Spend your spring break in Oman and Qatar, two beautiful countries on the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula. The first part of the program takes place in Oman where ancient heritage melds beautifully with modern living. Overnight in the dramatic Wahiba Sands desert. Visit Wadi Nakhr, also known as the Grand Canyon of Oman, to get even deeper into Oman’s ethereal beauty – natural and otherwise. Then we fly to Qatar where you will travel into the dessert, learn in museums and visit schools to learn more about their education system.
GEEO and Qatar Foundation International (QFI) are working together on this travel program grant for educators. Unlike other GEEO programs this program is not open enrollment. You must apply for the grant from QFI in order to attend. If you are accepted into the program you would then fill out our booking form and place a $350 deposit. This $350 deposit will not be reimbursed by QFI, but QFI will pay the rest of your program fee, international airfare and provide a $600 stipend for other costs such as meals, visas, transportation, etc. Please scroll below for instructions on the application procedure.
Today is arrival day and as travelers are arriving from all corners of the world there are no planned activities. You are free to arrive in Muscat at anytime on the flight QFI has arranged for you. Hotel check in is 2 pm, and luggage storage is available if you arrive before your room is ready.
This evening, once everyone has arrived, you will have a group introduction meeting with your tour leader. Afterwards you can go out together for an optional dinner.
This morning we will tour the Oman’s National Museum and Opera House. In the afternoon QFI will organize a customs lesson to prepare you for proper etiquette in Oman. There will also be team building exercises so everyone in the group can get to know each other.
We will spend the day exploring some of the highlights of Muscat. We start with a visit to one of Muscat’s finest architectural sites, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Covering an area of 416,000 square meters, this mosque can accommodate 20,000 worshipers and offers visitors a labyrinth of grounds to explore.
Next we visit the Bait Al Zubair Museum. Boasting one of the largest heritage art collections in Oman, it is a must-see for those eager to learn more about Omani culture and history.
Then we go to the Muttrah Souq to take in the colorful sights, and perfumed scents of this winding marketplace. Opt to hunt for authentic Omani artifacts and handicrafts (you won’t have to go far), or sip on an aromatic Omani coffee and gaze out at the local hustle and bustle.
In the afternoon we travel to Old Muscat and take in the sights and sounds of this sleepy coastal area. Visit the forts of Al-Mirani and Al-Jelani to get some perspective on Omani history.
We leave Muscat behind and drive along the coast to the picturesque Bimmah Sinkhole. Feast your eyes on one of the world’s most breathtaking sinkholes. Surrounded by the sea and towering mountains, this sinkhole measures 40 meters wide and 20 meters deep. With its glittering turquoise waters, it isn’t hard to believe the local folklore that maintains that the sinkhole was created by a falling star. Jump in and cool off.
The Bimma Sinkhole in Oman is quite touristy and you can wear a normal bathing suit as you would in the United States. There will be a bathroom that you can change into your bathing suit and back into your regular clothing prior to departing to your next destination. Please be prepared to change in a bathroom that may in poor sanitary conditions. Floors will also be quite slippery so please be careful.
We the drive to Sur, home of the last remaining factory that builds Oman’s traditional dhows. The production of these wooden boats have a 6000 year old history, which has established ancient Oman as a prosperous trading port in the region. Visit the shipyard and learn how these ships are made.
Estimated travel time: 3 hrs by 4×4
Today we drive Drive through red rock formations and vibrant green plantations and take in the natural beauty of this oasis-like region of Wādī Banī Khālid. Running through this area are the natural blue-tinted springs that receive a constant water flow throughout the year, making it a lifeline for villages of this area. Enjoy lunch before taking free time to explore the area. Opt to take a easy hike to the surrounding waterfalls, or swim in the wadis (natural springs).
We will arrive at the desert camp just in time to enjoy the sun set. Enjoy a traditional meal and learn more about the ancient Bedouin culture. Spend the evening sitting under the stars, around a fire, listening to stories and music from the Bedouin hosts.
Please note that at night the desert can be quite cold. While it is likely that your Bedouin hosts will provide you with all you need for a comfortable evening, we would like to remind you of this in case you are cold natured and would like to be prepared with some additional clothing to sleep in such as a sweatshirt/long pajamas.
Estimated travel time: 3 hrs by 4×4
Leaving the desert behind, we head towards Ibra and visit the impressive Jabrin castle. Jabrin Castle is one of best-preserved castles in Oman. Built in 1675 by Imam Bil-arab bin Sultan, this fort was a centre for astrology, law, and medicine.
