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We bring you a short guide about planning a hike in Oman for beginners and some of the things to keep in mind during the process. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH When getting ready for a solo walk, you should start by learning about the trail. Do not omit this part! Every route is unique, and even on a well-traveled trail, conditions might change, so it's important to know what to anticipate so that you can be well prepared. Here are some queries to consider: How far does the trail extend? Is it frequently used? Is the trail well-traveled? What kind of terrain should you anticipate? Is it in the sun's path? Is water available there? Are there any dangerous flora, fauna, or insects to be on the lookout for? Have you seen any animals lately? Where do you want to park? Parking– is it far away or dark? Will a 4WD car be necessary? This is not a comprehensive list of questions, but in order to be ready for a particular trail, you must know how to effectively prepare for it. A 10-kilometer hike would certainly require different gear than a 2-kilometer hike, so plan accordingly. For the green mountains, you might pack differently than you would for the desert. Research is the only way to get ready. You can call the management organisations in advance for the most recent information on issues like trail closures or speak with a guide about organising a walk. HOW TO DETERMINE WHETHER A HIKING TRAIL IS SUITABLE FOR YOU Make sure the hike is within your range of expertise and ability by conducting trail research. As you walk more and develop your skills, your comfort zone grows. Learning skills alongside others is the best way to acquire them. For instance, you might want to postpone your first solo hiking trip until after you've participated in a few group outings. Alternatively, you might want to wait until you can go on a longer walk with others. You alone can determine whether pushing yourself out of your comfort zone on a specific solitary walk is something you can handle. Remember that when you're out there, you'll be independent, therefore you might not be able to count on others for assistance in the event of an accident or emergency. If we can avoid putting ourselves in a less than ideal circumstance, that will help us have a safe and happy day. Hiking alone may be both empowering and challenging. A little challenge can be a lot of fun if you approach it prepared with trail knowledge, the right abilities, and decision-making that keeps safety in mind. DOWNLOAD OR BRING A MAP. You may download trail maps for use both online and offline using a variety of phone apps. Electronic maps are useful, but it's crucial not to rely too much on your phone because everything you need would become abruptly unavailable if it were to break, get misplaced, or run out of battery. For this reason, we also advise printing off a paper copy of a map, particularly if you're travelling to a remote or inaccessible location. Do you understand how to read a map and use a compass? It's okay if you don't know; it just means that you need to conduct some research. Tools like compasses and maps are only useful if you know how to use them. The hiking community has a wealth of excellent resources, including neighbourhood outfitters, trail associations, clubs, and affinity organisations. On the trail, paper maps are also more practical for a number of reasons, including the ability to make plainly visible notes, the ability to triangulate your location using a compass, and the fact that you are not dependent on battery life, data, or screen brightness to utilise them. You can get where you're going safely and on the schedule you set for yourself if you know where you are and can navigate your way there efficiently. INSPECT THE WEATHER While you have no control over the weather, we do have some influence on where and when we go adventuring. When ascending a peak or entering higher elevations, it's very important to check the weather forecast and be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. Regardless of the prediction, mountains are known for their rapid weather changes. You should pack the right gear and be aware of the risks based on the weather and anticipated trail conditions, according to the forecast. Keep in mind that you might want to cancel the walk if the weather seems terrible. You should make sure your shoes have appropriate traction, pack trekking poles, and keep an eye out for slippery sections depending on the quantity of rain and the type of hiking terrain. Not everyone can tolerate heat or the light in the same way for a desert hike. A hat, sunglasses, lots of water and a plan to start your journey early enough so heat won't be an issue are all essential items to bring on a trip without any shade. Some of our team enjoy taking their sun umbrellas on hikes. ELEVATED TEMPERATURES? Hiking in hot weather can result in dehydration, heat exhaustion, or even heat stroke. Start your trip early enough to avoid the warmest temperatures, carry electrolytes, wear a hat or visor, sunglasses, bring extra water, and drink plenty of it. You should also start your hike early enough to avoid the hottest temperatures. In the summer, it is frequently advised to bring at least 3 litres of water per person when hiking in the desert. Since this is not a complete list of requirements, it is very important to do your