Sunday, July 21, 2024

Driving in Oman: what it is advisable know

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Let’s get straight to the purpose: if you happen to’re considering of visiting Oman we’d advocate hiring a automotive to totally immerse yourselves on this unbelievable nation. However what’s driving in Oman like? On this put up I’m sharing what it is advisable know primarily based on our expertise dwelling right here.

*This put up incorporates affiliate hyperlinks*

Photo of the view of Jabal Akhdar mountain through the full windscreen of our car. In the foreground you can see the dash board and steering wheel

Throughout our first six months in Oman we drove within the cities, on rural highways, within the Hajar Mountains and within the desert.

We accomplished a seven day street journey, drove from Muscat to Barr Al Hickman throughout salt flats and travelled Oman’s roads after tropical downpours and throughout the 50°C warmth waves.

Even in any case this I’d not name us specialists. We’ve travelled with buddies and guides when going off street and would advise different individuals to do the identical.

We even have a lot extra locations to see and issues to do in Oman. However if you happen to’re right here for every week or two this put up gives you perception into the principles of the street and what to anticipate.

Need assistance planning different facets of your journey?

Learn my Oman journey information.

Is driving in Oman simple? 

Once we moved to Oman we had been warned that driving right here could be difficult. As UK drivers there’s not simply the swap from the left aspect to the precise aspect of the street to contemplate.

Picture of the Old Town Gates of Muscat taken from the front seat of our car as we drive towards them
The Gates to the Previous Metropolis of Muscat

Till 40 years in the past there have been only a few roads in Oman, so they’re largely in good situation. However speedy growth of the street community means among the layouts are spaghetti-like, significantly junctions alongside the city highways.

Most street indicators are in Arabic and English so are simple to learn. However anticipate the spelling of place names to fluctuate between your map app/SAT NAV and indicators. 

Photo from front seat of car while towards road signs written in English and Arabic

Typically the identical place could be spelt in another way on indicators at a number of factors alongside the identical street.

For navigation now we have discovered Waze to be the perfect app. However you will want a value efficient information roaming bundle or a neighborhood SIM card. You may decide up a SIM from the Omantel kiosk simply after safety in Muscat Worldwide Airport.

When you want to be off grid, you’ll be able to obtain Google Maps however we’ve discovered even the stay model isn’t that up-to-date. 

High tip: Bear in mind that in automotive cell phone holders are unlawful, even if you’re utilizing your cellphone for navigation. You’ll want a superb navigator within the entrance passenger seat that will help you route discover.

Is driving in Oman protected?

There are strict street security guidelines in Oman and the variety of accidents on Oman’s roads has been reducing in response to authorities statistics

Nonetheless, 434 individuals had been killed in collisions right here in 2021 in comparison with 1,558 within the UK in the identical 12 months. The inhabitants of Oman is lower than seven p.c of the UK’s, so there’s clearly further danger to driving in Oman.

From our expertise driving right here daily, now we have discovered the Omani driving fashion could be erratic.

Anticipate different drivers to manoeuvre with out indicating. Automobiles will pull over on the aspect of the freeway after which rejoin the carriageway with out checking their mirrors.

Tailgating is widespread, as is endeavor and cell phone use whereas driving. All this stuff have been made unlawful lately however in follow they nonetheless occur.

One thing you’re extraordinarily unlikely to see is street rage. Omani’s solely honk their horns in excessive circumstances (it’s additionally unlawful to honk with out good purpose). So, preserve calm and preserve your wits about you.

Hiring a automotive in Oman

Until you’re a household on a sluggish journey journey you’re in all probability restricted for time. Because of this we advocate hiring a automotive if you’re visiting Oman with youngsters.

This gives you extra freedom and permit you to not be tied to timetables. You’ll additionally be capable to see extra of the nation and perhaps even expertise wild tenting.

Our car parked on the sand at Barr al Hickman next to our green and grey gazebo

You may rent autos of all sizes from Europcar, Enterprise, Greenback, Price range and Alamo at Muscat Worldwide Airport and Salalah Worldwide Airport.

To rent a automotive you’ll want your UK or residence nation drivers license, your passport, a bank card and your Oman Visa. 

A photo taken out the window of out car of the mountain road down towards Wadi Damm in the Hajar Mountains

In case you are headed to the mountains you will want a 4×4, even if you happen to don’t intend to go off street. The primary mountain roads are steep and windy, and there are police examine factors on the backside. They cease you to verify your car is match for the journey.

Rent automobiles gained’t essentially include sat nav, so ensure you have an alternate means to navigate whether or not that’s a paper map or a navigation app. However don’t overlook that cell phone holders are unlawful.

Examine automotive rent costs*

Are you able to drive in Oman with a UK license?

Sure. As a vacationer you’ll be able to drive in Oman for as much as three months in your UK license – that’s greater than sufficient for a seven or 10 day street journey. You don’t require an Worldwide driving license for Oman.

When you’re travelling from one other nation examine the necessities together with your International Workplace.

