza, Qurum. We will have time at leisure until the afternoon, you will meet your fellow travellers after lunch when you leave for an orientation tour in and around Muscat sightseeing and appreciating local geological features. B, D

Day 3: Muscat

Monday 17 January

Today will be an orientation tour in and around Muscat, sightseeing and appreciating local geological features. The Al Alam Palace, the ceremonial residence of Oman’s sultan, is an impressive sight in Muscat’s Old Town, and you will also drive the spectacular coastal road from Muscat to Bandar Jissah. We will also visit the Sultans Armed Forces museum in Ruwi, which has many interesting and historic displays of Oman’s history. The old souq on Muttrah Corniche is a lively place to end the day: the market remains open and busy until late at night. B, D

Day 4: To Al Sawadi

Tuesday 18 January

Leaving Muscat behind, we will drive first towards Fanjah and then take the new highway through the mountains to Awabi. This road traverses across the Moho, the boundary between the oceanic crust and the mantle, a unique locality and one of special geological significance. We will reach Sawadi Beach around late afternoon and will check in at Millennium Resort for two nights. B, D

Day 5: Wadi Al Abyadh

Wednesday 19 January

Today’s focus is Wadi Al Abyadh, a particularly scenic valley a short drive from Al Sawadi. The name means “white wadi” and has a notable profile through the Oman Ophiolite sequence. The natural gravel surface makes for an easy walk between the pools, and the date palms offer shade.

Wadi Al Abyadh is important because of the significant and clearly visible presence of ophiolite rocks. Ophiolites have the potential to sequester huge amounts of CO2, and thus scientists are currently researching whether that natural process can be enhanced to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels. B, D

Day 6: To Rustaq

Thursday 20 January

Your journey today includes three important locations: Al Khaburah, Wadi Hawasina, and Rustaq.

Al Khaburah is a coastal city overlooking the Arabian Sea. We will pass through here briefly en route to Wadi Hawasina, where incredible fold-nappe structures are exposed beneath the ophiolite. There is an opportunity to do a short trek along a deep wadi to the historic ‘Lees’ chain’ across the boulders to reach a waterfall (named from G.M. Lees the first geologist who traversed the Oman Mountains in 1928); but even if you choose to stay still, there’s plenty to see and study.

We will reach Rustaq in the afternoon and check in at Hotel Al Shomokh for two nights. The city is surrounded by the Al Hajir Mountains, and the town is famous for its date plantations, a huge restored old castle and fortress, an old souq (market), and a hot spring. B, D

Day 7: Wadi Bani Kharus, Wadi Hajir, and Wadi Mistal

Friday 21 January

Today we will have three separate wadis to explore and study. For clarity, wadi is an Arabic word referring to a dry river valley, apart from in the rainy season when they can flood.

Wadi Bani Kharus is arguably the most beautiful of the three sites, and the recent construction of a road along the narrow gorge has finally made it accessible. There is a small fortress at the entrance, and the valley is famed for its geological interest, notably important outcrops for Proterozoic-Cambrian glacial tillite and rocks related to the Snowball Earth hypothesis.

We will return to Rustaq in the evening in time for dinner. B, D

Day 8: To Nizwa

Saturday 22 January

Today’s programme begins with a visit to Wadi Sahtan, accessed along a steep and winding road suitable only for 4x4s. The views on the drive are spectacular with excellent outcrops of the Mesozoic shelf carbonates, and some prehistoric rock art etched onto some of the boulders.

We will make a short stop at Bilad Sait, one of the most iconic mountain villages in Oman, set above terraced fields of green barley, with a spectacular backdrop of the 2000 meter high cliffs of Jebel Shams behind. We will drive across Jebel Akhdar— the Green mountain along an incredible switch-back dirt road, and then descend to Nizwa, the ancient capital of Oman, where we will spend two nights in the Golden Tulip. B, D

Day 9: Bahla and Wadi Nakhr

Sunday 23 January

Visit the Bahla Fort and old souq, a UNESCO World Heritage Site centred around a 13th century fortress, now wholly renovated in local style. The fort was built to guard an oasis on the lucrative frankincense trade route. A local guide will explain the site’s history, and we will also have some time to wander through Bahla’s old souq, lined with historic mud brick buildings with its narrow streets and shops selling everything including sweet halwa, silver coffee pots, camel saddles, dates and frankincense.