homework on the trail you intend to take. No matter what the weather forecast, make sure to pack an extra layer (or two, depending on the time of year) to keep warm. Since it is can get windy and cold at in some areas year-round, we advise bringing an extra jacket. For precisely that reason, most of our team always carries a packable jacket in their bag. MAKE A PLAN AND TELL SOMEONE ABOUT IT. Making a plan in advance is always a good idea, but it's more important when hiking alone. Planning your solo journey doesn't have to be difficult, but doing so can help you incorporate your research on the trail, maps, and weather, as well as better understand what to do in the event that your plans need to be altered for whatever reason. Basic questions regarding your vacation might help you plan by getting some answers down. What path are you travelling? What distance are you covering? When do you plan to show up and leave? If you had the opportunity, will you continue your exploration? What do you need to be aware of or carry with you in the circumstances predicted for the path, and what will you do if the weather changes? These are the kinds of inquiries you'll also want someone back home to know the answers to if you're hiking alone in case of an emergency. Regardless of how well we plan, accidents can happen to anyone at any time. Even a fast text is better than nothing when it comes to sharing your basic plans with someone, so they will at least know where to seek if there is an emergency and you are unable to call for assistance. It can be as straightforward as saying, "I'm going to this waadi via so and so route and I plan to summit by noon and be back by 6." Even while it occasionally seems like overkill, it has already saved lives, and it is better to be safe than sorry. In addition, telling others about your exciting solo travel intentions can motivate them! 5) CONFIRM THE AVAILABILITY OF CELL SERVICE AND/OR BRING A GPS DEVICE Finding out if your cell phone will function on the hiking trail is essential. The majority of carriers have a service map that shows the various levels of service they offer in a certain location. It's better to prepare for no service if the region you're hiking in is on the border between service and no service because on-the-ground service might fluctuate from step to step, especially in canyons. We strongly advise getting a GPS device or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) for emergencies if you won't have service or will be in a poor coverage region. As a precaution, we also advise bringing a battery backup for your phone because losing service shortens battery life. Going hiking with a experienced guide for our Bike and Hike Oman team can reduce the chances of you requiring such equipment. 6) STORE THE ESSENTIALS The majority of what you take will depend on your hiking itinerary. You probably won't need to pack the same equipment for a solitary walk around your neighbourhood as you would for a 12-kilometer excursion across a dry wadi. However, day hikers are more likely to experience difficulties managing emergencies or survival situations and ultimately require rescue. Day hikers typically only anticipate being out for a few hours, so they may become comfortable in the planning stage or believe that because it's a short trip or one they are acquainted with, they won't need to spend much time thinking on it. Since we've been hiking for so long, we've grown familiar with the Ten Essentials, a list of things you should always pack on a walk, regardless of its length or mileage. To be ready for the unexpected, they bring everything from food and drink to basic survival and first aid supplies. The following list of the Ten Essentials has been modified to include items that we personally suggest taking with you on every walk. Your survival equipment and essentials may change if you intend to go on more lone backcountry walks or solo backpacking trips. We advise enrolling in a wilderness survival and first aid course as well. ESSENTIALS FOR A DAY HIKE: Water and electrolytes—to prevent dehydration and keep you sweating. Make sure to blend salty and sweet foods in your snacks to energise your body. Phone/Map: Always be aware of your whereabouts; keep a battery backup on hand in case of emergencies. First Aid Kit—ideally one that is substantial enough to allow you to self-evacuate and fix minor injuries. Regardless of what you bring, you should be able to use it! Flashlight or headlamp—in case it gets dark outside, you need to see a wound better, or you need to signal for help. In addition, having a headlamp allowed us to explore some fascinating caves while out hiking. For weather changes and in case you get caught out there over night, add more layers—a windcheater and an insulating layer. A multitool is a survival tool that frequently consists of numerous components. Ones including a knife, saw, screwdriver, and tweezers are a favourite. The knife can be used to cut clothing or rope for first aid supplies, branches and plants to create a shelter, and wood to form into fire-making equipment. The tweezers can assist in removing splinters, thorns, and insect stingers, while the saw can cut through thicker branches and more substantial objects. Repairing gear is made easier as well. Lighter: Give yourself quick access to warmth and a signal fire in case of emergency since it's quite difficult to start a fire with simply sticks