Velocity limits in Oman

Rushing is the principle reason for accidents in Oman so that you’ll discover plenty of mechanisms in place to discourage drivers from being too heavy with their proper foot.

All automobiles are fitted with an alarm that can beep at you if you happen to go over the utmost nationwide velocity restrict of 120 kmph. That is the restrict on main highways.

On city roads the restrict is often 50 kmph. 

There are a great deal of velocity cameras on the freeway and site visitors mild cameras on smaller roads.

Nonetheless, there’s solely minor penalties for dashing. Get caught and the effective is 20 OMR.

Site visitors lights

The site visitors mild sequence in Oman is barely totally different to the UK. When the lights are inexperienced they may flash inexperienced earlier than going to amber after which pink. Don’t be tempted to squeeze via on a flashing inexperienced mild. As they alter in a short time.

When stopped at site visitors lights the sequence will go from pink to amber to inexperienced as you may anticipate within the UK. Once more, don’t transfer off till the lights go inexperienced.

The timing of the site visitors lights may also fluctuate relying on the time of day and weight of site visitors.

On giant roundabouts you might even see the site visitors lights flashing amber. Which means the roundabout is just not being managed by the site visitors lights at the moment. These are typically roundabouts that get busy throughout rush hour.

Driving via a pink site visitors mild carries a penalty of as much as 500 OMR and as much as a 12 months in jail. There are cameras at virtually each set of site visitors lights.

Stealth velocity bumps

Velocity bumps are widespread on smaller roads they usually can creep up on you with out warning.

They will fluctuate in dimension and there are not often indicators to warn you about them. Typically the yellow stripes are fully warn away making them very exhausting to identify.

When you’re actually fortunate you may even come throughout double bumps.

So, preserve your eyes peeled.

Baby automotive seats in Oman

When you’re visiting Oman with youngsters underneath the age of 4 it’s a authorized requirement for them to have a automotive seat in non-public and employed automobiles in addition to taxis. 

In case you are hiring a automotive you’ll be able to examine with the rental firm whether or not they can provide a seat.

Nonetheless I’d strongly advise you to deliver your individual, particularly for youngsters over the age of 4. As these are usually not a authorized requirement in Oman they aren’t broadly accessible for older kids.

Airways will help you deliver a automotive seat per baby for no further cost. Purchase a automotive seat bag for some further safety. 

We will advocate the Roam and Rove automotive seat bag*. It has ruck sack fashion shoulder straps so you’ll be able to carry your seat arms free on the airport.

Going off street in Oman

Mr Tin Box letting air out of the rear tyre of our Pajaro 4x4 on the salt flats before Barr al Hickman

When you fancy an off street journey in Oman it’s greatest to organise these with a information or tour firm.

We booked a information to go off street throughout the salt marshes to camp on the white sands of Barr Al Hickman.

You possibly can end up in a dangerous state of affairs going off street and getting caught within the desert or mountains. You may also discover your automotive rent firm prohibits you from off roading.

Goats, camels and pedestrians

Goats laying and standing in-between two cars parked under a bridge at Wadi Shab in Oman

You’ll discover all of them on Oman’s roads – the camels and goats extra so outdoors the cities. The goats are an everyday characteristic at Wadi Shab.

In Muscat it’s widespread for pedestrians to cross roads in harmful locations, even six lane highways, fairly than stroll to the closest underpass or foot bridge. Be careful for them dodging between site visitors.

Parking

There’s plenty of free parking in Oman. You gained’t be charged at vacationer websites or within the buying malls. 

Parking in industrial areas like Muttrah Corniche is free on Fridays and Saturdays however not within the working week, so preserve an eye fixed out for indicators. You’ll must pay by cellphone.

Gas costs in Oman

Let’s finish on a constructive! Gas is less expensive in Oman than outdoors the Center East. 

On the time of scripting this information a litre of petrol was 0.229 OMR, which works out at about 46p per litre.

Gas costs don’t fluctuate between petrol stations so there’s no want to buy round.

This makes hiring a automotive in Oman a value efficient solution to see the nation.

Petrol stations are effectively signal posted and have pump attendants.

Closing ideas on driving in Oman

Mr Tin Box looking out the drivers side window at a camel laid down beside the road in Wahiba Desert

‘Defensive driving’ is a phrase typically used about driving in Oman. And I believe so long as you retain that in thoughts you’ll be effective.

The problem is value it for the liberty it offers you to discover a rustic that in any other case has fairly restricted public transport. The landscapes you’ll see alongside the best way are unbelievable.

For route inspiration check out our Oman street journey itinerary.

When you’d like to search out out extra about holidaying on this a part of the Center East try my Oman journey information. It contains recommendations on visiting with your loved ones, what to pack and locations to go to together with the perfect wadis in Oman and Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.

Disclosure: this put up incorporates affiliate hyperlinks marked with *. When you click on on one in every of these hyperlinks and make a purchase order I’ll earn some fee. This doesn’t have an effect on the worth you pay.

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