Driving in Oman: what it’s worthwhile to know


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Let’s get straight to the purpose: in case you’re considering of visiting Oman we’d advocate hiring a automotive to completely immerse yourselves on this unbelievable nation. However what’s driving in Oman like? On this put up I’m sharing what it’s worthwhile to know based mostly on our expertise residing right here.

*This put up comprises 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 in the course of the 50°C warmth waves.

Even in spite of everything this I’d not name us consultants. We’ve travelled with associates and guides when going off street and would advise different folks to do the identical.

We even have lots extra locations to see and issues to do in Oman. However in case you’re right here for every week or two this put up provides you with perception into the foundations 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 will be difficult. As UK drivers there’s not simply the change from the left facet to the best facet 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Picture of the Old Town Gates of Muscat taken from the front seat of our car as we drive towards themThe Gates to the Outdated Metropolis of Muscat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 improvement of the street community means a few of 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 range between your map app/SAT NAV and indicators.

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

Generally the identical place will be spelt otherwise on indicators at a number of factors alongside the identical street.

For navigation we’ve got discovered Waze to be the perfect app. However you will have a price efficient knowledge roaming package deal or a neighborhood SIM card. You possibly can choose up a SIM from the Omantel kiosk simply after safety in Muscat Worldwide Airport.

In case you want to be off grid, you possibly can obtain Google Maps however we’ve discovered even the reside model isn’t that up-to-date.

High tip: Bear in mind that in automotive cell phone holders are unlawful, even in case you are utilizing your cellphone for navigation. You’ll want a great navigator within the entrance passenger seat that can assist 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.

Nevertheless, 434 folks 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 on daily basis, we’ve got discovered the Omani driving fashion will be erratic.

Anticipate different drivers to manoeuvre with out indicating. Vehicles will pull over on the facet 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 these items have been made unlawful in recent times however in apply 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, hold calm and hold your wits about you.

Hiring a automotive in Oman

Except you’re a household on a gradual journey journey you’re in all probability restricted for time. That is why we advocate hiring a automotive in case you are visiting Oman with youngsters.

This provides you with extra freedom and permit you to not be tied to timetables. You’ll additionally have the ability 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 possibly can rent automobiles 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

If you’re headed to the mountains you will have a 4×4, even in case you don’t intend to go off street. The primary mountain roads are steep and windy, and there are police test factors on the backside. They cease you to ensure your car is match for the journey.

Rent vehicles gained’t essentially include sat nav, so be sure 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 possibly can 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.

In case you’re travelling from one other nation test the necessities together with your International Workplace.

Pace limits in Oman

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

All vehicles are fitted with an alarm that can beep at you in case you go over the utmost nationwide pace restrict of 120 kmph. That is the restrict on main highways.

On city roads the restrict is normally 50 kmph.

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

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

Visitors lights

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

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

The timing of the visitors lights can even range relying on the time of day and weight of visitors.

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

Driving by means of a crimson 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 visitors lights.

Stealth pace bumps

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

They will range in measurement and there are not often indicators to warn you about them. Usually the yellow stripes are utterly warn away making them very arduous to identify.

In case you’re actually fortunate you would possibly even come throughout double bumps.

So, hold your eyes peeled.

Youngster automotive seats in Oman

In case you’re visiting Oman with youngsters below the age of 4 it’s a authorized requirement for them to have a automotive seat in personal and employed vehicles in addition to taxis.

If you’re hiring a automotive you possibly can test with the rental firm whether or not they can provide a seat.

Nevertheless I’d strongly advise you to deliver your personal, particularly for youngsters over the age of 4. As these aren’t a authorized requirement in Oman they don’t seem to be extensively obtainable for older youngsters.

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

We are able to advocate the Roam and Rove automotive seat bag*. It has ruck sack fashion shoulder straps so you possibly can carry your seat fingers 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

In case you fancy an off street journey in Oman it’s finest 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 would end up in a dangerous scenario going off street and getting caught within the desert or mountains. You may additionally 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 exterior the cities. The goats are a daily function at Wadi Shab.

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


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

Parking in business areas like Muttrah Corniche is free on Fridays and Saturdays however not within the working week, so hold a watch 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 exterior 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 range between petrol stations so there’s no want to buy round.

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

Petrol stations are nicely signal posted and have pump attendants.

Ultimate 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 feel so long as you retain that in thoughts you’ll be nice.

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 way in which are unbelievable.

For route inspiration check out our Oman street journey itinerary.

In case you’d like to search out out extra about holidaying on this a part of the Center East take a look at 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 comprises affiliate hyperlinks marked with *. In case you click on on considered one of these hyperlinks and make a purchase order I’ll earn some fee. This doesn’t have an effect on the value you pay.

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