or flint. A signal mirror (visible signal), a whistle (audible signal), an emergency blanket, water purification (tablets or filter), paracord, and a sewing kit are among the emergency supplies that can be kept with you. Sun protection can help you avoid sunburns and eye and skin damage by using sunscreen, SPF chapstick, and hats or visors. BE AWARE AND TRUST YOUR INSTINCT. If you're not paying attention, how are you going to see that hawk or the snake curled up in the path? We may recognise the beauty of our environment as well as any possible problems from both humans and animals by being anchored in our senses. Being aware provides you the chance to either completely escape the issue or begin figuring out how to cope with it. Utilising your awareness entails being aware of what is going on around you, which serves as one of your primary lines of defence for outdoor personal protection. Look about you, including the trail itself. In a wilderness survival class, one of the best bits of advice has been to "look up, look down, and look around." To hear your surroundings better when hiking, remove your headphones or only wear one. It's time to pay closer attention and get ready to take action if necessary if you observe something or someone that seems strange or something just doesn't sit right with you. Our intuition was created specifically to keep us safe from harm. All animals have intuition, but humans are the only ones that ignore it; it is a natural talent that we are all born with. We frequently believe that we are smarter than others or that we are not feeling something. If something or someone feels strange, it could be! Together, intuition and awareness can save your life. Your hair standing on end, a cold that is unrelated to the outside temperature, and that feeling in the pit of your stomach are all signs of intuition. They're signalling that it's time to focus! If you have a strange feeling about a section of the route or someone you come into contact with while hiking, there is no guilt in turning around. Keep in mind that your safety is the most crucial factor. Whether you're aware of it or not, your intuition is reacting to something and will try to guide you in a safer direction. The trail is always accessible, and you can return at a later time. Honour your body's natural survival mechanism by paying attention to your intuition! 8) Enrol in a self-defence course to prepare for encounters with wild animals and people. Power is in being prepared. We always hope that we won't need to utilise the safety techniques we learn. On a path or in life, we never plan to come across a dangerous animal or person, but we also don't want to act as though they never do. With the help of education, we can be ready for that possibility without being paralysed by dread. You can feel more assured in your abilities to control your safety and protect yourself in a range of scenarios by learning some basic skills. WILDLIFE ACTIVITIES Most animals won't purposely try to hurt you, and interactions are frequently unintentional. The animal is guarding its young, its food, its territory, or itself. Doing your research includes learning what creatures you can expect on the walk you've selected. Most experts recommend staying on trails, keeping your distance, making plenty of noise, making yourself look huge, standing your ground/not fleeing, or gradually backing away to prevent an encounter with animals on the trail. Depending on what kind of animal is charging or attacking, you need to react accordingly. PEOPLE ENCOUNTERS A self-defence course is a great way to get ready for confrontations with dangerous individuals. You can learn a variety of linguistic and physical abilities in a session that you can use both on and off the path. The cornerstones of self-defence are being aware of your surroundings and paying attention to your instincts; they'll help you stay out of many potentially harmful situations. Know that you have options if you find yourself in a position where you might need to protect yourself physically. Know that you are worth fighting for and there are several ways you can defend yourself physically. CONCLUSION I hope I've been able to add knowledge and tactics to your toolbox so you feel more assured in your capacity to have pleasure in solitary hiking. Get out there and explore the vast world we live in! Are you looking for advice on going it alone or hiking alone? A look at our forthcoming stories
The 2023 edition of the Tour of Oman has been announced and will take place next year at the beginning of February starting at the Al Sawadi Beach in Oman. The race is slowly gaining recognition despite its short history, as it has been operating for little more than a decade, compared to its more storied counterparts. However even in the short duration that it has been running, the Tour of Oman has managed to attract the top teams and cyclists from across the world, becoming key to the start of the racing season. As early as its fourth season in 2013 it seemed to be setting the pace for the rest of the season, with the winner of the Tour of Oman 2013, Chris Froome (Team Sky), winning the Tour de France later that year. While the Tour of Oman has not taken place in the last two years, in 2022 it was back with a bang after two seasons off the calendar. It started on February 10th, 2022 with seven WorldTour teams among the start list for its 11th edition. Former world champions Mark Cavendish (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) and Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) were some of the headline names at the race, which follows the route of the cancelled 2020 race and was brought together by organisers Amaury Sport Organisation and the Omani Cycling Federation. