Driving in Oman: what it is advisable to know

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Let’s get straight to the purpose: if you happen to’re pondering of visiting Oman we’d advocate hiring a automobile to completely immerse yourselves on this unimaginable nation. However what’s driving in Oman like? On this submit I’m sharing what it is advisable to know based mostly on our expertise dwelling right here.

*This submit accommodates 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 highway journey, drove from Muscat to Barr Al Hickman throughout salt flats and travelled Oman’s roads after tropical downpours and through the 50°C warmth waves.

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

We even have lots extra locations to see and issues to do in Oman. However if you happen to’re right here for every week or two this submit offers you perception into the foundations of the highway and what to anticipate.

Need assistance planning different elements of your journey?

Learn my Oman journey information.

Is driving in Oman simple? 

Once we moved to Oman we have been warned that driving right here might be tough. As UK drivers there’s not simply the swap from the left facet to the appropriate facet of the highway 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 fast growth of the highway community means among the layouts are spaghetti-like, significantly junctions alongside the city highways.

Most highway 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 might be spelt otherwise on indicators at a number of factors alongside the identical highway.

For navigation we’ve discovered Waze to be the very best app. However you will want a value efficient information roaming package deal or an area SIM card. You may decide up a SIM from the Omantel kiosk simply after safety in Muscat Worldwide Airport.

In case you choose to be off grid, you may obtain Google Maps however we’ve discovered even the dwell model isn’t that up-to-date. 

Prime tip: Remember that in automobile cell phone holders are unlawful, even if you’re utilizing your cellphone for navigation. You’ll want a very good navigator within the entrance passenger seat that can assist you route discover.

Is driving in Oman protected?

There are strict highway security guidelines in Oman and the variety of accidents on Oman’s roads has been lowering in accordance with authorities statistics

Nonetheless, 434 folks have 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 % of the UK’s, so there’s clearly further threat to driving in Oman.

From our expertise driving right here daily, we’ve discovered the Omani driving fashion might be erratic.

Count on 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 this stuff have been made unlawful lately however in follow they nonetheless occur.

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

Hiring a automobile in Oman

Until you’re a household on a gradual journey journey you’re most likely restricted for time. Because of this we advocate hiring a automobile if you’re visiting Oman with children.

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

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

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

To rent a automobile you’ll want your UK or house 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 highway. The principle mountain roads are steep and windy, and there are police examine factors on the backside. They cease you to verify your automobile is match for the journey.

Rent automobiles received’t essentially include sat nav, so be sure to 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 automobile rent costs*

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

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

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

Pace limits in Oman

Rushing is the primary reason for accidents in Oman so that you’ll discover a lot 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 normally 50 kmph. 

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

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

Visitors lights

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

When stopped at visitors lights the sequence will go from pink 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 may even see the visitors lights flashing amber. Because of this the roundabout just isn’t being managed by the visitors lights at the moment. These are usually roundabouts that get busy throughout rush hour.

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

Stealth velocity bumps

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

They’ll range in dimension and there are not often indicators to warn you about them. Usually the yellow stripes are fully warn away making them very arduous to identify.

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

So, preserve your eyes peeled.

Youngster automobile seats in Oman

In case you’re visiting Oman with children underneath the age of 4 it’s a authorized requirement for them to have a automobile seat in personal and employed automobiles in addition to taxis. 

In case you are hiring a automobile you may examine with the rental firm whether or not they can provide a seat.

Nonetheless I’d strongly advise you to carry your personal, particularly for kids over the age of 4. As these are usually not a authorized requirement in Oman they don’t seem to be extensively out there for older youngsters.

Airways will let you carry a automobile seat per youngster for no further cost. Purchase a automobile seat bag for some further safety. 

We will advocate the Roam and Rove automobile seat bag*. It has ruck sack fashion shoulder straps so you may carry your seat palms free on the airport.

Going off highway 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 highway journey in Oman it’s finest to organise these with a information or tour firm.

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

You would end up in a dangerous state of affairs going off highway and getting caught within the desert or mountains. You may additionally discover your automobile 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 function at Wadi Shab.

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


There’s a lot of free parking in Oman. You received’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 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 range between petrol stations so there’s no want to buy round.

This makes hiring a automobile in Oman a value efficient technique to see the nation.

Petrol stations are effectively 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 usually 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 provides 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 unimaginable.

For route inspiration check out our Oman highway journey itinerary.

In case you’d like to seek out out extra about holidaying on this a part of the Center East take a look at my Oman journey information. It contains tips about visiting with your loved ones, what to pack and locations to go to together with the very best wadis in Oman and Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.

Disclosure: this submit accommodates affiliate hyperlinks marked with *. In case 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 value you pay.

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