MUSCAT, Oman - Oman has come to be known as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Gulf and Middle East thanks to the country's strategic location and its unspoilt natural beauty with its scenic landscape.
On offer are towering, craggy mountains, aquamarine sea that abounds with aquatic flora and fauna, vast stretches of clean beaches, the golden sands of the desert and hundreds of cool, green wadis.
Adding to the beauty of the place are the people of Oman, known for their hospitality, charm and gentleness.
Rashid arrived in Oman from Algeria on April 6 with his wife, Nasima, and son Kamel. It's their first visit to the Sultanate.
Like all other tourists, Rashid is delighted. âIt's a great country and the people here are so nice, warm and hospitable. I visited Muscat, Muttrah, Sur and Bidiyah. The landscape is amazing with beautiful buildings and traditional souqs where you can get traditional handicrafts. The beaches are clean and good for camping,â he says.
He liked the desert, the fish souq, the traditional souq in Muttrah, the mountains and wadis. For him, the capital city of Oman is the best capital city he has seen all his life.
Nasima, too, is thrilled. On the â1,000 nights camps', she said it was her first experience of camping in the desert.
âI like the 1,000 nights camps and Oman's natural environment is beautiful. It has many places of tourist attraction â old forts, castles and buildings that give you an insight into the country's history and heritage,â she said.
âI like this country. It's a unique country and the people here are good, almost all of them are so friendly.â
According to Nasima, Oman has one of the most diverse environments in the Middle East and is well known for cultural tourism.
Mathieu, who arrived in the Sultanate recently with his wife and paternal aunt from France, said he liked the environment. âI have been to Ras Al Hadd, Ras Al Jinz and â1,000 nights camps' in the middle of the desert in Bidiyah. The 1,000 nights camps is one of the luxury places I have been staying, Oman has a unique and a beautiful landscape around the world; it has a very high mountains, with clean and beautiful beaches. I am going to stay in the Sultanate for 10 days, he said.
Richard from Germany, who has been working in Oman since 2008 said: âOman is one of the most beautiful country in the world and the 1000 nights camps is a unique place to stay for one to two days. I have visited this camp around six to seven times. Oman has some extraordinary tourist spots. I have visited a number of these amazing places. I have seen the Hatta mountain in Al Ain, near Nizwa, Jabel Shams, Coastland area, all the wadis between Sur and Muscat, especially Wadi Bani Awf, which lies on top of the mountain at the end of Wadi Mastelâ.
He said, the wadi is for those who love excitement, adventure and winding mountain roads, a lot of challenge in the suspended road in Batinah region. In Wadi Bani Awf also there is a beautiful track to cross the mountain to Al Hamra he added.
Robian from Scotland, (60) said, the people of Oman are friendly. Several new features have added to the beauty of the Sultanate, places like the Royal Opera House, Muscat, new hotels, better road, lots of gardens, parks and greenery.
He said the government needs to do more to protect the environment by placing baskets for garbage, plastic and coins. Recycling in the Sultanate will be a great thing for the country. It also encourages people to protect their environment for the future and for the sake of their children.
He said the country needs to provide spaces for teenagers to practice activities such as football, basketball, bicycling, running and to do a lot of things. There is a need for more public places where Omani children can freely mix and mingle with expatriate children to exchange ideas and experiencesâ.