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) was the best on the high-speed finish to the line at Muttrah Corniche to win the sixth and final stage of the 2022 Tour of Oman. Australian cyclist Kaden Groves (BikeExchange-Jayco), and Belgian rider Amaury Capiot (Arkéa-Samsic) came in second, and third, respectively. Breaking his six year hiatus after winning the 2016 Tour of Austria 31 year old Czech cyclist Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux ) secured the GC title, having resisted his rivals’ attempts to get ahead and retaining his dominance of the field after having taken the red leader's jersey after his stage 5 win up Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain). The Colombian ’Misil’ also won the opening stage, and furthermore took the points classification. Fausto Masnada (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) came in at second position overall, with Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) coming in at third overall. The results of the 2022 Tour of Oman did much to stir excitement in the cycling world and we are excited to see what happens in 2023. The varied and rich terrain of the Sultanate of Oman offers glimmering opportunities for all-rounders, climbers and even sprinters to mount the podium, revving up their engines for the season ahead. The race is slowly gaining momentum and catching the interest of not only the professional cycling circuit but also the people of Oman, who come out to cheer these indomitable men as they speed along our coast and struggle up our mountains. The 2023 Tour of Oman is yet another exciting event to look forward to. Are you going to come cheer the riders or just watch from home as these experts take to the road of Oman.
Oman is not often thought of as a cycling destination, but cycling in Oman is becoming quite popular these days. Each weekend many cycling enthusiasts in Oman take to the road and head out to experience the land by cycle. If you find cycling indoors boring or if main roads are not your thing, then venture to the hilly regions Jebel Akhdhar or Jebel Shams where you can explore the mountains on either a road or mountain cycle. While discussing options for cycling routes, Oman is a haven for cyclists with a plethora of different landscapes, and though some of the remote areas may be sparsely populated you will meet people in even the most remote areas who will probably ask if you need help. The country is fairly safe anywhere you decide to. However, cycling is not just about getting fitter and healthier, but knowing that it is so much more fun to explore a city or a new cycling route with a group of like-minded people. We can help you find the best routes and other essentials for a perfect cycling trip to Oman. Oman is an excellent place for cycling through a large part of the year. Although summers are super hot in Oman making it a no go time for most cyclists, the colder months from November to May, have ideal temperatures for cycling throughout Oman and are much less tiring than summer months. A major point to keep in mind while cycling in Oman is that you should always stay hydrated as the arid atmosphere can creep up on you before you know it. You should consider carrying a hydration pack along with you and sipping water through your entire journey to prevent dehydration and heat strokes. Apart from that we would suggest that you should try to go cycling with a group of people. This way, you can minimise the chances of your getting lost in Oman's vast uninhabited stretches, and have fun with like-minded people at the same time. Ofcouse for this you may have to put in some effort to learn group riding etiquettes to maintain the right equation with your other groupmates. On the other hand if you do at some point decide to venture cycling through Oman solo, do inform your friends or family members before leaving for the trip and let them know your expected time of return. So, in case something goes wrong on your trip you can easily be located. For long-distance trips, we suggest that you select a cycle with more features than that of basic bicycles, as you never know where you could land up passing through. Also do get cycling gloves and a helmet as gloves provide you with a better grip and can prevent your hands from blistering or gaining any other injuries while cycling and as we all know helmets are important to prevent accidents and should be used even for recreational rides. When you look at cycling as an activity is not just a form of exercise but also a great way to make friends. In Oman, the recent popularity of Cycling Organisations provides tourists with an opportunity to enjoy Oman along with the locals. However, with a little bit of effort applied to planning, there are plenty of ways to safely explore Oman by cycling though it solo. So if you are planning to venture through the countryside of Oman by cycle just be cautious, prepare and have fun on your cycling trip. After your first few rides if you find yourself hooked on cycling in Oman, there are some events and races you can enter and you