Continue towards Nizwá, stopping at the historic fortress of Bahla along the way. This impressive walled-city, had some of its oldest parts built as early as 500 BC. Gaining UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1987, this complex is an grand example of ancient Omani architecture.
Estimated travel time: 3 hrs by 4×4
Wake early to take part in the Nizwá cattle market. Watch locals buy and trade the best livestock, from goats to cattle directly from the herders.
We then drive to the town of Al Hamra and visit the renowned mud houses of Misfat Al Abriyeen. Built into the mountainside of the Al Hamra region, this authentic Omani village is known for its unique residential architecture. The homes are constructed using rocks excavated from the mountain and plastered together with mud, making the structures look as though they are part of the mountain. Some houses are still being lived in. Learn about this building method that has allowed this community to stand the test of time.
Please note that this site is located in a very conservative village where residents still live. There are multiple signs upon entry requesting that you ensure you are properly and conservative dressed – knees and shoulders must be covered. They will also ask that you remain quiet and respectful and not take any photos of residents. We are sure that your tour guide will notify you of this, but this is just an early reminder.
We also learn about the Aflaj irrigation systems. This water network is made up of ancient channels that used gravity to carry the water from the source to farms and mosques, since 500 AD. This complex system is representative of a system that is still in use in Oman today.
Return to Nizwa via Jebel Shams and take in view of Wadi Nakhr known as the Grand Canyon of Oman.
Estimated travel time: 2 hrs by 4×4
Drive through Wadi Bani Awf and take in the beauty of the steep mountain cliffs before reaching the end point (“Snake Point”) of the gorge. Continue to Muscat for the evening.
Estimated travel time: 6 hrs by 4×4
The planned itinerary is a follows:
Morning Flight from Muscat to Doha
11:45 – 12:00 Transfer to Mushaireib Museums
12:00 – 1:30 Mushaireib Museum Tour
1:40 – 3:00 Lunch at Souq Waqif (Parisa)
3:00 – 5:00 Embrace Doha Cultural session
5:00 – 6:00 Guided Souq Waqif Tour
6:00 – 7:00 Free time at Souq
7:00 – 8:00 Dinner at Embrace Doha Majlis
Approx travel time: 4 hrs (transfer to airport, 2 hr flight, transfer to hotel)
The planned itinerary is a follows:
1:15-1:45 Transport to Al Khor
1:45-3:00 Lunch at Al Khor – Royal Tandoor (Pre-Set Menu, Not Family Style)
3:00-4:00 Transport to Zubarah Fort
4:00-5:00 Guided Tour of Zubarah Fort
5:00-6:00 Transport from Zubarah Fort to Four Seasons
6:00-7:30 Rest/Free Time
7:30-9:00 Dinner at Four Seasons Hotel & Reflection (QFI will arrange)
The planned itinerary is a follows:
7:30-9:30 Breakfast at Four Seasons
9:45-10:00 Transport to Legacy Pavilion
10:00-11:00 Legacy Pavilion
11:00-11:30 Transport to Katara Village
11:30-12:30 Guided Tour of Katara Village
12:30-1:30 Lunch at Katara Village – Ard Canaan (Pre-Set Menu, Not Family Style)
1:30-1:45 Transport to State Mosque
1:45-2:15 State Mosque Visit
2:15-2:45 Transport to Museum of Islamic Art
2:45-4:00 Guided Tour of Museum of Islamic Art
4:00-4:30 Transport to Dhow Port
4:30-7:00 Sunset Dhow Cruise and Dinner (Reflection on the Dhow)
7:00-7:30 Travel to the Pearl
7:30-8:30 Tour of the Pearl
8:30-9:00 Transport to Four Seasons
The planned itinerary is a follows:
7:30-9:30 Breakfast at Four Seasons
10:00-10:30 Transport to Qatar National Library
10:30-12:00 Guided Tour & Free Time at Qatar National Library
12:00-12:45 Lunch at Qatar National Library
12:45-1:00 Transport to Qatar Foundation Headquarters
1:00-1:30 Qatar Foundation Headquarters Visitor’s Center and Photo (QFI will arrange)
1:30-2:00 Education City Mosque Visit
2:00-2:15 Transport to Al Shaqab
2:15-3:45 Al Shaqab Tour
3:45-4:15 – Transport to Four Seasons
4:15-5:15 – Rest at Four Seasons
5:15-5:30 – Transport to Souq Waqif
5:45-7:15 – Dinner at Damasca One and Reflection (QFI will make reservation)
7:15-8:15 Free Time at Souq Waqif
8:15-8:30 Transport back to Four Seasons
While not guaranteed, today we plan on touring the facilities of the Al Jazeera, a state-funded broadcaster in Doha. The rest of the day will be free for the group to explore Doha.
