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WINGS Birding Tours – Information


Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to Oman. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.

ENTERING OMAN: A valid passport and visa are required for US citizens traveling to Oman. Starting March 2018 Omani visas will be only available in advance online at Pricing for e-visas for a one month stay is now OMR20 ($52). Note: Date of entry into Oman must be within 1 month of visa approval, so do not apply for it too early!

Evidence of yellow fever immunization is required if the traveller enters from an infected area. For further information on entry requirements, contact the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman, 2535 Belmont Road N.W., Washington, D.C., telephone (202) 387-1980, 1981 or 1982.   You may prefer to use a visa service; we recommend C.I.B.T. Visa and Passport Service

LANGUAGE: The national language in Oman is Arabic but English is also quite widely spoken. We will be accompanied on our tour by an Arabic-speaking guide.

CLIMATE: It is generally warm-to-hot and dry in during the tour dates, although the south can be more humid. Temperatures range from lows of 16-20°C (63-68°F) early morning to daytime highs of 30-38°C (88-100°F). Rain is unlikely. Most days will be clear and sunny with occasional high clouds.

PACE OF TOUR:  The tour is not a strenuous one but in a number of places we will walk on stony desert, up rocky valleys or over soft sand and a fair amount of general walking is required in order to participate fully. There will be some early starts to take advantage of the cooler early mornings and on some days we will take breaks during the hotter part of the day. On several nights we will stay out after dark to look for owls and nightjars. Some clambering and climbing may be required to embark/disembark the boat for our pelagic.

HEALTH: Although parts of Oman fall just within a malaria zone, current information indicates that there will be virtually no risk at the time we are visiting. The Centers for Disease Control recommend up-to-date inoculations against hepatitis A, polio, tetanus/diphtheria, measles and typhoid. As some of these inoculations cannot be given concurrently, you should consult your doctor to obtain advice about when to start your treatment.

Biting insects are not a big problem, but can be a nuisance if we are birding wetland areas around dusk. Any standard insect repellent, preferably with a high percentage of diethyltoluamide (DEET), should provide adequate protection.

Tap water is generally safe to drink – even the smallest villages are supplied with drinking water from water trucks – although it is often heavily chlorinated and not always please to taste. Bottled drinking water is cheap, widely available and a supply will always be available in the tour vehicle. Upset stomachs might occur at some time during the tour and we suggest bringing some anti-diarrhoea medicine such as Imodium. Packets of Dioralyte are also worth bringing as they replace the vital salts and minerals lost during a bout of diarrhoea. The use of suntan/sunblock lotions and creams is recommended in any warm climate. Shade is not always available at some birding locations. Finally, make sure that you bring adequate supplies of all personal medication as it may be difficult or even impossible to obtain them during the tour.

Please note that any health/medical information contained herein is gleaned by WINGS from websites that are dedicated to traveler’s health issues. Advisories and recommendations by agencies such as the CDC can, and do, change frequently. We urge you to consult with your physician, local health department, or the CDC for the most up-to-date health advisories for travel to Oman. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s at CDC’s Internet site.

ACCOMMODATION: Throughout the tour we’ll be staying in reasonable to good quality hotels. All rooms will have private facilities including a bath or shower, and are generally of a high standard. The standard of accommodation may be slightly lower in the central desert, where the choice of hotels is limited.

Internet and Mobile Phone Access: Mobile phone use using an international mobile phone, and in particular mobile data use, can be very expensive in Oman (though some providers are now including Oman in their “rest of the world” bundle at a fixed rate per day – see your provider). We recommend tour participants turn off ‘data roaming’ before entering the country. WiFi is available in most, though not all, hotels but can be slow. For tour participants who need to keep in touch with home during the tour, we recommend purchasing an Omantel SIM on arrival at the airport at a cost of around $30.

FOOD: Breakfast typically consists of bread, humus, meats, fruit, juice, coffee and tea; cooked breakfasts are available at some hotels. Curries and other Middle Eastern/Asian/Turkish foods feature prominently during lunches and dinners. Curries are not particularly spicy in Oman – unless requested! We will eat picnics on some days, while lunch on other days will be taken in a restaurant or coffee shop. Dinner will be eaten in our hotel or in restaurants, often in the form of a buffet or table selection, including curries, rice, fish, chicken, kebabs and omelettes. Vegetarian options, such as humus, baba ghanoush, chickpea curry or dahl are widely available.

DRESS: Dress will be informal throughout the tour. Though not extreme, Oman has conservative dress traditions. Swimwear should be confined to the beach and hotel pools. Men as well as women, should try to keep shoulders and knees covered when in public, ladies’ sleeves should be to the elbow and no tight clothes, especially in markets, shops and villages. In the more remote places where we will be birding we can be more relaxed about this.

Our hotel at Salalah is only 100m from the sea where the warm water and breaking waves can provide a very refreshing break in the middle of the day!

TRANSPORT: The transport will be by minibus or small coach. We will rotate the seating each day. The half-day boat trip will be on a comfortable boat with a sun shade and life-jackets will be provided.

SMOKING: Smoking is not allowed in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, we ask that you do so well away and downwind from the group. If any lodge, accommodation, or location where the group is staying or is gathered has a more restrictive smoking policy than the WINGS policy, the more restrictive policy will prevail.

TIPPING: Routine tips for meals, porters, drivers, and other service providers are included. Gratuities for WINGS/Sunbird leaders are at your discretion.

GENERAL INFORMATION AND CONDITIONS OF WINGS TOURS: Please take a moment to read our About WINGS Tours which contains important information about how we conduct tours, e.g., what is included in the tour price, refund and cancellation policies, pace of the tours and other information that will help you prepare for the tour.

FINAL INFORMATION: Final information for the Oman tour with instructions for meeting the group, hotel addresses, etc., will be mailed about three weeks before trip departure. Other news will be communicated as necessary. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Updated: 10 January 2019