don’t have to be an experienced pro cyclist to join and enjoy them. While planning a cycling holiday, decide on the type of vacation you want to book for there are a huge variety of cycling holiday options available in Oman and part of the challenge is just narrowing it down to your favourites. While certain trips will include riding your bike as just part of a number of active adventures, such as hiking or snorkelling, while others may see you cycling almost every day, covering greater distances. From a day outings with a leisurely ride through the city to a week long tour riding through the sparsely inhabited countryside, there is a cycling tour to suit every taste but you need to decide how intense a trip you want to plan and how much time you wish to spend on two wheels, and plan ahead from there. The next thing to do while planning a cycling tour in Oman is to choose whether it’s roads or mountains you’re after. Road cycling is for good reason the most popular two-wheeled challenge opted for and is also the one that offers the largest variety of options for everyone from beginners to those looking to test their limits. You can race up the steep, smooth tarmac of the Omani main roads, or bump along the lanes in the offroad rural tracks of the hinterlands. If you are on the search for adventure and have got the stamina, a mountain biking holiday may be for you, particularly because there is a special thrill in freewheeling down the mountain, an adrenaline rush that can’t be matched by road cycling. If you are a novice or just looking for something not very strenuous then hit one of the many bike hubs around Muscat where folks can rent bikes to tour the city. A good place to explore via bike is the Muttrah Corniche area, where the famed Muttrah Souq lies. On the other hand, if you’re up to something a little more daring, then there are a host of cycling routes starting in Muscat for all types of adventure. One of the more picturesque and wildly popular cycling routes involves starting somewhere on the Muscat coastal road and heading all the way up to Sur, with the shimmering waters of the Arabian Gulf on one side, and the vast Eastern Hajar Mountains on the other. Apart from that there are routes that run from Nizwa-Wadi Bani Awf to Rustaq, or the mountainous rides up to Jabal Shams. There's a variety of terrains available for cycling enthusiasts in Oman that can be explored either with a group or solo throughout the year. Finally, know your limits for while it may be good to push yourself, but your legs will thank you if you stick to something that is within your current physical limits as it’s a holiday, after all. Remember to check out the terrain as different places have different terrain. This can have a major impact on your overall experience as advanced cyclists may be searching for somewhere with challenging mountain rides with steep climbs and fast descents. For a cycling holiday that will take you through beautiful and rural locations, Misfat Al Abreen or Jebel Akhdhar may be good destinations, offering road and mountain biking options of varying distances. City tours like those offered in Nizwa are a great destination for all abilities, and interest groups where you can try a short tour with low commitment. The point is to factor in the type of terrain you will be riding on, the gradients you will face, and the weather during your trip. Oman is a particularly great destination for those searching for somewhere to cycle between October and May. Oman may not at first glance seem like a perfect cycling holiday destination, but contrary to popular belief, this Gulf country is not just desert and offers cyclists fabulous landscapes to explore while staying fit. Another thing to decide on a cycling holiday to Oman is whether to take your own bike or not. Now the good news for those searching for a hassle-free holiday is that bike hires are available throughout the country and you can ask for them to be included in many cycling tours for a very nominal cost. You just need to opt for it when you book. So this means that you are not required to know that much about bikes because they are chosen for you according to the type of terrain you will be cycling through. There are mountain bikes with front suspension and upto 27 gears, while other hybrid bikes may be selected, or bikes more suited to tarmac. However, if you are a dedicated cyclist, you may prefer to take your own bike, which you can do by boxing it up for transport via flight or get a cycle rack for your car for trips you plan to drive down to. You don’t need to be super-fit to embark on a cycling holiday. If your plan is simply to glide through Oman’s hilly roads, stopping off at quaint villages along the way, you need to be physically active but not technically expert. However, if your goal is to spend a month cycling more than 80km a day across the countryside, you’ll want to get some training in before you leave. It will probably be a good idea to start an somewhat regular exercise regime before you leave so as to increase your cardio fitness and ensure you will be able to cycle as you want. Get your leg muscles used to pedalling for the longer durations that you will encounter on your cycling tour by planning some regular bike rides or heading to the gym or other physical activities before your trip so you don’t shock your body with sudden long activity. Keep your energy levels up by eating