You will fly home today on a flight arranged and paid for by QFI.
Application Opens: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at 5pm EST
Application Deadline: QFI will close the application process upon the submission of 75 applications or on Sunday, December 22, 2019 at 11:59pm EST.
*If you have started an application but did not submit it prior to the submission of the 75th application, you will receive a notification email that the application is now closed, and you will also no longer see your application in the system. **If you have started an application but did not submit it prior to the submission of the 100th application, you will receive a notification email that the application is now closed, and you will also no longer see your application in the system. *
In order to apply and submit your application you must complete and submit the following tasks/materials:
How to Apply:
To apply, please register in QFI’s Grants Management Portal, FluidReview, at qfi.fluidreview.com.
Please create a user account and profile. Upon completing your login credentials and user profile, you will be required to take an Eligibility Quiz. This series of questions will determine whether or not you are eligible to apply for this program.
After completing the Eligibility Quiz, please click on the green button at the bottom of your screen titled “View Grants”. This button will provide you with a list of QFI grants for which you can apply. Remember, this grant will not appear on this list until November 27th at 5 PM EST. If you are eligible to apply to this specific program, it will show on your screen. Please click on the “Apply Now” button to complete the application.
*Please note that if you have applied for any previous QFI & GEEO trips you must complete a new application for this trip*
The applicant must:
Be a current primary or secondary teacher in a state-funded school in the United Kingdom
Acceptance and Deposit:
All travel will be arranged and paid for by QFI including:
Ground Transportation and Meal Stipend
GEEO Oman Program Costs
QFI Activities and Meals in Qatar
In-country Ground Transportation
What’s Not Included:
Qatar Foundation International – Please direct all questions regarding the following to Craig Cangemi at firstname.lastname@example.org for the following:
GEEO – Please direct all questions regarding the following to email@example.com
Please click here to go to our general FAQ, which has essential information that applies to all of our programs. This is a unique program so some of the information in the FAQ will not apply to this particular program.
It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.
All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.
The Oman portion of this program will be led by one of G Adventure’s group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are traveling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.
While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
The Qatar portion of this program will be led by QFI. There will be a local guide as well as local staff from QFI guiding you from place to place.
Trip includes light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.
Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. This program is double occupancy only, in other words, two people to a room. GEEO will place you with a roommate of the same gender.
You all have arrival transfers booked for you to take you from the Muscat airport to our start hotel. Your driver will meet you in the arrival hall with a G Adventures placard (after immigration & customs clearance) and guide you to our vehicle.
Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Representative (Cairo, Egypt)
During office hours (Sun-Thu,10am to 6pm local time): +20 233 77 88 30 or +20 233 77 88 31
After hours Emergency number: +20 122 221 16 99 (Mohammed)
G Adventures Middle East Manager
Emergency number: : +20 122 221 16 99 -Mohammed (Cairo, Egypt)
If you are unable for any reason to contact G Adventures’ local office they have a toll-free line within North America which will connect you directly with their Toronto office: 1 888 800 4100. Outside of North America, call: +1 416 260 0999
Please read this article on GEEO’s blog for our staff’s suggestions on the best gear to pack for your upcoming travels. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them up and down stairs, on and off transportation, and to hotels. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 22-30 lb. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) A daypack is also essential for carrying everyday items. Space is limited on transportation, so there is a limit of one main piece of luggage per person plus a daypack per person.
*When in doubt about clothing, please err on the conservative side. We recommend always having a sweater with you to cover up, just in case.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge or ask your group leader where the nearest laundromat is. If you want to do your own laundry we suggest you bring your own non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Please see our general FAQ for information on obtaining a passport. As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.
Oman requires US citizens to apply and purchase a tourist visa. You must wait until you are within a few weeks of departure to purchase this visa, so please wait until we instruct you to purchase it. It is done online and you do not have to send your passport away for processing.
When traveling on a U.S. passport, the Government of Qatar does not require prior visa arrangements and travelers may obtain a free visa waiver upon arrival. The waiver is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and entitles the holder to spend up to 30 days in Qatar, or multiple entries during the 30-day validity. Passports must have a minimum validity of six months.