From Bahla we will head into the Jebel Shams Mountains to Wadi Nakhr, Oman’s own Grand Canyon. The drive up to the canyon rim at 2600 meters is arguably the most spectacular road in Arabia with incredible views along the Oman Mountains and down into the great canyon. There are small hill villages on the way where locals sell Omani sheep and goat skin rugs.

We will return to Golden Tulip Hotel in Nizwa for a second night. B, D

Day 10: Saiq Plateau - Jebel Akhdar

Monday 24 January

Today’s primary attraction is Wadi Muaydeen, considered to be one of the most important geological sites in Oman, where geologists first worked out the entire Mesozoic stratigraphy of the shelf carbonates, that eventually led to the discovery of oil.

The journey continues across the Saiq Plateau at about 2000 meters elevation. This is one of the most fertile parts of Oman thanks to its altitude and microclimate suitable for growing cherries, grapes, peaches and pomegranates. The village of Al Ayn has ingenious ancient waterway (falaj) system for irrigating the fields, and it’s also well known for its rose water production.

We will stay for two nights at Anantara Jebel Akhdar. B, D

Day 11: Jebel Aklhdar

Tuesday 25 January

Day at leisure to enjoy the luxury of Anantara Jebel Akhdar. B, D

Day 12: To Muscat

Wednesday 26 January

Today we will drive back to Muscat, breaking the journey at Birkat al Mawz, a village on the southern rim of Jebel Akhdar at the mouth of Wadi Muaydeen; and again at the Semail Gap, where amazing views of the 2500 meter high limestone cliffs of Jebel Nakhl to the west and the jagged black mountains of the ophiolite to the east.

Arriving in Muscat we will stay overnight at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. B, D

Day 13: To London

Thursday 27 January

We will depart from Muscat onboard Oman Air WY101 at 14:00 and fly directly to London Heathrow airport. B

Itinerary map

Dates & Prices

Dates Price per person (Double/Twin share) Single room supplement
15-27 Jan 2022 £4,995.00 £1,420.00
Cost includes:
  • International flights on scheduled Oman Airways in economy class inclusive all taxes.
  • Accommodation with private facilities as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Meal Plan: Half Board meals throughout.
  • All transfers and sightseeing arrangements by private coach/vehicles as per itinerary.
  • Entry fee to museums and places of interest.
  • Services of a local English speaking guide.
  • Services of Prof. Mike Searle and and Mr Bruce Levell as trip scholars.
  • Tips & gratuities for guides, drivers and hotel staff.
  • Full ATOL and ABTA bonding.
Cost does not include:
  • Tourist Visa fee for Oman.
  • Camera/video entrance fees if applicable.
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.
  • Travel Insurance*

Sightseeing arrangements, visits to geological sites may vary according to local circumstances at each place on a day to day basis. Trip scholars may decide to alter the programme where they feel it is necessary.

Places are limited to 8 on first-come-first-served basis.

We aim to be as flexible as possible for new bookings  and have reduced holiday deposits to £250 per person until further notice, and made it possible to request a refund or postpone travel plans at no extra cost, in the event that a trip can’t go ahead due to Foreign Office advice or overseas government restrictions. All tour payments to Indus Experiences are 100% protected by our ATOL and ABTA Licences.

*Travel Insurance

It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.

• Make sure it includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
• Make sure it provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
• Make sure it covers you for all activities.
• Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
• Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.

If you have any doubts about your cover, check with your insurer. Please note Covid-19 cover is now available.
For a competitive quotation please visit https://www.indusexperiences.co.uk/insurance/

020 8901 7320

What our clients say

We arrived home yesterday after an amazing trip. Certainly not a restful holiday, but a very memorable experience. I am just writing to say how impressed we were with all the travel arrangements. At every stage, your local representatives were FAULTLESS. We were given every assistance, wherever we were, from the moment we arrived to the second we left. Your guides were extremely knowledgeable and…

Mr & Mrs Rubens - India Holiday