balanced and nutritious meals, and make sure you’ve got a kit prepared. In the end, all you really need to set out on a cycling holiday in Oman is the ability to ride a bike and a passion for seeing the world on two wheels. Here’s a handy list of everything else you should consider packing for your cycling holiday in Oman- Water bottle or hydration pack. Small, lightweight backpack. Or, if you only have a few things to carry, a small bag containing the essentials like your money and phone will do the job, while your luggage is transferred from one point to the next. Padded cycling shorts. A gel seat cover if you would enjoy the extra comfort. Cycling gloves as they give you more grip when your hands are sweaty. Closed shoes or your clip-in shoes and pedals if youown them. Energy Gels for when you need that extra boost. T-shirts, ideally choose high wicking fabric that will keep you cool and avoid cotton options as they hold sweat close to your skin. Layers, including a windcheater. Sunscreen. Sunglasses or cycling glasses. A camera – so you can capture the memories of your cycling holiday.
5 Reasons Why Your Next Vacation Should Be A Hiking Tour From silent moments of self reflection, invigorating challenges to witnessing the stunning beauty of nature, hiking provides a number of benefits; both physical and mental. Here are our top five benefits of hiking and active holidays. To Get Fitter Fitness doesn’t always come easily for everyone. Sometimes, you have to go the distance just to get fit. For a lot of fitness enthusiasts, hiking is a great way to incorporate fitness into their schedule in an exciting and fun way. Why hit the treadmill when you can take a walk in the mountains? The road to fitness requires a positive mindset and a great amount of motivation, both of which hiking offers. To Destress and Clear Your Mind Don’t we all feel our brain needs a break? Oftentimes, our minds get overloaded with worries about work, commute, family, health, children’s school, repairs, and the hundreds of things that plagues our daily life. Just taking a walk in the craggy hills relaxes the mind. Nature is an amazing stress-buster which helps detox your mind from its daily stresses and provides times where you can free your mind of thoughts. Besides, even the time it takes to hike to somewhere beautiful can give you time to sort out your thoughts and put everything into perspective. To Make Memories and Capture Moments When you head out on a hike you will experience amazing moments that will stay with you forever. It's a unique and thrilling experience to push against your limits sometimes alone sometimes surrounded by friends and family. When you’re been continuously hiking for hours on end and stop to take that first sip of water, it will be the most amazing water you’ve ever tasted. Be sure to enjoy every moment on your hike and take lots of pictures to remember it by. There are even some that hike to take snaps that they won’t be able to get anywhere else. Every step, every moment in the mountains is an opportunity for fantastic views. To Be One With Nature Many people go hiking to immerse themself in nature and enjoy a few moments of serenity surrounded by it. Hiking teaches you a thing or two about why the environment matters. When you witness the enchantinting sights of the serene untouched mountains, you will wish to protect them for their own sake. You will begin to realise exactly why it is your duty as a hiker, adventurer or explorer to leave no trace behind and clean up the mountains and protect nature. It is only when you protect that, you can enjoy and make the most of these places. When you go hiking, you learn to respect that which you have, you start reusing items, recycling whatever is necessary and making the best out of what is already there. To overcome challenges If you enjoy challenging yourself, hikes can be one of the best ways to do so. Nature is non-judgmental, it will not disqualify you if you struggle, and the trails do not belittle your effort if you take a long time to reach your destination. In nature you can be your own person. What hiking trails offer, are challenge and aim and once both of those have been achieved, you will experience the thrill of a lifetime that no one can take away from you! And finally hiking will help you learn that occasionally you may fail and that is okay. Everyone who spends enough time hiking can tell you one thing for sure, that no two hikes are the same ever again, and to expect the unexpected. The weather could change in an instant, or a whole host of things could happen, meaning your plan, your itinerary, everything else could change, it is all dependant on nature. You can be just a few metres away from your destination and you may have to turn back due to circumstances. Hiking will teach you that things are always changing and you need to be prepared to overcome that change and take some hard decisions. With all the lessons you learn, you learn something new every time you go hiking and these things shape you as a person, build your perception and help you become a better human being.
While one hardly needs a reason to head out on a bike, after reading about these scientifically-proven benefits of cycling you can pat yourself on the back for remaining healthy while indulging in this favourite activity of yours. And well if you haven't yet started cycling more frequently here are more reasons why you should.