We suggest you bring approximately between $300-$400 USD in cash with you. The currency in Qatar is the Qatari riyal. You can use your credit card in almost any location in Qatar except for Souq Waqif where, if you wish to purchase any items, cash is typically necessary.The currency in Oman is the Omani rial (OMR)Credit cards are not widely used or accepted in many places in Oman (i.e. cabs), so we suggest that you exchange currency at the airport or your hotel.
There are plenty of banks that can be found in Qatar and Oman. ATMs are found within main cities (mostly in shopping malls and airports) in Qatar and Oman and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible as while there is no hard and fast rule, some banks seem to only work with one brand of card. Please note, your bank will change a fee for overseas withdrawals. Smaller shops and restaurants will mostly only accept cash.
Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. Euros, British Pounds and US Dollars are all easy to exchange to the Local currency. Please note that you should bring some cash with you for emergency situations but carrying only cash is a high safety risk. ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix.
If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Notes older than 1996, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!
As currency exchange rates can fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com
Tipping is important in the Middle East. Locals themselves will usually tip anyone who provides them with services. In many cases, people depend on the tips they receive to supplement the low salary and wages of the Middle East region.
While on tour in the Middle East, it is customary and even expected to tip small service providers such as restaurant and bar waiters, hotel staff, reception, cleaning personnel, bell boys, taxis and van drivers. Tipping at restaurants in Qatar and Oman is expected at the rate of 10%. Tips are regarded as an essential means of supplementing income for those working in the tourism industry.
For the Oman portion, to make things as easy as possible and avoid embarrassing situations, G Adventures uses a tipping kitty system where your tour leader will collect a contribution from everybody at the start of your tour and use this kitty to tip anybody who has provided services to the group as a whole. A guideline for tipping is about $5-10 USD per day, depending on the quality of the service (this does not include your G Adventures tour leader). On Day 1 of your tour, your tour leader will be able to advise on the amount required from everybody to form the tipping kitty for your trip. You can pay in USD or the equivalent local currency (preferably local currency). The tour leader will be able to advise you on the exchange rate and the total required in either currency
If at any time you feel that any service provider failed in maintaining or delivering good service, please bring it immediately to the attention of your tour leader so a deduction of tips can take place.
At the end of your trip if you felt that your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is also expected and appreciated. The precise amount is entirely a personal preference, however $40 USD per person can be used as a general guideline.
For the Qatar portion of your trip, all of your tips will be taken care of by QFI.
We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. Please take this seriously!
QFI will arrange and pay for your roundtrip airfare from a major airport near your home city.
There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.
Qatar and Oman use a Type G- British-style three square prong plug. Their voltage is 220-240 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an “Input” line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, “Input: 100 – 240V” means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can’t handle the different voltage, you’ll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.
Before you decide on traveling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. Remember, our programs are quite adventurous.
Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!
While it is our intention to adhere to the routes described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
You will visit multiple mosques throughout your trip to both countries. With the exception of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Oman, women and men will have separate entrances. You will be required to remove your shoes, so please be mindful of this. Women must cover their arms/shoulders and heads. Please bring a sweater to cover up and a light scarf to cover your head. Men must wear pants to enter. You will not be allowed to bring any water, food, or bags into certain mosques (i.e. State Mosque in Doha) – there will be staff on site to direct you or hold your belongings in a safe place for you if this is the case. When entering, please be respectful of those who are praying and remain as quiet as possible. If, in your free time, you decide to visit additional mosques, please be aware that they may be open to non-Muslims during certain hours or permanently closed to non-Muslims.
In both Qatar and Oman, Voice Over IP platforms such as FaceTime and Skype are blocked due to censorship laws. We recommend downloading WhatsApp as your main source for either texting and/or calling or video calling home. FaceTime will work in Qatar but not Oman. Skype is blocked in both countries.
Qatar and Oman have dry desert climates bringing warm weather all year round. We will be there during April when temperatures will start to rise, but won’t be completely unbearable. Highs should be in the 90s. At night, temperatures cool down to the 70s. There is very little, if any, rain.
Please keep in mind this trip offers some free time to pursue activities that interest you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and note these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Breakfasts and a few dinners are included in this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat out according to your own resources. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.
$350 USD. QFI will provide you with a $600 stipend which will cover the cost of this fee as well most of your meals and extra expenses.
$250 to $300
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.
We recommend $40 USD for your G Adventures tour leader. Budget another $40 to $80 for tipping local guides and drivers.
Make sure you budget for these types of expenses